Arabica or Robusta?

When considering what coffee beans you should buy there is one crucial decision that must be made, Arabica or Robusta?

With hundreds of different varieties of coffee, Robusta and Arabica appear to be the front-runners in the coffee making industry and you might even be choosing between the two for your daily cup of coffee!

So, what exactly is the difference?

Well, apart from the fact that these two beans are primarily the only two cultivated for drinking, there are a few other key differences between the beans to consider.

Robusta is grown at a lower altitude to that of Arabica bean, therefore making it less prone to pests and insect contamination. They are exclusively grown in the southern hemisphere, predominately in parts of Africa and Indonesia and because of such growing conditions make them less expensive than Arabica beans.  Robusta, as the name suggests, is a harder bean, holding almost twice as much caffeine than that of its competitor.

More so, the Robusta bean is a larger bean, offering a thicker crema. The Robusta bean offers a much harsher flavour, and for the most part, has a much stronger taste.  Most people that like a Robusta bean, claim it is because of the nutty aftertaste and strength of the coffee.  It’s the perfect bean, for anyone looking for that powerful coffee hit!

However, with many positives come a few negatives, Robusta beans lack the complexity and sophistication to that of the Arabica bean.  As a result, most consumers and businesses opt to buy Arabica beans, because of its unique flavour offerings.

Arabica makes up almost 75% of the world’s total coffee production.  The bean is grown at a much higher altitude, offering the consumer a more refined cup of coffee.  Due to its growing conditions the Arabica bean is more prone to diseases from pests as it is a much softer bean making harvesting quality beans much harder.  The Arabica bean is predominantly grown in Latin America, small parts of Africa and even Papua New Guinea.

The Arabica bean offers a unique variety of undertones and flavours be that; berries, sugar, fruits, or acidity.  For this reason, we often see businesses advertise 100% Arabica beans. 

Arabica beans do not always mean a higher quality of bean; however, they are usually priced much higher because of the growing and harvesting conditions involved.

More often than not, the choice of beans comes down to a personal taste, in fact, a lot of people will usually opt for a blend in beans so that they can get the best of both worlds.

At North Code Coffee, we use a blend of two Arabica beans from Colombia and Brazil, our unique blend supplied by Inglewood Coffee Roasters offers hints of mild chocolate, caramel, red apple and hazelnut proving to be a crowd favourite.

So, are you an Arabica or Robusta lover?

Things To Consider Before You Buy Your Coffee Beans

Do you give much thought about your coffee before you purchase it?  Perhaps you have a specific cafe you prefer to grab your coffee from.  We would like to give you a run-down of some important things to consider before you buy your coffee beans.

Being a top coffee business in Melbourne has its challenges, we must always be on top of our game with the latest in coffee trends, beans and coffee offerings.  For this reason, we run through a gruelling process when selecting our coffee beans, and believe you should too.

The first question to ask yourself is, do you want a single origin or blend?

A single origin bean is sourced from one farm.  It often conveys flavours, tastes, simplicities and complexities unique to that estate.

Blends, on the other hand, are a mixture of many single origin beans and often have a far more complex body, as it has usually been formulated to enhance the consumer’s receptive experience (taste and smell). Blends have also been known to mix better with milk, making them perfect for barista made coffees such as lattes, long macs, cappuccinos and flat whites.

For the most part, baristas usually opt to offer a blend of coffees.  However, some would argue that single origins are better, especially when looking at black coffee.  This argument purely comes down to taste.  We at North Code have offer a blend of two Arabica beans coming from Colombia and Brazil, offering our consumers something that is unique and different.  Our beans carry hints of milk chocolate, caramel, red apple and hazelnut.

A handy tip to know is that blends can be blended either before or after roasting and this usually comes down to techniques used by the roasters.

Next, we need to consider the roast level.

The level and degree of roast are especially important when selecting the right bean, why?  Because properties can be enhanced or removed throughout the roasting process, and this is entirely dependent on the degree of roast.  Most beans within Australia are medium roasted, as it is believed to be the most suitable degree for black or espresso coffee.  It is said that a medium roasted bean offers more body and flavour to that of a lightly roasted bean.  Why?  Because the medium roast allows for more oil to surface from the bean and allows for more character to come out in the roasting process.  More so, a medium roast does not have as grainer of taste to that of a lightly roasted bean, so it allows the beans to be more acidic and flavoursome in character. 

Lastly, the roasting date must always be taken into account.

The roasting date is one of the final aspects to consider. The rule of thumb is three weeks, if the coffee was roasted more than three weeks ago it’s unlikely that the flavour would be as lovely, and complex to that of freshly roasted coffee. Coffee roasted more than three weeks in advance is likely to taste starchy and even lack flavour and complexity. However, in saying that, you will struggle to find an expiry date on coffee, because it is an extremely perishable product. This means that the more exposure the beans have to oxygen the more they will change and eventually stale.

Now you know what to look for when selecting your next single origin or blend.  Make sure you consider the degree to which it was roasted, and how long ago it was roasted these play privy to the perfect cup!