Here are the key differences between Arabica and Robusta

By Kristen Underwood — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

What’s the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee?


When morning swings around and my alarm is ringing in my ear, I’m not worried about where it comes from, what it looks like, who makes it, hot or cold, you name it. I want coffee and I want it STAT. As soon as that sun rises, I'm throwin' back cup after cup. But when it comes down to it, there are dozens of different coffee bean variations and maybe, just maybe, if you knew a little more about the beans you’re buying, you could make your morning experience a little more personal. A morning ritual, if you will, that holds the golden hours of your day. THIS is the kind of experience we all deserve.

When it comes to the cup in your hands, there are two types of beans that really matter if you want a good quality, strong, smooth tasting cup. Arabica and Robusta. And if you don’t already know, let me be the first to tell you that the difference between the two is significant, but the importance of the two combined is even more significant.

What are the differences between Arabica and Robusta?

1. Taste

Often Robusta’s flavor is referred to as being similar to what a burnt tire or rubber would taste like. Why does this coffee taste like a car smells after a street race? 

2. Caffeine content

Robusta has almost double the amount of caffeine than Arabica. Although this may sound like the best thing in the morning, caffeine carries a bitter taste. Flavor profile? Arabica for the win. 

3. Your pretty pennies

From a price standpoint, Robusta greens are about half the price of Arabica greens on the commodity market.

4. Lipid and sugar content

Arabica beans contain almost 60% more lipids and almost twice the concentration of sugars than Robusta, according to This probably plays an important role in why we prefer consuming Arabica.

5. Robusta is less sensitive to insects

The extra caffeine Robusta beans hold, is a chemical defense for the coffee seed, making it easier to tend on the farm, since the amount of caffeine in Robusta is toxic to bugs. They also grow at lower altitudes and are less sensitive to weather conditions.

6. Where they are grown

Robusta is exclusively grown in the Eastern Hemisphere, primarily in Africa and Indonesia. Arabica is dominantly grown in Latin America. Colombia only produces Arabica beans. Some countries, however, like Brazil and India, produce both. Death Wish is a blend of both Arabica and Robusta beans that we source mainly from India and Peru.

7. The shape of the beans

Robusta beans tend to have a much more circular shape to them as opposed to Arabica, with a more oval shape. 

Ultimately, it comes down to what you enjoy every single sip of. Personally, I like the best of both worlds. Why not have your cake and eat it, too when you can?! High caffeine, with a smooth, rich flavor. 

Related: Here's the truth about roast shades

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