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Best coffee beans for espresso: Arabica or Robusta?


The two primary species of coffee beans used in the commercial manufacturing of coffee around the world, as well as the two main types used for espresso, are Caffea Arabica and Coffea canephora (better known as Robusta). Is one preferable to the other? Discover the unique qualities that each species has to offer your cup of espresso by learning about their differences.


Arabica is the most widely farmed species of coffee bean in the world and was the first to be domesticated. Its production accounts for over 60% of global output and has a rich, well-balanced scent.

Everywhere you look, coffee packaging features the common label “100% Arabica,” which is meant to denote quality. For this reason, it will be listed as a key selling point on a package. There is significantly more commercial-grade Arabica than specialty; therefore, the species itself does not guarantee quality.

The greatest espresso is made with premium specialty Arabica. Colombia produces the highest-quality Arabica beans for espresso. Colombia Supremo and Excelsior beans are the two varieties that originate from this region. Both come from the same place; however, the difference between the two is the size of the beans. Excelsior beans are smaller than Colombia Supremo beans, which are the largest.

When a roaster wants you to know the caliber of Arabica you are getting, you are more likely to see the precise type listed on the box.

High-grade Arabica will produce an espresso that is smoother, lighter, and balanced with overtones of fruit, chocolate, and caramel. It will also have a medium body, crisp acidity, and a pleasing, clean aftertaste.


Coffee, Robusta Canephor, is frequently denigrated and labeled as the inferior of the two types of coffee beans. It thrives at low elevations and has a high level of disease resistance. Usually, this plant yields twice as much per tree as Arabica. Robusta is thought to make up to 30 percent of all coffee farmed worldwide.

In comparison to Arabica, the liquor is full-bodied, a little acidic, and has more caffeine. Robusta produces coffee that is bitterer or occasionally referred to as “heavier,” and frequently exhibits overtones of chocolate and hazelnut. The crema we enjoy on top of espresso is made from Robusta beans. Because of this, you won’t find Robusta beans used for espresso brewing on their own. When Arabica is used combined with Robusta, it shines.

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In both bean types, caffeine can be found. One of more than 50 plant species, including tea, coffee, and cocoa, contains caffeine as an alkaloid, or chemical component, in their leaves, seeds, or fruits.

The sixth century B.C. saw widespread knowledge of caffeine’s energizing properties. Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen are four of the most abundant elements on earth and makeup caffeine.

Can we consume a day’s worth of caffeine? The range of 300 to 400 mg is generally agreed upon by scientists to be a reasonable daily intake. The fact that caffeine can be found in various dietary sources besides coffee must always be kept in mind.

52 mg of caffeine can be found in a cup of espresso produced entirely from Arabica. 90 mg of caffeine is present in an espresso produced from robusta-infused beans. In contrast, dark chocolate has 80 mg of caffeine per 100 mg.

Cost of Coffee

Events that occur on the political, economic, and meteorological fronts in the nation where the coffee beans are grown can have a big impact on the price of the beans. You can experience a significant price increase if you only buy beans from one region or one type.

The more expensive of the two types are often Arabica. Based on demand, However, both Arabica’s and Robusta’s prices are subject to considerable swings. Costs might be affected by relying solely on a single nation or one type of bean. Because of this, coffee mixes are more prevalent.

Coffee Blends

You will frequently find coffee that contains beans from several nations in addition to distinct varieties (arabica and robusta). Blends are a common name for them. Cost and producing better-tasting coffee are the two main considerations when creating a coffee mix.

While price is always a factor, the main objective of the majority of specialty roasters is to create a blend that results in superior-tasting coffee. The truth is that combining different bean types results in a more rounded and fuller espresso.

Numerous factors, including the weather, the makeup of the soil, the growing environment, etc., can influence the crops of a single-origin bean. Consequently, there can be changes from one year to the next. A greater degree of uniformity is possible with blending. By using several types of beans, a coffee roaster may balance out the flavor.

The best espresso is made from a Robusta and Arabica blend

Italians believe that while single-origin coffees are popular in North America, the best coffee can only be made by combining coffee beans. They mix not just beans from different nations because each has its profile and characteristics, but they also mix different bean types.

They do this because each variety, Arabica, and Robusta brings distinct qualities to the espresso that gives it a richness that can’t be attained by using just one kind of bean.

Producing coffee that suits a given set of culturally defined tastes may be a roaster’s aim.

Italians in Milan, for instance, enjoy a delicate, sweet, yet vibrant espresso. There will be a greater proportion of Arabica beans in these blends. Contrarily, the Italians in Naples prefer a stronger, bitterer flavor, and their blends will contain more Robusta beans. In both situations, the roaster will create a “miscellaneous” blend tailored to the regional population’s tastes and preferences.

Three Things to Think About When Purchasing Beans

  • The freshness of beans (be sure to know when the coffee was roasted)
  • Buy only what you need to avoid having extra beans in storage.
  • For your preferred brewing technique, select the roast.

In the end, your palate will let you know what you prefer. When selecting a blend, there is no such thing as right or wrong. Whether you choose a coffee that is 100% Arabica or a blend of Arabica and Robusta, be sure to pay attention to the roast you are selecting. First, make sure it is acceptable for making espresso. Second, ensure that the coffee you choose won’t damage your coffee maker.

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