There are 65 different types of coffee and over 10,000 varietals; the possibilities of different coffees are endless. However, the two primary types of coffee that are used in many coffee shops are Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica coffee beans are believed to be the first species of coffee to evolve, and are also one of the finest quality of coffee beans. They are grown predominantly in Latin America, but Columbia only makes Arabica beans, which tends to be a little bit pricier. Arabica coffee beans need a lot of moisture, rich soil, shade and sun. Arabica beans are harder to grow and take a lot of time and effort with each tree because they are vulnerable to pests and weather conditions, which means that the production of Arabica beans is very meticulous and the beans are well-taken care of in the process.
Arabica tends to have a sweeter, softer taste, with different types of sugars, fruits, and berries. They tend to have a little bit of a winey taste, and Americans usually prefer Arabica coffee beans over Robusta beans. You can find Arabica coffee beans in supermarkets, but that does not necessarily mean that they are of high quality.
Robusta beans are quite different in taste, size, where they are grown, and price. Robusta has a stronger, harsher taste, and has twice as much caffeine as Arabica. Although these beans are not as good of quality as Arabica coffee beans, some robustas are of high quality and valued (especially in espressos) for their deep flavor and good crema.
Robsta beans are easier to grow and are less vulnerable to pests and weather conditions. Robusta beans are grown exclusively in the Eastern Hemisphere, primarily in Africa and Indonesia. Most supermarkets sell only Robusta, and cheap ground coffees are typically Robusta.
Some Arabica blends are too high and fruity, and Robusta’s harshness can be a good or bad thing in a blend; it all comes down to your personal taste preference!