Is there high quality Robusta?

Answered by Robert Golston

Is there high quality Robusta? This is a question that has been debated among enthusiasts and professionals for years. Many people believe that Robusta is an inferior bean, only suitable for cheap, low-quality coffee. However, this perception is not entirely accurate.

It is true that Robusta beans generally have a higher caffeine content and a more taste compared to Arabica beans. This is because Robusta plants are hardier and can grow in lower altitudes, resulting in a bean that is less complex in flavor. However, this doesn't mean that all Robusta beans are of low quality.

In fact, there are some regions, such as India, that are capable of producing high quality Robusta beans. These beans are often referred to as “Espresso Grade Robusta” due to their suitability for use in espresso blends. They are carefully cultivated and processed to ensure the best possible flavor and aroma.

One reason why high quality Robusta is difficult to source is because it requires specialized knowledge and expertise in cultivation and processing. The conditions in which Robusta beans thrive are different from those of Arabica beans, so farmers need to have a deep understanding of the plant's needs in order to produce a top-notch product.

Another reason for the scarcity of high quality Robusta is the perception that it is an inferior bean. Many roasters and consumers have a bias towards Arabica and overlook the potential of Robusta. This can lead to a lack of demand for high quality Robusta beans, making them less profitable for farmers to produce.

However, there are some roasters and coffee professionals who recognize the potential of Robusta and actively seek out high quality beans. These roasters understand that Robusta can contribute to the complexity and body of a coffee blend, and when used in the right proportion, can enhance the overall flavor profile.

I personally have had the opportunity to taste and work with high quality Robusta beans from India, and I can attest to their potential. When properly roasted and brewed, these beans can contribute a unique earthy and nutty flavor to an espresso blend, adding depth and richness to the cup.

It is important to note that not all Robusta beans are created equal, and there are still many low quality Robusta beans on the market. However, it is unfair to dismiss all Robusta beans as being of low quality. With the right sourcing and expertise, high quality Robusta can be found and appreciated for its unique characteristics.

Yes, there is high quality Robusta. While it may be more difficult to find and source compared to Arabica beans, there are origins, such as India, that can produce Espresso Grade Robusta. It is important for roasters and consumers to be open-minded and willing to explore the potential of Robusta, as it can contribute to the complexity and flavor of a coffee blend when used appropriately.