Arabica vs. Robusta

Origin Story

Coffee is anything but boring—it’s a world of its own.

Legend has it that coffee was first discovered over a thousand years ago by a goat herder in Ethiopia named Kaldi.1 His goats became excited after eating some red berries, and Kaldi decided to try them himself.

From there, coffee is grown in Yemen, and makes its journey around the world. But coffee isn’t just one singular plant; it’s infinitely complex, made up of two species and many different varietals.

Where do we begin our coffee journey today? With the two plant species.

What’s the difference?

One question asked by coffee buyers is that of plant species: Arabica or Robusta. Arabica coffee makes up 60% of the world’s coffee supply, and according to World Coffee Research, is considered to produce the highest cup quality.2

Arabica is known to have a sweeter, smoother taste; in contrast, Robusta has a bitter, harsher taste. Robusta coffee makes up a good percentage of instant coffee, and because it's lower in cost, is the variety of coffee you’ll likely find at a gas station.

From a farming perspective, Robusta can handle a variety of weather conditions and is more resistant to disease than Arabica. Farmers may choose to have a percentage of their crop be Robusta in order to ensure some stability, since there’s already so much risk inherent in farming. Robusta holds on to 40% of coffee supply because of its practical, resilient nature.

However, Robusta generally isn’t winning any awards. And for us at Klatch, we’re in search of the best, the top 1% of coffee.

The two most common varieties of Arabica coffee are Typica and Bourbon. Typica is a low-yield variety known for its cup excellence; Bourbon is a variety known and prized for its complexity. You’ll find the coffee varietals listed in many of our Klatch coffee descriptions, here.

Arabica coffee requires more care, attention, and more specific environmental conditions. But the most beautiful things in life require an immense amount of care and attention. The effort they take to cultivate is part of what makes the result worthwhile.

If you are on your journey of coffee discovery, enjoying and paying attention to different tasting notes, Arabica is the way to go.

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