REGION: Central Highlands
ALTITUDE: 1,000 - 1,500 m
Q-GRADE: 81 Points
CUP: Mild acidity, heavy body
FLAVOR: Nutty flavor, bold earthy tones when roasted dark
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Robusta v Arabica:
Many people are unaware that there are two species of coffee in the world. Most of us are used to drinking and roasting Arabica, which is considered superior in taste and quality to its counterpart Robusta. But more and more, Robusta is starting to make its way into the coffee realm, primarily in instant coffees, espressos and lower quality ground blends.
So what is the difference between the two species? For starters, Robusta has a higher caffeine concentration (Up to 80% more), a more intense and bitter taste, and what some call a "burnt" overtone. From a production standpoint, it is easier to grow, less susceptible to disease, can tolerate more heat, and as the name implies, is an extremely robust crop relative to the Arabica variety. Robusta thrives with more humidity and can't be produced at the higher elevations that Arabica can thrive in. Wild Robusta can grow as high as 30 feet, and is preferred by many farmers for its predictability and ease of growing. However, from a health standpoint Arabica beans have more antioxidants and lipid contents, making it the healthier option of the two varieties.
Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world behind Brazil, and boasts a perfect environment for growing the Robusta variety of coffee. Robusta makes up 97% percent of the total coffee production in the country as its lower elevations and humidity make the ideal environment for its cultivation.
We recommend using Robusta in espresso blends. It is said to produce a better crema, and can bring down roasters cost-basis when blending with more expensive Arabica origins. It also increases the caffeine dosage. Brazil, Mexico and Vietnam Robusta make for a quality, three equal parts espresso blend.