Buyers Guide: Arabica vs Robusta

Arabic infographic

Arabica vs Robusta?  Specialty coffee has become a leader in category growth and profits for food service providers. In the last year, major players have spent millions to upgrade their coffee quality and marketing campaigns.

As consumer palates have become more discerning, coffee quality has come under the microscope. Coffee blends with lower-quality Robusta coffee just aren’t cutting it anymore. Coffee-forward operators are upping their game to blends with 100% Arabica coffee. Here is an overview of what customers are looking for in food service coffee.


When it comes to coffee, the nose knows. When consumers enter your store, they expect the same aromatic qualities they’d enjoy when entering a craft coffee shop.

Arabica beans contain almost 60% more lipids and almost twice the concentration of sugars than Robusta beans. These play an important role during the roasting process, helping several key aromatic compounds.

So while Arabica coffee often smells sweet and fragrant after roasting, Robusta coffee tends to smell more like raw peanuts.


Although the taste of coffee can vary widely due to the skill level of the roaster, Arabica coffees usually have the advantage.

Arabica coffee retains more flavor and sweetness after roasting than Robusta. An Arabica taste profiles are complex and distinctive, often Including tones of fruits, florals chocolate and nuts with a delightful balance between natural sweet and tangy flavors.

Even high-quality Robusta can’t match Arabica’s flavor profile. The best Robusta beans have very neutral flavors, almost “oatmeal-like” flavors with notes of earthier chocolate.


When brewed, a Robusta bean will produce more crema, which is the light, airy cream on top of a brewed espresso. For this reason, traditional Italian espresso blends historically contained Robusta beans.

Most roasters now understand that they can produce excellent crema using high-quality Arabica coffee. The result is a beverage that has all the visual appeal of a traditional Italian espresso with more of the balanced, sweet and pleasant taste notes desired by today’s specialty coffee drinker. When evaluating Arabic vs Robusta, there’s no more important factor in consumers minds than visual attributes.


With a higher emphasis on health, today’s coffee drinkers are increasingly concerned about caffeine. One reason that the taste of Robusta coffee is not as desirable as the taste of Arabica coffee is that Robusta has almost double the amount of caffeine. This may sound like a positive thing to those trying to jump-start their day or fuel up for their workout routine, but caffeine carries a bitter taste which becomes unpleasant at higher levels

At Stockton Graham & Co., we are focused on quality coffee. That’s why all coffees in our Batch 0995 food service line are made from sweet, fragrant, and delicious 100% Arabica coffees. Learn more about arabica vs robusta or Batch 0995, call us at 800 835 5943 for more information.

January 2014 Featured Single Origin
Costa Rica La Candelilla Estate

Single Origin - Costa Rica La Candelilla EstateDirect from the La Candelilla Estate in the Tarrazu region, our Costa Rica offering possesses sophistication sought out by specialty coffee fans. This 100% Arabica coffee contains all the bright acidity one expects from a high grown Costa Rican coffee. After the initial rush of brightness, the sweet, creamy body envelops your mouth offering you glimpses of fruit notes. Juxtaposed with mild spices, the clean finish proves you have found a truly wonderful coffee – full of tasting adventures and uniqueness rarely found from this origin. This coffee farm has existed since the early 1900’s when the Mora family began planting coffee seedlings on the property. Mr. Mora’s daughter and husband began fully investing and running the farm in the 1940’s, and only as recently as 2000 did a wet mill appear on the property. Today, under the family’s watchful eye, only the top quality, sun dried beans are exported. Truly this coffee is a work of love and dedication that can be experienced with each sip.

Cupping Attributes
AROMA: Sweet, Chocolate/Cocoa, Honey/Dried Nuts     BODY: Light, Smooth     FLAVOR: Pronounced Sweet Citrus Fruitiness
ACIDITY: Medium     AFTERTASTE: Finishes Tangy

Click here to read about our other Single Origin coffees.