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Robusta is The Most Caffeinated Coffee Bean Type, And if You’re Not Drinking it, You’re Missing Out

Some say that coming in second place means you’ll work harder to keep up and hopefully move up to first. That is definitely the case with robusta coffee beans. They may be the second-most-produced coffee beans worldwide next to arabica beans, but they stem from the most resilient coffee plant to bring dark, earthy, highly caffeinated flavor to your morning routine. So, watch out, arabica, because robusta is coming for you!

Robusta coffee trees grow at some of the lowest altitudes and produce more coffee beans annually per acre than coffea arabica trees produce. Due to their durability and high-yield numbers, they offer a much lower cost to produce and then turn around and sell to roasters.

What are Robusta Coffee Beans?

Dark Blend Coffee, Dark Roast

Robusta coffee beans make up 40% of the world's coffee beans, have a higher percentage of caffeine than arabica beans, and are typically cheaper. Robusta coffee beans are a product of the coffea canephora plant. This coffee bean type was first discovered in the 1800s in sub-Saharan regions of Africa. Today, robusta coffee beans are still grown in Africa in addition to parts of Asia and Brazil. 

Top 9 Producers for Growing Robusta Coffee Beans

  • Cameroon
  • Cote D’Ivoire
  • Madagascar
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • Brazil

The name robusta comes from the hearty and resilient nature of the coffee beans. The Oxford dictionary translates the word robust to mean "strong, healthy, sturdy in construction, and able to withstand and overcome adverse conditions." This definition is spot on when describing the coffea canephora plant and the robusta coffee beans it produces.

Robusta coffee beans are smaller and rounder than other coffee bean types. The trees grow in low-elevation areas between 600-2,400 feet in high temperatures around 80 degrees. In contrast, arabica coffee beans grow at an elevation between 1,800-6,300 feet, with temperatures as low as 59 degrees.

In addition to its intense nature, robusta's high caffeine content is a natural repellent to bugs, pests, disease, and harsh weather. So, drinking robusta coffee while outside on your porch or during a neighborhood walk is more than simply self-care; you could consider it a safety measure. 

What Do Robusta Coffee Beans Taste Like?

Stone Street Coffee Tumbler, Black

Many people waste time debating which coffee roast is more caffeinated. (Hint: the roasting process does not affect the caffeine content. In actuality, the type of coffee bean indicates the level of caffeine.) Arabica, the most popular coffee bean type, averages between 1.2 and 1.5% caffeine. Robusta coffee beans boast an average of 2.2 to 2.7% caffeine, which is almost double the amount!

Robusta coffee beans are not only more caffeinated than arabica beans, but they also have a stronger and more naturally bitter flavor. In addition, robusta coffee beans are often described as having a dark, earthy, or grainy flavor with a peanut aftertaste. While these descriptors can sound off-putting, each coffee bean type serves a purpose in the coffee community. This distinct flavor profile is typically reserved for specific types of coffee and brewing styles to accentuate the heavy notes.

Best Uses for Robusta Coffee Beans

  • Decaf
  • Cold-Brew
  • Espresso
  • Instant

Robusta Coffee Beans for Decaf Coffee

It might be confusing to find out that the most caffeinated coffee bean type is favored when creating decaf coffee. However, the decaffeination process involves stripping away parts of the coffee bean. The overwhelming strength of the robusta coffee beans allows for the flavor to be pulled away during the decaffeination process while still leaving enough flavor and aroma to create a high-quality cup of decaf coffee.

Robusta Coffee Beans for Cold Brew Coffee

The cold brew process is the longest brewing process, taking up to 24 hours to complete. The extended brewing time allows for a longer extraction period, which can benefit from a highly potent coffee bean type, like robusta.

Instant Coffee, cold and hot

Cold brew coffee is best when using coarse ground, dark coffee beans. Using a finely ground coffee will not only create a weakened flavor but will ensure coffee grounds wind up in your actual coffee.

Robusta Coffee Beans for Espresso

When making a classic Italian espresso, you need that hearty, thick crema to give it authenticity. Robusta coffee beans create extra crema when brewing espresso. In addition, espresso shots are known for their short extraction period that creates a highly caffeinated shot.

The dark and earthy flavors drawn from robusta coffee beans pair perfectly with the sweet milk pairings often used when sweetening or flavoring espressos and lattes. Robusta, the coffee bean type with the most caffeine, is going to be the perfect match for brewing espresso. 

Robusta Coffee Beans for Instant Coffee

When it comes to the coffee bean type best suited for instant coffee, most roasters reach for robusta coffee beans. Unfortunately, with many roasters believing that arabica coffee beans are superior, robusta is relegated to the world of instant coffee, which is not a bad thing. Instant coffee doesn't necessarily mean lesser coffee, and robusta coffee beans don't equate to bad-tasting coffee.

In the past, instant coffee was only mass-produced and typically didn't focus on flavor profiles so much as quantity. Now, micro-roasters and specialty coffee shops are becoming involved in the instant coffee game. They know their target market does not always have the available time to create a whole coffee brewing experience each morning. But lack of time should not mean your coffee needs should suffer.

Robusta Coffee—Second in Production, First in Caffeine

Hario Cold Brewer

Robusta coffee beans are in some ways the exact opposite of their more popular counterpart, arabica coffee beans. For example, robusta coffee beans grow in low altitudes instead of higher elevations. They thrive in warm weather instead of a slightly chilly climate, and they have twice the caffeine.

There are 120 species of plants in the coffea genus, and the two most popular coffee bean types are products of the coffea arabica and coffea canephora plants. The beauty of more than one coffee bean type is the ability to choose based on your preferences. So, whether you enjoy the arabica coffee bean with its various flavor profiles or a straightforward robusta coffee bean perfect for your instant coffee, espresso, or cold brew, you can't go wrong.

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