Looking for a delicious, uber-healthy cup of kopi luwak? Try Pure today.
If you take a look at the packaging of your favorite coffee, you’ll probably notice it says either 100% Arabica beans, Arabica blend or 100% Robusta beans. That’s because arabica and robusta are the two most prominent species of coffee beans produced and sold in the world, making up about 60% and 40% of the world’s total production respectively.
A June 2018 report by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts that world coffee production for the 2017/18 fiscal year will reach 159 million bags of green coffee, of which 60% will be arabica and the rest will be robusta beans. But what’s the difference between arabica and robusta coffee beans, anyway?
Arabica coffee beans are those produced by a particular species of coffee plant called coffea arabica. The arabica bean is the most widely produced cultivar of coffee, with a “cultivar” being a species or variety of plant selected for cultivation. It is also believed that coffea arabica was the first species of coffee plant to be cultivated. The plant’s origin is usually attributed to Ethiopia and/or Yemen.
Robusta coffee beans, on the other hand, are coffee beans produced by the robusta variety of another species of coffee plant called coffea canephora. Some people mistakenly use the terms coffea canephora and coffea robusta as one and the same, but there’s a difference: robusta is one of the two varieties of coffea canephora, with the other known as nganda. Coffea robusta also originates from Africa, but from the western sub-Saharan part of the continent, in contrast to coffea arabica coming from the eastern side of Africa.
Both types of coffee plants belong to the same family, rubiaceae, but they have very distinct characteristics that set them apart.
Differences in Coffee Plants: coffea arabica vs. coffea robusta
Coffea arabica is a smaller, shorter shrub than coffea robusta. It prefers to grow in the cooler shade provided in many tropical countries by banana or cocoa plants. Coffea robusta, on the other hand, is taller, likes to grow in direct sunlight, and is much more resistant to certain types of pests than coffea arabica. This robustness is what gives the robusta plant its name.
As you can see from the images below, there is a noticeable difference in the blooms of arabica and robusta coffee plants. Arabica blooms have a slight ivory color and broader petals, while robusta blooms are a lighter white.
Coffea Arabica. Photo: H. Zell.
Coffea Robusta in bloom. Photo: Jee & Rani Nature Photography.
The coffee cherries of the two plants also display visible differences in shape, size and color. Robusta coffee cherries are smaller, rounder and almost spherical, while arabica coffee beans have a longer, slimmer, more oval shape. Most ripe arabica cherries are red, though some variants, like bourbon arabica, are actually yellow. All robusta cherries are red, though their color is much richer and darker.
Coffea Arabica cherries. Photo: H. Zell.
Coffea Canephora cherries. Photo: Jee & Rani Nature Photography.
The coffee beans, which you can think of as the seed of the coffee cherry, are also different. Green and roasted arabica coffee beans are long, oval and flat on one side, compared to robusta roasted coffee beans, which are shorter and much rounder.
Green Arabica beans. Photo: Yercaud Elango.
Roasted Arabica beans. Photo: Ruben Alexander
Roasted Robusta Beans. Photo: Carter Brown
These external, visible differences are the manifestation of many differences in the chemical composition of the arabica and robusta coffee beans and, as a consequence, of the coffee brewed with them. The most important differences are in caffeine levels, acidity and taste. Let’s take a look at these differences up close.
Arabica Vs. Robusta: Caffeine Levels
Many studies have shown that robusta beans have higher caffeine content than arabica beans. In fact, they have about 60% more caffeine, which for some people can be the difference between a light boost of energy and the afternoon jitters. The average caffeine concentration in green arabica coffee beans is around 1.4%, while in green robusta coffee beans it’s around 2.2%. This difference in caffeine concentration makes for several other differences in taste and health benefits, which we’ll get into in detail below.
Arabica Vs. Robusta: Acrylamide Levels
A 2010 study by Rita Alves proved that coffee contains acrylamide, which is a known carcinogen. The acrylamide levels are low, but regardless of that, it’s always advisable to minimize exposure to such substances. That study demonstrated that arabica beans contain half the acrylamide content of robusta beans, and that those acrylamide levels could be lowered even more by using dark roasted coffee and quick brewing times.
Arabica Vs. Robusta: Acidity levels
When speaking of the acidity in foods and beverages, there is an important distinction to point out: acidity from a chemistry standpoint is different from acidity from a taste standpoint. In other words, a highly acidic food or drink doesn’t always taste acidic/bitter in the mouth. Taste acidity is related to the presence of bitter compounds our tongue associates with certain acidic foods, while chemical acidity is a measure of the concentration of certain types of compounds (ions) in a solution. Ugh, chemistry!
