Why Coffee Drinkers Hate Robusta Beans

To inexperienced imbibers, all coffee can kinda taste the same, just as a novice might not be able to distinguish a $9 cabernet from a $100 bottle of pinot noir. However, consummate coffee consumers know the quality of the brew can vary drastically based on the bean. And, just as Paul Giamatti’s character in Sideways proclaimed “If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving—I’m not drinking any f***** merlot!” coffee snobs wouldn’t be caught dead drinking robusta beans.

The Flavor:

Robusta beans are produced from the Coffea canephora plant and are notoriously low in acidity, but very high in their bitterness. You’ve most likely encountered robusta beans at some point in your life, as they are normally used to make the pre-ground garbage that comes in some big-name brand cans. While robusta beans have almost double the amount of caffeine that the higher-quality Arabica beans would have, the strong, bitter flavor produced by the high pyrazine content can certainly detract from these benefits. Though, some drinkers don’t mind the beans’ strong-bodied and earthy tones.

Cheap and Enduring:

These beans are a lot easier to care for than arabica beans and have a greater crop yield, which makes them cheaper to produce. They are also more resistant to diseases than arabica beans; for example, in 1880, the island of Java suffered when it lost a majority of its arabica-producing trees from a coffee leaf rust disease. Robusta plants were grown in their place, and while they were more enduring, Indonesia’s overall coffee quality was reduced.

Can You Have Good Robusta?

While most consumers reject and detest its bitterness, good robusta beans are occasionally used in Italian espresso drinks, which can provide a full-bodied tone to the beverage and a better crema — the frothy, foamy head on top of the coffee. Robusta beans are full of antioxidants too, so while they may not always have the same, satisfying flavor that arabica beans do, they are still as healthy as arabica coffee.

At Keys Coffee, though, you’ll only experience the best of what coffee has to offer — which means, we grind our coffees with 100%, high-quality arabica beans to ensure that you have the most satisfying coffee-drinking experience. Try out any of our flavors and varieties when you visit us next.