Robusta Coffee represents roughly 30% of the worldwide production of coffee and is used mainly for instant coffees, espresso blends or as a filler for other various blends.
But what makes the Robusta Coffee different than the main worldwide expanded coffee, the Arabica?
The plants -that usually go up to 6 meters tall- take about 10 to 11 months to produce ripe cherries. They can commonly be found in Western and Central Africa, but are nowadays mostly produced in Vietnam due to the colonial history of the country.
Robusta coffee beans are characterised by their low acidity and high bitterness that is due to the high concentration in caffeine and lower in sugar compared to other types of coffee and, compared to Arabica, Robusta is easier to produce due to the plant’s important resistance to disease and its resistance (the plant can grow at altitudes even lower than 700 m.
As for the kinds of Robusta coffee beans that we can find, the main ones are as follow:
Obtained through the wet method, the Washed Robusta require a very important amount of water and a flawless system maintenance.
In this process, the cherries are set in large tanks full of water, where they are washed of all impurities and the ripe ones are separated from the others.
From there, the fermentation starts until the last residues of mucilage are taken off.
Once this phase of the process is over, the beans are dried and cleaned before being sorted by size. This process produces beans with a high quality and a mellow fragrance when roasted, as well as a uniform appearance making them the ideal product for espresso and common Italian blends.
Interestingly, while the Arabica beans that go through this process show a green-like colour, Robusta beans show more hints of yellow. This kind of coffee is mostly found in Indonesia, India an New Guinea.
This process is also known as the “dry” process, it’s the most ancient one and is used in all countries that produce the beans.
It consists in letting the cherries dry in the sun, then beating them in a special hulling and aspiration machine that will clear then of their casings and membranes.
This type of Robusta is mainly grown in Africa, as pointed out previously, in Brazil and South east Asia. Although they all present similarities, they also have very distinctive tastes and fragrances according to the regions where they are produced.
The third method consists in using a little amount of water that is going to be used in containers where the cherries are placed. Once those are moistened, the containers are then rotated, allowing the beans to rub against each other and clean their surface by removing the residues.
This process makes the final product very creamy and dense, devoid of acidity, making it perfect to be used in blends sharing those same characteristics.