COFFEE SNOBS... DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT MAKES A PREMIUM COFFEE?
SAPPS AND CO - LEADING SUNSHINE COAST COFFEE ROASTERS
Who actually knows the difference between a Robusta bean and an Arabica bean? What are the impacts on cost and flavour? Let me explain to you…
Robusta beans are a neutral to harsh tasting bean that is high in caffeine. Sounds great right, it is really going to give you that pick me up… well it will do that, however the increased levels of caffeine means the coffee is more likely to carry a bitter and burnt taste, so if flavour is your focus, Robusta beans may not be the right choice for you.
Arabica beans have an endless range of tastes and flavours, when raw it smells like blueberries and when roasted it has hints of sweet fruits. Arabica beans are quite fragile and they need rich, quality soil, moisture and a subtropical climate in order to thrive. In terms of shape, the Robusta bean is more round in shape whereas the Arabica bean is more of an oval shape. Robusta beans are also a more resilient plant and does not require such a well-balanced environment to grow, meaning it can be grown in many more locations around the world and costs a lot less to produce.
Now, let’s talk coffee roasters and their use of Robusta and Arabica beans. Many coffee roasters will hide substantial amounts of Robusta beans in their blends to drop their cost margins ultimately increasing their quantity and profit. This however will have an impact on the taste of your coffee, infusing the bitter and harsh beans with the soft and delicate aromatic flavours that come from an Arabica bean. While there are some high quality Robusta beans that provide an intense nutty flavour and as beautiful crema, often used by traditional Italian baristas – the majority of this bean available on the market does not compare to high quality Arabica beans.
If you are purchasing coffee beans from a coffee roaster you should be getting an authentic Arabica bean roast and there shouldn’t be the need for Robusta beans in their blends. Commercialised instant coffee’s utilise Robusta beans, their reason obviously the profit margins and the fact that as mentioned before it creates a much better crema than the Arabica bean.
Overall, it comes down to flavour. People should be able to enjoy high quality, rich flavours without the bitter burnt taste and this of course is entirely due to the beans. For coffee lovers, go with your tastes and enjoy the rich flavours that come with good quality coffee. For café owners and baristas, choose to buy a quality blend and get customers coming back again and again to enjoy your premium roast!