Robusta coffee, known scientifically ascoffea canephora, has historically been relegated as the world’s inferior and cheap option in contrast to arabica coffee. Well, we’re here to tell you that robusta coffee is NOT cheap– it has just been rendered as such from industry gatekeepers and those looking to maximize profits while minimizing production costs. Those who say that robusta coffee is cheap are both inaccurate and misleading.
Why is robusta coffee cheaper than arabica coffee?
Robusta coffee grows in a variety of climates and altitudes. Additionally, robusta coffee beans are hardier than arabica coffee due to their naturally high caffeine content which makes them more pest resistant. Consequently, robusta coffee is easier to grow and produce.
Due to its ease of cultivation, robusta coffee has been produced en masse by large coffee companies to meet demands for coffee globally. Robusta coffee often ends up in instant coffee, espresso blends, and other readily available commercial coffee products.
With the global supply chain of coffee relying on robusta coffee to meet demands, farmers often do not have opportunity or incentive to produce high quality, specialty robusta coffee. As such, farmers are also often stuck producing low quality coffee while selling their beans for consistently low prices determined by the market.
When farmers have opportunities to grow specialty robusta coffee, they can sell them for higher prices than the beans produced for the mass market. Ultimately, robusta coffee is not cheaper than arabica coffee because it is an inherently inferior product, but rather because it has been pigeonholed to be a mass commodity that keeps both the quality and price low while depriving producers of equitable opportunities within the global supply chain.
Is robusta coffee good?
Many industry gatekeepers describe robusta coffee as an inferior species of coffee, completely generalizing an entire category of coffee and rendering the work of its producers as lesser. Much like any product, there is possibility for both the good and bad.
Robusta coffee has received a reputation for being filler when this is not necessarily the case, especially as robusta coffee production increases in the face of climate change.
Like its cousin arabica, robusta coffee is delicious when it is produced with the same level of intention and care. When thinking about whether a coffee is good or bad, it’s important to consider the process and production behind it as opposed to the face value of its species and name. Robusta coffee is prized in places like Vietnam for its chocolatey and nutty flavor notes. For those who enjoy bold and strong coffee, robusta coffee is not only good, but it’s also among the best choices.
Where can I buy robusta coffee beans?
These days, robusta coffee can be sourced from a variety of roasters and companies. As the stigma behind robusta coffee changes and investment into specialty robusta coffee is made, more options become available for consumers and farmers. Robusta coffee is not by default cheap, and we are on a mission to debunk this myth and give rise to robusta as the next big movement in coffee culture.
As the first importer and roaster of specialty Vietnamese robusta coffee beans, Nguyen Coffee Supply is the premier source for high quality robusta coffee beans in the United States. You can purchase our premium robusta coffee beans directly on our website or at a local store near you. We roast our coffee fresh weekly!