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Caffè Arabica e Robusta, caratteristiche e differenze tra le due varietà

Arabica and Robusta coffee, characteristics and differences between the two varieties

As is the case with many plants that do not grow in our latitudes, the one from which coffee is obtained is not a crop about which everyone is trained.

In fact, even the most loyal consumers and lovers of this beverage are not necessarily familiar with its appearance and characteristics in detail, much less the differences between one species and another.

Today we will delve into this very aspect, talking about the two most popular coffee varieties, Arabica and Robusta, and then also discover how many types of green coffee exist.

Growing Arabica and Robusta

These species have some characteristics that differentiate them in cultivation: first, they require very different growing environments.

Although both are not adapted to cold climates, the coffee plant Arabica is less hardy and needs special attention; it is susceptible to attack by pests and fungi, and suffers from climatic stress, high humidity and high temperature.

The ideal climate for its cultivation is high altitude, between 1,000 and 2,500 meters.

Robusta, on the other hand, tenacious and adaptable, grows luxuriantly between 200 and 800 meters, due to its resistance to high temperatures, humidity and insect attacks.

Arabica and Robusta coffee: what are the main differences?

Let's start with the appearance of the bean: that of the Arabica is elongated in shape, with a sinuous groove in the center; the color is a more or less intense green, with slightly blue hues.

The Robusta, on the other hand, has rounder beans, with a straight groove, and is pale green with shades ranging from brown to grayish, depending on the origin of the coffee.

Among the most significant differences, moreover, is the annual yield, which, in the case of Robusta, is significantly higher than Arabica (4,000 kg per hectare versus 1,500-3,000 kg).

Finally, the caffeine content is lower in Arabica, and it is from this variety that coffees such as single-origin Mexico Filicori Zecchini are made.

Arabica and Robusta: the characteristics of the beverage

The characteristics of a coffee depend not only on the species, but also on factors such as processing, quality, geographical origin, and roasting.

However, tracing a flavor profile of Arabica and Robusta, appreciable differences emerge.

The former, in fact, is very fragrant, sweet, slightly acidic, with a light hazelnut-colored cream.

The second, on the other hand, has a more pronounced bitter note: the coffee is less complex and more structured, with a brown-colored cream.

Green coffee: how many types are there?

So far we have dealt with the differences between the two species Arabica and Robusta, but the types of coffee also vary according to the methods of processing the drupes.

Let's see what they are.

Washed Arabica indicates a wet-prepared green coffee. The aromas are fruity and floral, related to the taste of acid.

The color is green/blue.

Natural Arabica is a coffee prepared by natural method: the drupes are dried in the sun, before the bean is extracted.

The fruity notes are more muted, compared to the previous type, and the aroma in the cup is dense, persistent, with hints of honey and spices.

● The processing of thesemi-washed Arabica allows drying without fermentation of the cherries: the coffee results uniform in roast, full-bodied and sweet in the cup.

washed Robusta is also wet-prepared.

It is yellow/green in color, soft in the cup and suitable for blending for espresso coffee.

Natural Robusta does not require elaborate processing methods and is therefore typical of countries with low economic capacity.

Cultivated in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Vietnam, this type has great body, but depending on the place of origin it has differences in the beverage's scents.

● To obtain Robusta depelliculated beans are placed in a container with water that, once closed, is rotated on itself.

This causes a rubbing that cleans the surface of the coffee, removing the silvery film and any other residue.

This processing does not cause any aromatic evidence, but tends to make the bean more neutral and clean and is therefore ideal for a blend that enhances its creaminess.

Monsonato is a very special Indian coffee, born almost by accident at the time when cargo ships took several months to arrive in Europe from Asia.

During the voyage, the coffee was kept in the holds and aired out to prevent it from getting moldy. The moisture-filled air, saltiness, and ocean breeze changed its taste and color.

When the Suez Canal was opened, however, and ships began to be steam-powered, the result was coffee that tasted very different: so the idea was to replicate that effect on land by reproducing the conditions of sea transport.

Today in India, during the rainy season, the process is replicated in the factories: the dried beans are arranged in six-inch layers inside structures open at the sides, protected by a canopy, to absorb moisture from the environment.

The coffee is then placed in jute bags, stored stacked and still exposed to the salty air. The flavoring process lasts three to four months, during which time the acidity subsides, the beans take on a straw color and typical flavor depending on origin.

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