Fortunately, you don’t need to understand much about chemical acidity aside from how it’s measured: on the pH scale. The pH scale, which ranges from 0-14, determines whether something is acidic, basic/alkaline or neutral. If the pH value is 7, the solution is neutral (like water); if it’s less than 7, it’s acidic; and if it’s greater than 7, the solution is basic. The lower the pH, the more acidic the solution is.
Having cleared that up, let’s get back to our coffee beans.
Coffee is an acidic beverage with a pH in the range of about 5-6. This is due to the high concentration of a mixture of different organic acids, among which is a family of acids called chlorogenic acids (CGAs). Robusta beans have a higher pH (less acidic) than arabica beans because they have lower levels of chlorogenic acid. The roasting process destroys part of the CGA content in coffee, releasing a series of alkaline compounds that raise its overall pH, though not enough to raise it above neutral. This is why dark roasted coffees are often easier to drink: the longer roasting process means they have more alkaline compounds and are easier for the body to digest.
Arabica Vs. Robusta: Difference in Taste
Though arabica beans have higher chemical acidity, things flip when it comes to taste acidity:
- Arabica beans produce a softer, less acidic coffee, largely because of their lower levels of caffeine. Caffeine has a very bitter taste, which is the reason most people perceive coffee brewed from robusta as more acidic than arabica coffee because, as mentioned before, robusta has more caffeine in it. This is true regardless of the fact that arabica is actually less “chemically” acidic than robusta.
- Arabica beans are more aromatic. If you compare the pictures of roasted arabica and roasted robusta beans shown above, you’ll notice that the arabica beans are shiny and oily while robusta beans look dry. This is because arabica beans have nearly twice the content of natural oils (lipids) as robusta beans. These natural oils give roasted arabica beans a more pleasant aroma, and also improve the overall taste.
- Arabica beans are sweeter than robusta beans. Arabica coffee has almost twice the natural sugar content of robusta, which gives it a sweeter note that’s more pleasant on the tongue.
These are the main reasons why arabica beans are superior to robusta beans, and they also explain why most cheap or instant coffee is made from robusta beans. Robusta beans make a less appealing cup of coffee, and on the global market, they’re less valuable. The best specialty coffees in the world, including our wild kopi luwak, are all made with arabica coffee beans.
Arabica Vs. Robusta: Price
International prices for green arabica and robusta beans are quite different. As of May 2018, arabica coffee was priced at $2.99 per kilogram on the global markets, 52% higher than robusta beans, which priced at $1.96 per kilogram.
Where are Arabica and Robusta coffee beans grown?
Coffee plants, in general, are grown in tropical climates within 1,000 km north or south of the equator. Even though the coffee plants originated in Africa, today they’re cultivated throughout every tropical region of the world.
The map below shows the distribution of coffee production by type of bean. Light green represents arabica production, dark green represents robusta, and medium green represents countries where both varieties are produced.
r = Cultivation of coffea robusta, m = Cultivation of both types of beans, a = Cultivation of coffea arabica
As reported by the USDA in 2017, Brazil is the world’s leading coffee producer, covering almost 33% of total production. Vietnam produces around 18%, while Colombia and Indonesia, where we source our organic kopi luwak, collectively make up another 16%.
The 95 million bags of arabica coffee beans are produced in:
- Brazil: 40.5 million bags
- Colombia: 14.6 million bags
- Ethiopia: 6.5 million bags
- Honduras: 6.5 million bags
- Remainder: Central and South America plus parts of Africa and Asia.
The 64 million bags of robusta coffee beans are produced in:
- Vietnam: 27 million bags
- Brazil: 11 million bags
- Indonesia: 9.6 million bags
- India: 4 million bags
- Remainder: Mostly African countries.
In Brazil, the world’s biggest coffee producer and exporter, arabica beans are produced in the southeastern regions of the country, while robusta beans are produced in the central and western regions.
Brazil’s coffee growing regions by type. Yellow is arabica, orange is robusta
If you’re looking for the best arabica beans in the world, look no further than Pure kopi luwak. It has all of the benefits of arabica coffee, plus many more taste and health benefits of its own. Our kopi luwak is 100% pesticide-free and collected from wild Asian palm civet cats, ensuring an ethical, sustainable cup of joe.
Looking for a delicious, uber-healthy cup of kopi luwak? Try Pure today.
