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Comparing Arabica and Robusta: Which Variety Wins the Race?

Written by: Svenja Schindler



Time to read 3 min

You've probably already seen it: On the coffee packaging, it says in large letters "100% Arabica". Often, we are unconsciously sold Arabica coffee as the “best” coffee. But where does this hypothesis come from and is there really any truth to it? We put an end to this half-science and explain to you which coffee bean from Arabica and Robusta really tastes better.


There are approximately 124 known species of coffee from the Coffea coffee plant. But for us coffee lovers, only two of them are relevant: The Coffee Arabica plant and the Coffee Canephora plant, also known as Robusta. Together, they represent around 99% of the world's coffee culture. 70% of this production is due to Arabica beans and 30% to Robusta beans.

The beans are easy to distinguish visually: The Arabica bean is larger and has an S-shaped cut in the middle.

Robusta grain is a little smaller and has a straight cut.

Arabica and robusta are also clearly distinguished in terms of cultivation: As the name suggests, the robusta grain is much more resistant. It is less susceptible to pests and can grow even in heat and humidity. This makes sense, because the robusta bean is found in deep regions, where it is exposed to warmer climatic conditions.

The bean “diva” is much more demanding. The Arabica plant can only grow in high soil and climate conditions. As a "highland coffee", it also requires an altitude of at least 1000 meters. All this makes it a demanding and less productive plant.

But does that make Arabica the taste winner? Now let's see what differentiates grains in terms of their components.


A look inside the grains reveals other differences. The caffeine content is twice as high in Robusta, making it the most popular bean for making espresso. The lower oil content also makes robusta the first choice for espresso. It allows you to obtain the beautiful stable cream that we are all looking for.

The Arabica bean, however, has a decisive advantage and this lies in its DNA. With 44 chromosomes, Arabica has twice as many chromosomes as its competitors. These represent the complexity of the aromas. They give the coffee a particularly aromatic and sweet taste.

Arabica also fares better in terms of acidity. The chlorogenic acid content is half as high. It is because of this acidity that we sometimes have the impression that coffee "hits us in the stomach". But don't worry: the qualitative and gentle roasting that we use at home allows us to significantly reduce the chlorogenic acid content.

Recommendation: coffee particularly low in acidity


Now let's move on to the most important part for us: the taste. Because for us, coffee is not only a stimulant, but also a pleasure. It is important to clarify from the outset that taste differences between beans cannot be generalized, because the type of coffee is only one of many factors that influence taste. The processing and roasting are more important than the bean itself. However, there are typical characteristics of the variety that distinguish Arabica and Robusta beans.

Arabica coffee is known for its elegant and pronounced aroma. The complexity of the chromosomes makes it possible to obtain very varied taste notes, ranging from fresh fruity to nutty taste.

Robusta coffee scores points with its impressive taste and full body. It is often described as earthy and slightly bitter, with notes of nuts and chocolate.

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Now let's return to the well-known advertising slogan: 100% Arabica. What about this promise and does 100% Arabica mean 100% best quality?

The reputation of the Arabica bean as a demanding coffee from the highlands is worth a lot: importers can obtain significantly higher prices on the market with the label "100% Arabica". Photos of tropical coffee plantations in the mountains of Brazil give us the feeling that this must be a particularly exclusive coffee. But this doesn't says nothing on the quality and the taste. En effect, the cafes 100% arabica obtain generally of less good results at test of taste that the mixtures, also called blends. The blends are intensely flavored and unite all the properties positive of varieties  of coffee. He en results a taste particularly round and harmonious. A work of art accomplished, for so say.

Our most popular variety, Lungo Bellissimo, is also a blend. We primarily use blends for our sustainable coffee capsules, as this allows our sommeliers to get the most out of each bean.


Arabica scores points with its elegant and fruity aromas. Robusta has a full body and earthy, slightly bitter notes. If you are looking for a harmonious and round coffee, you will be best served with a blend of Arabica and Robusta.

So both grains have their advantages, but ultimately it remains a question of personal taste and grain quality. We don't want to choose a winner, because at MyCoffeeCup we believe that coffee is the best: Coffee should be varied!