Robusta coffee is widely considered inferior to Arabica coffee. A lot of this is based on the historical comparisons. Unfortunately, comparing the two coffee species is like comparing the two fruit species of apples and oranges. The way that each coffee is processed and roasted should be considerably different.
As the global market for coffee began developing in the 19th century Arabica quickly became the frontrunner in the specialty market. This was partially due to geopolitical conditions but also partially due to market considerations. As research for coffee quality improvement was first administered amongst Arabica the findings were also applied to the processing of Robusta coffees. The characteristics of the bean development are significantly different. To apply the same standards to both species led to the development of the flavor profile of Arabica while stunting the possibilities of Robusta. Much of Robusta’s poor market reputation can be corrected through proper cultivation and processing.
One of the most significant differences between Robusta and Arabica species is in regard to the way they pollinate. Arabica is self-pollinating whereas Robusta is cross-pollinating. That means the Robusta bean’s flavor profile can change based on the immediate environment. There are few growers around the world that have been willing to defy market demands and full throttle their foray into the fine Robusta market. Some of those who have been willing to pioneer the trail are beginning to change the global perspective of Robusta. They are also kickstarting research as it is widely known that coffee is one of the greatest crops to promote community development and improve the living conditions for large population segments.
To learn more about fine Robusta standards and procedures please check out the Fine Robusta website where you will find some great information and resources!