Robusta beans make a less appealing cup of coffee, and on the global market, they're less valuable. The best specialty coffees in the world, including our wild kopi luwak, are all made with arabica coffee beans.Is Kopi Luwak coffee Robusta or Arabica? ›
Is Kopi Luwak made of Robusta or Arabica coffee? Wild Kopi Luwak is produced by free-living Civets, therefore they choose what they eat and what not to eat. Therefore it can consist of Arabica, Robusta, or Liberica coffee, depending on which coffee cherries taste the best for the Civets.What are the main differences between coffee arabica and coffee robusta? ›
Arabica tends to have a smoother, sweeter taste, with flavour notes of chocolate and sugar. They often also have hints of fruits or berries. Robusta, on the other hand, has a stronger, harsher and more bitter taste, with grainy or rubbery overtones.Is Luwak coffee the best? ›
Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world due to its quality and rarity. Along with being simply outstanding in flavour, the coffee is produced in incredibly small batches each year.Is Arabica higher quality than Robusta? ›
While arabica and robusta dominate the coffee market, arabica has always been considered the superior of the two. Its typically smooth, sweet cup profile stands in stark contrast to the harsh, rubbery characteristics commonly attributed to robusta, making arabica coffee the most sought-after among specialty roasters.What kind of coffee is in Kopi Luwak? ›
Kopi luwak, also known as civet coffee, is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).What variety of coffee is Kopi Luwak? ›
Kopi Luwak is a variety of coffee that involves coffee cherries being first partially digested by the Asian palm civet. The Asian palm civet is a small animal that vaguely resembles a small raccoon. These small animals are also often compared to cats and ferrets.Is Folgers coffee Arabica or Robusta? ›
Developed especially for coffee lovers seeking dark roasted, complex coffee, Folgers Noir® coffees highlight a range of dark, yet smooth roasts. Each distinctively dark selection of 100% Arabica coffee is expertly roasted to create a coffee that is deliciously dark.What are the advantages of robusta coffee over arabica coffee? ›
Additionally, robusta coffee has higher amounts of chlorogenic acid and antioxidants compared to arabica coffee. Studies conducted on the effects of chlorogenic acid have suggested health benefits such as lower blood pressure and higher metabolism, making it an ostensibly healthier coffee choice overall.How do you tell the difference between robusta and arabica plants? ›
Appearance. Arabica plants grow between 2.5 and 4.5 metres high and Arabica beans are oval in shape. Robusta plants can grow up to 6 metres high and the beans have a more circular appearance.
“The reason why kopi luwak is so good is because the luwak only goes after the best and ripest coffee fruit,” Balik said. “The other reason is because, in the luwak stomach, fermentation happens, and the coffee beans get a different flavor.” After roasting, the beans are ground for 20 minutes with a mortar and pestle.What is the best brand of Kopi Luwak coffee? ›
Gayo Kopi provides the world's most exquisite, authentic Wild Kopi Luwak in the world, produced by the Civet in Indonesia. The animals live freely in the jungles that border our farms in the highlands of the Gayo Mountains in Northern Sumatra.What is special about Kopi Luwak coffee? ›
It's the world's most expensive coffee, and it's made from poop. Or rather, it's made from coffee beans that are partially digested and then pooped out by the civet, a catlike creature. A cup of kopi luwak, as it's known, can sell for as much as $80 in the United States.Who drinks robusta coffee? ›
In Vietnam, robusta coffee is most commonly consumed with sweetened condensed milk over ice, known as cà phê sữa đá. However, Vietnamese people also enjoy their robusta coffee in lattes, Americanos, and pour overs. Coffee is a personal experience and should be enjoyed as such!What is the best coffee in the world? ›
- Yirgacheffe Natural and Organic, Ethiopia. ...
- Finca, El Salvador. ...
- San Ignacio, Belize. ...
- Blue Mountain, Jamaica. ...
- Bourbon, Brazil. ...
- Kona Coffee, Hawaii. ...
- Tanzania Peaberry. Coffee Name: Tanzania Peaberry Coffee. ...
- Guatemala, Central America. Coffee Name: Guatemala Coffee.
