It’s nearly spring, and here in the Eastern U.S., that means switching up your...
It’s the age old battle of the caffeine freak – what’s the better bean, the classier, subtle, harder to grow Arabica, or the hardy, beefy, robust Robusta bean?
The answer, generally, is considered to be Arabica, the same way that famous film connoisseur of fine wine, Miles from Sideways, will steer clear of a Merlot in favor of a Chateau Cheval Blanc. But here’s the thing – the Chateua Cheval Blanc that Miles so adores is actually a blend of Merlot and another wine he slams in the movie – Cabernet Franc.
And that’s what makes the Arabica vs Robusta question so hard to really conclusively answer – some of the best coffee around has a little of each.
Arabica is grown high up in the mountains, and it requires a lot of tender loving care to keep it happy. That, of course, makes it more expensive to grow, and thus drink. To keep prices down, your friendly neighborhood corporate coffeehouse will add the cheaper, hardier, easier to grow, Robusta beans to their blend, kind of the same way a cocaine dealer might throw a little baking soda into his stash to bring about a better profit. You’ll still get a buzz, but it won’t quite be as pure as it might have been, if you know what I mean (and no, you should never use cocaine, but you see the point I’m trying to make here).
Ultimately, unless you’re , you probably don’t need to know much about Arabica and Robusta, other than to know they exist. The Arabica, with twice as many chromosomes as the Robusta, has great complexity to it, which makes it a great home choice, but the Robusta is really the bean that has made low-cost coffee drinking possible. If you can take its slightly more bitter taste (and many prefer it), it’s a great inexpensive option.