Next to Arabica coffee, Robusta coffee is the second most popular variety of coffee beans. Also known as Coffea Canephora, this variety is believed to have originated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Robusta coffee accounts for about 15% of the world’s coffee consumption and is known for its robust flavor. Nonetheless, it is still considered inferior to Arabica coffee by cupping aficionados.
Robusta trees are grown in countries such as Brazil, Kenya, and Vietnam at lower altitudes and at temperatures of 75 – 86°F. Although Robusta trees require more rainfall than Arabica trees, they require less care and attention. They grow best at altitudes of 0–2,300ft above sea level and are resistant to most pests and diseases. They flower irregularly and take about 11 months for their cherries to ripen and produce flat shaped beans. Robusta trees are also cheaper to cultivate; they do not require many cycles of pesticides or herbicides, and they produce higher yields.
Robusta coffee is known for its strong, earthy flavor and its acidity. These coffee beans contain more acid and caffeine content than any Arabica. They are used as caffeine boosters as well as fillers to improve the taste of flat or weak tasting coffee. When Robusta coffee is sorted and processed with the same amount of care given to Arabica coffee, it can attain better refinement to yield a milder flavor than usual.