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.

Roaster’s Views on the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel

Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel Stockton Graham & Co. Roasted CoffeeIn January, for the first time in 21 years, the original Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel published by the Specialty Coffee Association of America was updated and refined. The new flavor wheel is a groundbreaking tool that is already shifting the way coffee lovers think and talk about coffee.

“The new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel is a great collaborative tool,” explained Stockton Graham & Co. and Dilworth Coffee roastmaster Brandon Riggs. “Although the original Flavor Wheel was a breakthrough, this new wheel is more approachable to the general public because it describes flavors in a way that is more common and accessible to everyday coffee drinkers.”

For example, Brandon notes that the old flavor wheel identified Nippy and Piquant as subgroups in the Sweet flavor group. The new flavor wheel, instead, uses more common words like Honey, Maple Syrup and Molasses. Brandon points out that industry veterans and coffee patrons alike can more easily recognize the tastes of honey or molasses than nippy or piquant.

In addition to more common language, the new flavor wheel introduced gradients in the outer flavor groupings to accommodate more subtlety of tastes. For example, with the addition of gradients, the flavor of blueberry can range from sugary jam-like blueberry to tangy freshly-picked-off-the-bush blueberry.

“By adding gradients to the flavor group, it provides more possibilities in taste and more ways to explore flavor in coffee,” Brandon said.

New Flavor Wheel Facilitates Collaboration

As an instructor of Stockton Graham & Co.’s Coffee College, Brandon also appreciates that the more accessible flavor wheel makes it easier to communicate about coffee.Improve Customer Service At Your Store

“It facilitates communication at the cupping table, whether the cupping is an internal one among roasters or whether roasters come together at a cupping table with customers to discuss coffee,” Brandon said. “The new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel helps us talk to our customers and others who enjoy coffee about their flavor experience.”

Here at Stockton Graham & Co., the iconic Flavor Wheel is a key discussion tool we use during our internal cupping sessions, as well as when we talk to customers about coffee.

“We’ve spent a few weeks working with the new flavor wheel at our Raleigh coffee roasting facility, and we are speaking with customers about using it to guide the way they talk about coffee,” said Brandon said. “Our customers are finding the wheel to be a very helpful tool, whether they are thinking about adding a new coffee or simply talking to their patrons about the coffees they already serve.”

New Flavor Wheel Improves Training Experience

Coffee College 2016 from Stockton Graham & Co.At Stockton Graham & Co. we have begun incorporating the new tasting wheel into our regular internal training sessions, as we grow the expertise of our junior roasters and customer service teams. We will also begin incorporating it into our monthly Coffee College program designed for coffee customers and operators.

“This new wheel is an opportunity to unite all around the cupping table, and to facilitate learning,” Brandon said. “Whether you are a coffee industry expert or you have never cupped before, the new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel is a valuable contribution to any coffee tasting experience.”

Click here for a copy of the new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel and call a customer care associate at 800 835 5943 to explore how you can use the flavor wheel in your store.

Registration is open for Coffee College 2016

1/5/16 UPDATE: The January and February classes are full and closed to new participants.

The most profitable coffee businesses are those that are known for expertly crafting espresso-based drinks. Stockton Graham & Co. offers a one-day course on Coffee & Espresso Basics, commonly called Coffee College, to provide you and your staff the knowledge and expertise necessary to differentiate your coffee business.Coffee College 2016 from Stockton Graham & Co.

The first course in 2016 will be held on Friday, January 15 at our Raleigh facility at 4320 Delta Lake Drive. Led by our roastmaster Brandon Riggs and our lead barista Alex Jeans, Coffee College is usually scheduled for the third Friday of every month. The first quarter 2016 Coffee College schedule looks like this:

January Friday, January 15
February Friday, February 19
March Friday, March 18

According to Mintel, more than 35% of all coffee beverages sold in America are lattes, and 27% are coffee frappes. An additional 20% of all coffee beverages sold are espresso drinks like cappuccino, café Americano, espresso and macchiato. That’s why formal coffee and espresso training is paramount to a successful coffeCoffee Collegee business.

Is Coffee College for me?

Coffee College was created for business owners and their staff who are newly involved in coffee or who have not participated in any other formal coffee training. It is held at our Raleigh coffee roasting facility at 4320 Delta Lake Drive. During the training, you will learn about the path of coffee from seed to cup, basic processing and decaffeination techniques, coffee flavors and taste characteristics and how to comfortably talk about coffee.

How many people participate in each class?

Class sizes are small (2-5 people) to allow for an individualized experience. There is plenty of time to ask questions and delve deeper into areas that interest you most. We also keep the classes small so that everyone has an opportunity to participate fully in the hands-on portions of the training that include coffee cupping and drink preparation.

Will I learn about espresso?

A full afternoon is dedicated to this important coffee beverage. You will not only learn the history of espresso, but also participate in hands-on training at our commercial espresso machine. You will learn how to grind coffee for espresso, pull a shot and steam milk to make espresso-based beverages.Barista Certification Training at Stockton Graham & Co.

Will I learn how to properly steam milk?

Once you learn how to pull a perfect shot of espresso, the next logical step is learning the proper way to texturize milk. A layer of rich, creamy milk is pleasing to the palette and allows your shop to demonstrate an elevated level of espresso sophistication. You’ll have access to our Nuova Simonelli semi-automatic espresso machine for your hands-on training.

Do I learn how to make different kind of drinks?

We can teach you how to make all drinks on the barista’s menu such as espresso, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, ristretto, café au lait, café mocha, frappes, etc. Our customer-oriented approach is relaxed, and we will help you with anything or any hot or cold beverages that you wish.

Can my entire team participate?

For teams of more than five (5) people, we may consider holding the course at your store’s location so we can train on your machines. Our instructors have experience on a wide range of automatic, semi-automatic and manual espresso and drip coffee equipment.

How much is the course?

Please contact your sales associate or our Customer Care Associates at 800 835 5943 for costs and to reserve your space.