Most people think that Robusta is low quality but actually that is not the case at all. When a Robusta coffee is processed the right way, it can taste absolutely delicious.What makes Kopi Luwak so expensive? ›
The high price of kopi luwak coffee is largely due to the traditional ways it is produced. Production takes a lot of time and energy, with farmers often looking on land and in forests for suitable beans. Ripe coffee berries are ingested by Asian palm civets, which are found in Southeast Asia.Why do people buy Kopi Luwak? ›
It has been shown that kopi luwak beans contain less protein than regular arabica beans. As protein is responsible for much of the bitterness in coffee, this makes kopi luwak much smoother than regular coffees. Many fans of kopi luwak, including us, love this.How much does a cup of Kopi Luwak cost? ›
|Quantity of Kopi Luwak||Indonesia||Outside of Indonesia|
|Cup of Coffee||~$4||$35-100|
|Farmed Beans (per kg)||~$30||~$200+|
|Wild Beans (per kg)||~$60||~$600-1300+|
Is Kopi Luwak Clean and safe to drink? YES! The beans are thoroughly cleaned and then roasted at a high temperature (over 400 Fahrenheit). Both processes ensure that Kopi Luwak is 100% safe to drink.
Because the beans used in the production of Kopi Luwak coffee are gathered from an animal's excrement, some coffee enthusiasts have asked whether or not it is safe to drink. But after the beans are gathered, they are washed and given a thorough cleaning.What's the most expensive coffee beans? ›
Specific to Indonesia, Kopi Luwak coffee is processed by wild Asian Palm Civets. The Civets find the ripest and freshest coffee cherries and through the magic of their digestive enzymes, they break down the beans.Is Starbucks French roast Arabica or Robusta? ›
Starbucks French Dark Roast Whole Bean 100% Arabica Coffee 1.13 Kg (40 oz.)Is Maxwell House Robusta or Arabica? ›
It's made from only 100% arabica beans, considered the world's, finest coffee beans, for their rich aroma and robust taste.Is Cafe Bustelo Arabica or Robusta? ›
The beans produce a full-bodied coffee with an earthy flavor and unlike Arabica, it is bitter and richer as it contains twice as much caffeine than Arabica beans, harsh and low in acidity. Cafe Bustelo is an example of Robusta coffee.Which is better for stomach Arabica or Robusta? ›
Arabica coffee is slightly less acidic than its counterpart, making it a friendly option for sensitive stomachs. The bean also tends to feature a firm flavor profile that can border on bitterness.What is the disadvantage of robusta coffee? ›
What are the Disadvantages of Robusta. While Robusta coffee has many advantages, there are some disadvantages to consider as well. Robusta beans have higher acidity than Arabica beans, which some people find to be unpleasant. Additionally, it often has a bitter taste that can be off-putting to some coffee drinkers.Why is robusta coffee cheaper? ›
Robusta coffee is cheaper to produce than arabica because it grows at a lower altitude and requires less care. Robusta is easier to grow, because it can grow in more tropical climates and doesn't have the same altitude requirements as arabica.Which coffee is more expensive Arabica or Robusta? ›
Because it's harder to plant and grow, Arabica is more expensive than Robusta.Which country produces the best Robusta coffee? ›
However, in terms of robusta production, Vietnam is the leading producer of robusta coffee globally. Over 90% of the coffee grown and produced in Vietnam is of the robusta variety.
It's often used in instant coffee, and espresso blends. So when it comes to making coffee at home, the method you'll want to choose to bring out the best in robusta beans is espresso.What is the price of most expensive coffee Kopi Luwak? ›
1. Black Ivory: $1,500 per pound. For some time, the Kopi Luwak cat poop coffee was the only type using animal feces to enhance the flavor.How do you use Kopi Luwak coffee? ›
- Grind your coffee to a coarse setting.
- Place beans in French press.
- Boil 16 ounces of water and wait around 2 minutes until water is 203-205° F (95-96° C)
- Add hot water to French press and stir with plastic or wooden spoon.
