Ist Robusta-Kaffee schlecht? Ein Mythos der Kaffeewelt

Is Robusta coffee bad? A myth of the coffee world

We often get requests for 100% Arabica coffee. Not that that's a bad thing. On the other hand, very few people out there explicitly ask for 100% Robusta coffee or for blends with Robusta content; you can also find the latter in our shop . The myth that Robusta coffee is bad is simply persistent. Which is not true. It's just different from Arabica. We're taking a closer look at the underdog of coffee plants and putting to rest the myth that "Robusta coffee is bad".


Robusta coffee bad - difference between Robusta and Arabica

Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, also known as Coffea Canephora, are the two main types of coffee and differ in many ways. These differences range from cultivation and processing to

Robusta coffee bad wild coffee roastery Canephora

Taste and its use. Arabica coffee is often appreciated for its delicate aromas and diverse flavor profiles, while Robusta is known for its strong flavor and higher caffeine content. Currently, Robusta accounts for a good third to 40% of the world market share. The main producers are Vietnam, Brazil, Indonesia and India.

Robusta coffee bad - cultivation and processing

Arabica is mainly grown at higher altitudes, often in mountainous regions with cooler climates. The plants require plenty of shade and moist conditions. Robusta, on the other hand, grows at lower altitudes and prefers warmer, more humid climates. The plants are more robust and resistant to disease.


Robusta coffee bad - taste and aroma

Arabica is characterized by a wide range of flavors, including floral and fruity notes, as well as gentle acidity. It is often softer and more refined in taste. Robusta tends to have a stronger, bitter flavor with a prominent chocolate or nutty note. It is often less acidic and has a higher caffeine content than Arabica.

Robusta coffee bad - use

Arabica is often used to make specialty coffees, including filter coffee, cappuccinos, and lattes. It is valued for its delicate aromas and complex flavor profiles. Robusta coffee is often used to make espresso blends and instant coffee. It produces a rich crema and mixes well with milk. Due to its bold flavor and higher caffeine content, it is often used in blends to increase the body and strength of the coffee.


Where does the idea that Robusta coffee is bad come from?

The perception that Robusta coffee is seen as "bad" coffee is often due to several factors related to the flavor profiles, quality, and growing methods of Robusta coffee.


Robusta coffee bad – taste profile

Compared to Arabica coffee beans, Robusta coffee has a stronger, bitter taste and can have a less complex flavor character. Some people prefer the smoother, more balanced taste of Arabica coffee and therefore may find Robusta less appealing.

Robusta coffee bad – caffeine content

Robusta generally contains about twice as much caffeine as Arabica. Some people may prefer coffee with a more moderate caffeine content and therefore might consider Robusta to be "inferior" due to its higher caffeine content. But it may also be because Robusta has a higher level of chlorogenic acid than Arabica, the acid that doesn't agree with us if it isn't broken down well during roasting.

Robusta coffee bad – intended use

Robusta coffee is often used to make espresso blends and instant coffee, which can lead to the misconception that it is only suitable for mass production and not for high-quality coffee enjoyment.


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Robusta coffee bad – that’s a myth

However, it is important to stress that Robusta coffee has its own unique characteristics and flavor profiles that are appreciated by many people around the world. For some coffee lovers, Robusta coffee may even be preferred due to its bold flavor and higher caffeine content. Ultimately, the perception of coffee, whether Arabica or Robusta or any other variety, is heavily influenced by personal preferences and individual tastes. Of course, no one will enjoy a mediocre or even bad Robusta every now and then.

Robusta coffee bad - variety of flavors from Robusta

But there are also very good Robustas out there. According to the Coffee Quality Institute , these are called Fine Robustas and are considered specialty coffees. Fine Robustas are balanced and their flavors vary depending on the growing region. They are often nutty and chocolatey, but can also be fruity. The full and creamy body that Robusta brings with it is particularly impressive and hardly any Arabica can compare to it. In comparison, all Arabicas seem like thin soups. Robusta also has less perceptible acidity, a higher bitterness and more saltiness.


Robusta coffee bad – cup profiles and their complexity

The most important thing is not to approach a Robusta with the same expectations as an Arabica. You also don't compare a black tea with a green tea - even though both are tea. Robusta doesn't have as complex an aroma as Arabica, but Robusta doesn't have to taste just of forest floor and wood bark. Depending on the quality of the Robusta coffee, it can be caramel, nutty or spicy.
But Robustas can also taste like fruit. These include notes of cherries, raisins, berries and especially dried stone fruits. There are also nuances of cloves, cedar, pepper, coriander, etc. Fine Robustas also score points with a long and clear aftertaste.

Robusta coffee bad - fermented Robusta

The aroma changes, especially when Robusta coffee is fermented. The fermentation method is basically the same as for Arabica. Let's take anaerobic fermentation in barrels: if a Robusta undergoes this process, its aroma becomes strongly fruity, but at the same time it retains its basic nutty note. The fermented Robustas become sweeter and more complex and can even surprise you with unusual flavor profiles, from fruity and floral to chocolaty and spicy, depending on factors such as the length and type of fermentation as well as the specific growing conditions and processing method.


Robusta coffee bad - is there specialty Robusta coffee?

As already mentioned, the answer is yes. The CQI calls them Fine Robusta. And they are rated similarly to the specialty coffees for Arabica. Up to 100 points are possible. The following classifications exist:

  • 90-100 Outstanding Very Fine
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  • 80-90 Fine Fine
  • 70-80 Very Good Premium
  • 60-70 Average Usual Good Quality
  • 50-60 Fair Usual Good Quality
  • 40-50 FairCommercial
  • < 40 Exchange Grade
  • < 30 Below Grade
  • < 20 Off Grade
  • < 10 Triage

In addition, a Fine Robusta requires less than 8 defects in a 350-gram sample of green coffee.


Robusta coffee bad - the best growing countries for Fine Robusta

There always needs to be a driving force to advance a topic in the world. At the moment, there is still a lack of enough coffee farmers, roasters and baristas to put the topic of Fine Robusta in the light that this coffee deserves. This is another reason why Robusta is still considered inferior to Arabica. A start is that the CQOI has set the criteria for specialty Robusta. And there are already some farmers, such as in India and Laos, who are constantly growing Fine Robusta. In principle, every country could produce specialty Robusta, as the plant can tolerate more than Arabica.

Robusta coffee bad – future of availability

Another reason to consider the taste of good Robusta coffee is that the demand for coffee will double in the next 25 years. At the same time, however, the area used to grow Arabica will halve during this time due to climate change. One solution would be to cut down forests to create new areas for cultivation. But that is not a good solution. A better solution would be to replace the lost Arabica plants with Robusta. These also grow at lower altitudes and also produce up to four times the yield per plant. The Robusta plant is also easier to handle and more stable to grow.


Robusta coffee bad – conclusion

Unfortunately, many coffee drinkers still believe that Robusta coffee is of lower quality than Arabica and is only suitable for very dark roasted blends or for making instant coffee. This may be true for low or medium quality Robusta, but there are also increasingly so-called Fine Robustas on the market, which are the specialty coffees among Robustas. It is worth trying them - of course you should not expect the same as with an Arabica, as the aroma is inherently different.