Caffè robusta: cos'è, storia e caratteristiche - Costiera Caffè & Design

Robusta coffee: what it is, history and characteristics

What is Robusta Coffee?

Out of over a hundred species, Robusta coffee has managed to become the second most popular coffee on the world market. Let's see how and why.

Robusta coffee is a type of coffee obtained from the beans (seeds) of the coffee plant known as Canephora Coffea which originated in central-western sub-Saharan Africa. It accounts for 40% of world coffee production and is the second most popular coffee in the world, after Arabica coffee which makes up 60% of the market.

Origins of Robusta

Robusta coffee is mostly grown in the Eastern Hemisphere, mainly in Africa and Indonesia. The world's largest producer is Vietnam.

It is often used in instant coffee and espresso blends. In home preparations, the best way to get the most out of Robusta beans is to use them in the preparation of an espresso.

What does Robusta coffee taste like?

It tastes earthy and bitter, chewy, similar to wheat, with a peanut aftertaste.

The beans contain more caffeine and less sugar than those of arabica resulting in a stronger and harder flavor.

Robusta plant

The Robusta plant from which coffee originates is a plant resistant to very hot temperatures and loves very watery soils. In the wild it grows to about ten meters in height, but when grown for commercial use it is pruned to a height which facilitates harvesting, of about five metres. The flowers are white and smell like jasmine, the fruit turns deep red as it ripens and takes 6 to 8 months to do so. There are usually two coffee beans inside each ripe pod.

It usually grows at low altitudes and is resistant to insects and diseases.

If you've heard that one of the differences between Arabica and Robusta is that there's more caffeine in Robusta, you've heard right. Robusta contains about twice as much caffeine. This makes the plant less susceptible to pests and diseases. This is because the more bitter taste and the antimicrobial properties conferred by caffeine drive one away from the other.

The higher caffeine in Robusta is also reflected in a more bitter taste in brewed coffee.

Where is it grown?

As mentioned above, most Robusta is grown in the Eastern Hemisphere, but some plantings are also found in South and Central America.

Below is a list of the major producers of:

  • Vietnam
  • Brazil
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • Uganda
  • Malaysia
  • Ivory Coast
  • Thailand
  • Cameroon
  • Philippines
  • Madagascar
  • Guinea
  • Guatemala

Is Robusta Coffee Good?

By now you may be wondering if Robusta tastes good – well, what is certain is that Robusta adds a nice crema to espresso blends.

In our area where espresso is king, the Robusta quality is widely used and appreciated.

In summary, if you like crema in your coffee and harder, more earthy flavor notes, consider Robusta-based blends.

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