4 Key Differences Between Arabica & Robusta Coffee


Ever wondered why many coffee companies often write ‘100% Arabica beans’ on the packaging of their coffee? Well, out of a total of about 25 species of coffee, there are two main species being produced in the world – Arabica and Robusta. These two species have 4 key differences, so read on to learn more!

1. Taste

Robusta beans generally produce strong, full bodied coffee with a bitter taste that is often described as burnt rubber. This is due mostly due to the coffee’s low acidity and high caffeine content. On the other hand, Arabica beans tend to produce coffee that is sweeter and with more pleasant flavours and tones.

Of course, the taste of coffee also depends on many other factors such as growth conditions (soil quality, rainfall, temperatures etc), so there are rare occasions when high-end Robusta can taste better than Arabica coffee.

2. Caffeine Content

A Robusta bean contains an average of 2.2% caffeine, almost double that of Arabica which has 1.2% of caffeine. This gives its coffee the bitter taste and makes it more resistant to insects and animals.

3. Production

Robusta is easier to farm as it is more resistant to disease and insects, thus producing a higher yield compared to Arabica. This results in the higher supply and lower price of Robusta. Whereas Arabica is a more vulnerable crop and requires an optimal growing climate such as high altitude and well-defined rainfall seasons, which makes it more expensive to grow.

Arabica beans like our Toba require high altitudes and well-defined rainfall seasons to grow well

Arabica beans like our Toba require high altitudes and well-defined rainfall seasons to grow well

4. Price

The price of Robusta is usually cheaper than Arabica (almost 60% cheaper) due to higher production and its less desirable qualities. In the 1960s-1980s, it was often added to coffee blends by coffee manufacturers to reduce costs and increase their profits. Nowadays, this practice is less common, although Robusta is still being used for most instant coffee (which you are probably drinking for the convenience instead of taste).

The coffee you drink at the local Kopitiams is usually made from Robusta beans in order to lower prices, which explains that strong, bitter taste of Kopi-O-Kosong (black coffee).  Certain espresso blends, particularly the ‘Italian’ blends, also contain some Robusta beans to make it more bitter and improve the crema (in our opinion, at the expense of taste).

What Type of Beans Does Medano Coffee Use?

Here at Medano Coffee, we believe that coffee should taste great and be full of flavours! Hence, we use only 100% Arabica beans in our coffee so that you can taste and appreciate the different flavours of coffee originating from different parts of Asia.

Start your journey for Asian coffee with our Assorted Flavours Pack, or grab a bag of our Nespresso-compatible coffee pods or coffee beans now!

Shop for our Nespresso-compatible coffee pods here

Shop for our fresh coffee beans here


Medano Coffee