Robusta or Arabica, which one is stronger?


Africa is the cradle of the wild coffee tree, from which the two most common coffee varieties were bred. The Arabica coffee tree, from which Arabica originated, was discovered by a goat herder on the rocky mountains in the 14th century in Ethiopia. There, the coffee plant still grows wild in places. The Arabica coffee plant is very sensitive to climate, soil and altitude. It likes higher altitudes with lower but regular rainfall. It is very demanding to grow and cannot be harvested by machine due to the fragility of the cherries. Thus Arabica is much more expensive than Robusta. But it is guaranteed quality and refined taste.

The second variety, the hefty coffee tree, comes from the more humid environment of the Congo Basin. It was only described in the 18th century by Carl Linné. It is less demanding to grow, more resistant to pests and can withstand machine harvesting. It bears fruit after 2 or 3 years after planting, whereas Arabica only after 5 or 6 years.


First of all, they differ in their chemical and botanical composition, but the experienced coffee lover can recognize them by their taste at the first sip or glance at the bean. They differ in the number of chromosomes, the sugar content and the root system. We won't go into detail about these facts here, but will focus on why Robusta actually contains more caffeine. Due to the wetter environment, where Robusta otherwise thrives, the plant needs more protection against various parasites and pests. Caffeine and chlorogenic acid are very bitter substances. The alkaloid caffeine in the young plant or in the newly emerging leaf shoots actively prevents pest infestation. It acts as a natural pesticide because the bitter taste repels the pest.

Caffeine can also be found in the soil around Robusta plants, thus providing an even greater degree of defence and space for its growth at the expense of other plants. Closely related to the defence against pests is the higher content of the aforementioned chlorogenic acid bound to caffeine, which Robusta contains up to twice as much as Arabica. In coffee, it has similar effects on the taste and health of the coffee drinker as caffeine.

Arabica, on the other hand, growing at higher and drier altitudes, did not need to have such a well-developed defence against pests. Today it may lack it and often has to protect the plants with chemical pesticides.

Tip for gardeners.

The dreaded slugs that feast on vegetables are said to be protected by lye or boiled ground coffee. Next time try Robusta!


Caffeine has a completely different effect on humans than on coffee bush pests. It acts as an attention stimulant and a life-booster for fatigue, not to mention its health benefits.

So it's up to you whether you choose a more refined and delicate Arabicafor yourespresso that puts you in a good mood. Or a denser and more bitter Robusta, which will give you a real kick.

A good compromise and purchase choice are blends with different proportions of both varieties. Robusta can add the necessary bite to your espresso, which brings out the flavours of Arabica even better.

Or buy coffee from the Arabica variety, called Arabusta. This is an Arabica with the genetic pool of Robusta, which was discovered in East Timor during the 1920s.

This naturally occurring hybrid was resistant to Coffee Rust and growers have since bred several other varieties from this hybrid. These includeCatimors, Sarchimors. Today, there are efforts byWorld Coffee Research to breed another artificial hybrid between these two varieties and to transfer the characteristics that make Robusta more resistant to the new plant.