We always talk about good coffee. But what does that even mean?
Do you know the difference between Arabica and Robusta? Why you should know that? Because we for example only process Arabicas (also known as highland coffees). And there is a reason for that. But let’s start at the beginning…
The Robusta plant is quite resilient against all kinds of weather conditions and grows well in lower altitudes (up to 2,300ft). The Arabica is a bit more sensitive: It doesn’t handle fluctuations in temperature or precipitation well, likes it cool, and prefers higher altitudes: 3300ft and up.
Arabica beans are larger, flatter, rather oval, and have a curved notch. Robusta beans are smaller and round.
Which wouldn’t really matter if they weren’t so different in terms of chemical structure or taste.
Robusta coffees contain much more caffeine and chlorogenic acid (about twice as much). The latter is supposed to cause some unpleasant side effects. It is decomposed during the roasting process, but the longer Robusta coffee is roasted the more bitter substances are produced, which give the coffee an “earthy” touch (to put it nicely).
Arabicas contain more aromatic coffee oils. They taste elegant, opulent, fruity, spicy, have citrus and chocolate aromas. They are complex.
Robustas have a stronger taste, are rather woody and bitter. Which does not mean that they are not tasty. Just not as refined as an Arabica. Especially when it is 100% organic and fair trade, slowly and gently roasted – just like we do it at Mount Hagen (a little advertisement does not hurt).