100% Arabica, what it means


To understand what Arabica is, you first need to understand the key differences between the two main types of coffee, Arabica and Robusta.

There are dozens of species of coffee, of which roughly 124 have been identified. The two that dominate commercial production and retailers are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora (commonly referred to as robusta).

Arabica accounts for about 70% of the world's coffee production and is generally considered to have a better taste. Of course, the exact taste of coffee depends greatly on its origin, processing, method and many other factors. There is no general description of the taste profile of Arabica, depending on the variables. The flavor profile can be chocolatey, spicy, floral, caramel, sour, dry, juicy, fruity, etc.

Robusta evolved about 100,000 years ago, while Arabica is only about 10,000 years old. Therefore, Robusta has had more time to evolve and has become much more adaptable in that time. Robusta can grow in more diverse climates and is naturally more resistant to pests and diseases.

Robusta coffee beans are naturally higher in caffeine and lower in sugar. In general, Robusta is cheaper and easier to grow, often used in lower quality blends or in instant coffee. It is characterised by a hard and more bitter taste. Robusta is considered to be of much lower quality than Arabica. However, it is debatable how much of this quality problem is due to genetics and how much is due to the fact that Robusta generally does not adhere to the same quality standards as Arabica.

However, some farmers believe that if the same amount of research and resources were invested in growing Robusta as in growing Arabica, perhaps it could improve and emerge on the choice coffee scene. In Brazil, for example, there is already a new selective Robusta scene. Some farmers are also experimenting with Arabica-Robusta hybrids to improve the hardiness and yield of their crops.


Coffee labeled as 100% Arabica must not contain any Robusta coffee. Most brands use this label to indicate that their coffee is high quality.

In the past, some roasters have added Robusta to their blends to increase their volume and also reduce costs while increasing their profits. This meant that roasters who did not add Robusta to their blends had to differentiate themselves and sell their coffee labelled as 100% Arabica, which people then thought meant quality.

However, the 100% Arabica label on coffee should not be interpreted as a sign of quality. It is just a statement of what is underneath the packaging. It simply means that you don't have to worry about finding Robusta inside.

The definition of what constitutes a quality cup of coffee for each of us - and what we expect from drinking coffee - should also be considered. Maybe you're looking for a very specific coffee that has a certain taste. Robusta, for example, might be a much better fit than Arabica. A blend of Arabica and Robusta,for example , is more suited tocoffee prepared in a true Turkish style.

If you want a really good quality coffee, look at the cupping scores. Cupping is a type of coffee tasting where the coffee is tasted and given a score, similar to wine tasting. A coffeewith a score of 80 or higher is considered a choice coffee, while commodity coffee (used for supermarket blends and instant) generally has a score between 65 and 75.

The quality of coffee is influenced by a number of different factors - its origin, the way it is processed, the altitude at which it was grown, etc. Most modern specialty coffee labels will share details of the coffee's background rather than claiming that the coffee is "100% Arabica". This information not only gives consumers more details about their coffee, but often reassures them that the coffee is ethically produced with respect for the farmer and the environment.

Today,the packaging of select coffees is full of traceability information such as the name of the farm, exact location, name of the owner, specific botanical variety, year of harvest, etc.


If you want high quality coffee, you shouldn't just look for the 100% Arabica label. Instead ,visit a local roastery or café that offers a selection of coffee and purchase your coffee there. You can also ask the barista or roaster what kind of coffee it is and he will be happy to advise you. Some supermarkets also offer a selection of coffees, but we recommend the former. Make coffee shopping a ritual.

The vast majority of choice coffee is Arabica, but that doesn't mean Arabica is the only option. However, the consumer of choice coffee is curious. Many of them, if given the opportunity by a roaster, would like to expand their coffee experience by tasting other types of coffee beyond Arabica.


The conclusion is simple: the phrase"100% Arabica" does not guarantee a certain level of quality. In fact, choice coffees will generally not have the phrase anywhere on the packaging, but a nice breakdown of everything that can be said about it.

The 100% Arabica label is only there to inform you of the contents. If you're looking for a quality cup of coffee, visit your local coffee roaster or cafe with a selection and ask for advice. This will help you deepen your knowledge of choice coffee and appreciate all the work that goes into making it.