Robusta coffee, also known as Coffea canephora or Coffea robusta, is a variety of coffee plant, with its origins in central and western sub-Saharan Africa. It is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. Though widely known as Coffea robusta, the plant is scientifically identified as Coffea canephora, which has two main varieties – