Arabica vs Robusta Beans: What’s the Difference?

Arabica and robusta are the two most common types of coffees sold and produced in the world today. But even though they're so common, most people have no idea what the difference is between them.

We're going to dive into what exactly makes these beans unique, and which one you should pick for your next brew. 

Here's a quick crash course on the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee:

What is Arabica Coffee?

Arabica coffee, also known as Arabian coffee, comes from the Arabica plant and is believed to be the first cultivated coffee species. It makes up roughly 60% of global coffee production. It originates from Ethiopia and is grown worldwide in countries like Brazil and Indonesia, which have tropical conditions and high elevations that are perfect for Arabica coffee plants. The two most popular varieties of Arabica coffee are Typica and Bourbon.

What is Robusta Coffee?

Robusta Coffee comes from the Coffea Canephora plant and behind Arabica, is the second most popular coffee in the world, making up 40% of global coffee production. It originates from sub-saharan Africa and it is largely grown in the east, specifically Africa, Indonesia, and most importantly, Vietnam, who is the leading producer of robusta coffee. The two most popular varieties of Arabica coffee are Erecta and Nganda.

Arabica vs. Robusta: The Differences

While the two coffees might look similar, these two beans couldn't be more different. Some of the differences include taste, production, appearance, and etcetera. 


Robusta: Robusta coffee is described to have a bitter, oatmeal-like flavor, with a peanut aftertaste and sometimes tasting of dark chocolate. It has less acidity compared to arabica, meaning it has a harsher and more earthy taste, making it less commonly desired.

Because of this traditional diner coffee taste, robusta is widely used to make espresso, blends, or other dark roasts. It is also commonly used to make instant coffee.

Arabica: Arabica coffee has a more extensive tasting range, from being soft and sweet to sharp and tangy but most have a fruit-like smell and aftertaste. It also has a higher acidity, which lends arabica a crisp and wine-like taste.

Arabica is “widely considered superior to its counterpart Robusta in flavor complexity, sweetness, balance, and acidity."