- Wait 3 to 4.5 minutes (we recommend 4 minutes)
Kopi Luwak is the world's most exclusive and expensive coffee. The reason behind its high price is how it is made. Notably, the name Kopi Luwak is not the name of the coffee but the method of production.What is the shelf life of Kopi Luwak? ›
How long do kopi luwak beans last? For peak freshness, we recommend consuming kopi luwak within three months of roasting. If unopened and stored properly, the beans can stay good for up to 6 months. After this, there will be a noticeable loss of flavor.Which country is famous for Kopi Luwak coffee? ›
kopi luwak, (Indonesian: “civet coffee”) the coffee bean or specialty coffee that is digested by, fermented within, and then excreted by the Asian palm civet—popularly called a luwak in Indonesia but found throughout South and Southeast Asia.Is Kopi Luwak good for health? ›
Kopi luwak can help those with migraines and other headaches. Due to the vasoconstriction effects of caffeine, kopi luwak is an ideal choice for those suffering from migraines. Due to the low acidity, kopi luwak is still suitable for migraines accompanied with stomach pain - unlike typical coffee.What is the best coffee in the world from animal? ›
Kopi Luwak is coffee made from beans that have been digested by a civet cat (i.e. "cat poop coffee"). Balinese farmers have touted for generations that this method produces the best-tasting coffee.Is Starbucks coffee robusta? ›
It can be complex. It can have body and acidity that is interesting and can be used and played with and blended into new, interesting tastes,” Robinson said. That's why Starbucks only buys arabica coffee beans.Does Mcdonalds use robusta coffee? ›
McDonald's coffee is brewed from 100% arabica, medium roasted, beans. McDonald's coffee quality is as high as it is because of that one fact. Arabica coffee is the most popular type of coffee because it is so much milder than Robusta coffee, lacking that acidic aftertaste you will find with Robusta beans.
This tradition stuck, especially in the south of the country and many Italian blends still use Robusta coffee to give us the thick-bodied, strong flavoured, high caffeine drink that has become so synonymous with Italian coffee today.What is the #1 selling coffee in America? ›
Largest Coffee Brands Research Summary
The largest coffee brand in the U.S. is Starbucks, with a revenue of $32.25 billion. As of 2022, the retail market for coffee in the U.S. has a market size of $48.7 billion. Americans collectively drink 146 billion cups of coffee each year.
World's purest and freshest coffee – kivu noir coffee.What coffee does Mcdonald's use? ›
Everything you need for a delicious cup at home. Good is brewing with the rich aroma and delicious taste of our 100% Arabica coffee, available in K-Cup® pods, bags and cans in a variety of blends.Is Colombian coffee Arabica or Robusta? ›
New coffee drinkers tend to prefer the smooth taste of Arabica rather than the strong coffee taste that Robusta has to offer. Colombia is one of the only countries in the world that produces 100% Arabica beans; you know that you'll be getting Arabica whenever you drink a cup of Colombian coffee!Can I mix robusta and Arabica? ›
A recommendation of preparing a cup of good coffee is to mix 10% of good Robusta with Arabica coffee. We recommend roasting the Robusta dark but not to a level where oil develops on the surface.Does Starbucks use Arabica or Robusta? ›
We only use 100% arabica beans, so you can enjoy the delicious, high quality coffee these beans help create.Is Starbucks espresso Arabica or Robusta? ›
It can have body and acidity that is interesting and can be used and played with and blended into new, interesting tastes,” Robinson said. That's why Starbucks only buys arabica coffee beans.Is Lavazza Arabica or Robusta? ›
Lavazza Espresso Italiano's smooth, well-balanced flavor is the result of a carefully selected blend of 100% Arabica beans.Is Dunkin Donuts Arabica or Robusta? ›
We use 100 percent Arabica coffee beans and have our own coffee specifications, which are recognized by the industry as a superior grade of coffee. Based on Dunkin' Quality (DDQ) specifications, coffee is milled and processed specifically for Dunkin'.
Arabica beans have a milder, more aromatic taste while Robusta beans hold a stronger, more acquired flavor. Arabica beans are flat and oval in shape while Robusta beans have a more obvious round shape.Is Maxwell House Arabica or Robusta? ›
It's made from only 100% arabica beans, considered the world's, finest coffee beans, for their rich aroma and robust taste. Give it a try and you'll taste the difference that dedication and quality can bring to your Maxwell House coffee Good just got Great!Is Folgers coffee made in China? ›
Where We Roast - Folger Coffee Company | Folgers Coffee. Our Folgers® coffee is roasted in New Orleans, Louisiana by hardworking people who are as passionate about our products as they are about the city in which they're made.Why do Italians use Robusta? ›
When brewed using an espresso machine, robusta coffees produce a plentiful, thick crema. Hence, in a classic Italian espresso blend, robusta is a necessity. Roasters in the United States have been known to use high-quality robustas in their espresso blends, but Italian espresso is especially well-known for its crema.What is Italy's most popular coffee brand? ›
What is the most popular brand of coffee within Italy? The most popular brands of coffee within Italy are Lavazza and Illy. Illy's Arabica coffees are preferred by northern Italians, while southern Italians prefer the strong flavor of Lavazza's Arabica-Robusta blends.