Is Robusta the Future of Coffee?
New coffee trends show quite clearly: Robusta coffee is on the rise. But what is currently declared a trend will become established and gain growth in the coming years. Because with emerging sustainability trends, Robusta beans are increasingly coming into the focus of many coffee roasters and lovers.
Until now, Arabica has dominated the coffee market - but this may soon change - because the climate crisis threatens commercial production. The cultivation method is laborious and the plants are susceptible to parasites and diseases. Compared to Robusta beans, Arabica prefers to grow in higher altitudes with cooler temperatures of 15-24°C and high humidity. A temperate climate free of weather is therefore a prerequisite for growing Arabica beans.
In addition to climate change, short-term supply chain issues are driving up prices. Whereby the costly cultivation of Arabica coffee already presupposes a higher price. This combination will also soon be felt by coffee connoisseurs, so sustainable alternatives can be integrated into the existing range as new trend drinks in a timely manner.
Away with the prejudices of Robusta coffee beans
The name of the fine coffee "Arabica" sounds oriental and high-class, which applies to the quality of the coffee. "Robusta" on the other hand, is due to the robust coffee plant. Accordingly, the name does not sound as exciting as Arabica however, it does not mean that Robusta coffee beans taste worse because of it.
Compared to Arabica beans, Robusta coffee is easier to harvest, more productive and therefore more economically efficient. As a result, the coffee is often used in cheap coffees and for blending. In this process, the beans are roasted in a short time at high temperatures, during which they cannot develop their full aromas at all. The well-known, too bitter taste is therefore not due to the beans, but to the industrial, fast processing.
Overall, the two coffee varieties Arabica and Robusta account for over 90% of the global coffee market. The largest coffee producer and exporter of Robusta coffee is Brazil, followed by Vietnam. Warm areas between 24 - 30°C in low regions allow Robusta coffee plants to grow about 10 m tall. Resistant to parasites and diseases, it is thus more productive and cheaper to grow compared to Arabica coffee plants, which grow only 1 - 2 m tall.
Arabica is known for its mild, fruity and aromatic taste. Robusta is considered stronger, more bitter and not as versatile. It is therefore often too strong for Western tastes and is therefore often combined with Arabica. This is also due to the undesirable bitter substances and acids, which can, however, be reduced by a gentle roasting process.
But Robusta coffee convinces as a real stimulant. Because where the caffeine content stops with Arabica, it starts with Robusta at 1.7%. Robusta beans are therefore ideal for espresso, because the high oil content gives it a thick and very stable crema.
Of course, the Arabica bean won't disappear right away, but it certainly doesn't hurt to be clear about where coffee trends are headed in the future. Here, Robusta is right at the top. In addition, developments with other coffee types and varieties are also possible, from which new trend beverages will emerge.
- Varietal Robusta beans as a specialty with a focus on high caffeine content for active fragrant lovers
- Vietnamese craft Robusta boom: Robusta as cold brews or phin-filtered are among the popular coffee trend drinks
- Unknown, recently discovered coffees also promise robust growing characteristics and delicious taste
- Molecular coffee as coffee-free innovations through koji fermentation