Arabica vs Robusta coffee – what’s the difference

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Arabica vs Robusta coffee – what’s the difference

The definitive guide

There are two main types of coffee beans that are grown across the world: Arabica and Robusta. These beans account for 95% of the world’s coffee production. The Arabica vs Robusta coffee debate is widely argued, but what exactly is the difference between them? Read this definitive guide to learn more about these deliciously distinctive coffees.


Arabica coffee

What is Arabica coffee?

Arabica is coffee that comes from the beans of the Coffea Arabica plant. Arabica coffee originates from Ethiopia and is the most widely consumed type of coffee in the world making up some 60% of the world’s coffee production.

Why is it called Arabica coffee?

The name Arabica or Coffea Arabica is thought to have originated when coffee travelled from Ethiopia to Arabia in the 7th Century.

Where is Arabica coffee grown?

Arabica coffee plants prefer tropical climates close to the equator. This is why some of the best Arabica coffee is grown in countries such as Ethiopia, India Guatemala, Colombia and Brazil - the largest producer of Arabica coffee in the world. Arabica coffee grows well at high altitudes which is why it is often cultivated on hillsides.

Robusta coffee

What is Robusta coffee?

Robusta coffee is made from the beans of the Coffea canephora plant. Coffea canephora is responsible for between 30% and 40% of the world’s coffee production.

Why is it called Robusta coffee?

Robusta gets its name from its hardy nature. It is able to grow in lower altitudes and diverse climates around the world making it a more resilient and ‘robust’ species of coffee. Robusta coffee plants are also relatively resistant to pests, insects and harsh weather conditions.

Where is Robusta coffee grown

Robusta’s main growing regions are Africa, Indonesia and India.

What’s the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee?


Arabica beans vary in taste depending on the region, Arabica can be sweet to taste with fruity notes but can also have cereal or nutty flavours. They tend to have a higher acidity than Robusta beans which gives them a winey tone. In contrast, Robusta beans can be deep in flavour with a more distinct woody and nutty taste.


Arabica plants grow between 2.5 and 4.5 metres high and Arabica beans are oval in shape. Robusta plants can grow up to 6 metres high and the beans have a more circular appearance.

Which tastes better Arabica and Robusta coffee?

Arabica and Robusta have two completely different, but equally delicious, tasting profiles. Arabica’s light and fruity tones make it absolutely delicious in milky drinks while Robusta’s intense and rich qualities and smooth crema work beautifully in espresso. Each coffee type has its own exciting flavours and notes, but neither one tastes ‘better’ than the other.

Nespresso Arabica

Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio - This is an intense, pure Arabica blend structured on the back of a Costa Rican coffee. By nature a coffee of malted notes, this Costa Rican turns cocoa-like in reaction to deep roasting, a characteristic that ultimately defines the blend. It has a remarkable creamy, velvety texture, the result of a very finely calibrated grind and dosage.

Barista Creations Scuro - Designed specially to go with milk, of all the origins we tried from around the world, we selected some of the finest Colombian and Ethiopian Arabicas for Scuro. The aromatic potential of these two coffees is punchy and promises a harmonious composition of tastes that achieves precise balance when you add milk.

Cosi - This is a blend of Kenyan and South American Arabicas that are lightly roasted to create a delicate and balanced marriage of toasted cereal and fruity notes.

Arabica Robusta blends – when two delicious worlds collide

Envivo Lungo - Envivo Lungo is a blend of a distinctive Arabica from India with a Robusta from Mexico.

India - Master Origin India with Robusta Monsoon gets its intense, woody, spicy aromatics from the monsooned Robusta blended with Indian Arabica.

Capriccio - Capriccio is an espresso with a balanced bouquet, light acidity and a very characteristic cereal note. It is composed of Arabicas from South America including Brazil, in ideal proportions, and a touch of lightly roasted Robusta.

Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar - A daring blend including Robustas from Brazil and Guatemala, specially prepared for Nespresso, and a separately roasted Arabica from South America.

Ispirazione Roma - Central and South American Arabicas are combined with Robusta. Roma is the ideal coffee for those looking for an Espresso that is both short and smooth.

Robusta blends

Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano - combines the best East African and South American Arabicas. This blend contains the great, lightly acidic Kenyan Arabicas and a touch of Robusta for added zing.

Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano Decaffeinato - is powerful and contrasting with a hint of fruit. A selection of the best Kenyan and South American Arabicas are sophisticatedly blended with a touch of Robusta.

Try for yourself

Taste the difference of Nespresso’s sustainably sourced Arabica and Robusta coffee, hand-picked from the best coffee regions in the world.

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