How to distinguish Robusta coffee and Arabica coffee

In the world, Arabica and Robusta are the two most commonly grown coffee varieties. With different growing conditions and characteristics, the taste of Robusta coffee is also different from Arabica coffee. Consumers perceive that Robusta is stronger, and Arabica is more fragrant. But people in the profession have a much more specific and scientific way to distinguish Robusta coffee and Arabica coffee.

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1. About the taste

Arabica coffee

Arabica coffee beans (called tea coffee in Vietnam) have a sour taste, a bitter aftertaste and a seductive scent after being prepared. This type of coffee is popular in Europe and is used to process popular drinks such as: Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, etc.

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Robusta coffee

Robusta coffee beans (also known as Voi coffee) have a characteristic bitter taste and lighter aroma than Arabica coffee. It has a fairly low acidity and many consumers rate Robusta with a strong smell, a taste very similar to oatmeal.

2. Production area

Arabica coffee

The coffee variety originates from the southwestern of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Africa). Currently, this type of coffee is most commonly grown in Latin America, India, Central and East Africa and some parts of Indonesia. Brazil and Colombia currently hold up to 70% of total Arabica coffee bean exports in the world. And this variety of coffee is accounting for about 60% of the total world coffee production, with economic value second only to oil.

Robusta coffee

Robusta coffee was found in Congo - Belgium in 1800 (known after Arabica about 100 years). By 1900, this variety was brought into Southeast Asia to replace the Arabica variety that was completely destroyed by rust disease. Since then, Robusta has gradually become popular in the Lomani River, Canada, Java and then grown in many other countries in India, Ivory Coast, Guang, etc. including Vietnam.

Currently, Robusta accounts for about 40% of world coffee production.

In our country, this coffee variety is grown in Buon Ma Thuot; Lam Dong; Khe Sanh (Quang Tri); Dak Nong, etc.- areas with suitable soil. Vietnamese Robusta coffee accounts for 90% of the country’s total output. And Vietnam is currently the world’s largest exporter of Robusta.


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3. Outstanding features of Vietnamese Robusta coffee

Robusta coffee from Vietnam has trees in the form of shrubs. The trunk is about 4,5 - 6,5 meters high, and can be up to 10 meters.  The suitable growing temperature is about 18⁰ - 36⁰C, the rainfall is from 2200 - 3000 mm/year. This coffee variety easily adapts to a variety of environmental conditions, takes less care and has a higher yield. However, Robusta is drought tolerant and cold tolerant, the output is sometimes unstable.


Robusta coffee beans are slightly rounder and smaller than Arabica beans. In the middle of the coffee beans, there is usually a straight line. The caffeine content in Robusta coffee beans is very high, about 2,5%, but the sugar content is only half of Arabica. That is why Robusta is very powerful and keeps consumers awake.

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4. Outstanding features of Vietnamese Arabica coffee

Arabica coffee tree is a large shrub with a height of 2,5 - 4,5 meters. The suitable temperature for growth is from 15° -24°C and the rainfall is about 1200 - 2200 mm/year. This variety of coffee is quite “fastidious”, more susceptible to pests and diseases than Robusta. Annual temperature and rainfall must meet new standards for the harvest. Harvest time is about 4 - 5 years after planting, the yield is lower than that of Robusta.

Arabica coffee fruit has a characteristic oval shape. Each fruit can contain only one seed. The caffeine content in the seeds is about 1,5%. The fat content is more than 60% and the sugar content is almost twice that of Robusta. When roasted at the same temperature, Arabica beans are lighter in color and slightly smaller than Robusta.

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Coffee from Vietnam is currently ranked 2nd in the world with Arabica, Robusta, Moka, Culi, Cherry varieties. We hope the above information has helped you to know how to distinguish Robusta coffee and Arabica coffee - the 2 most commonly grown coffees in our country.

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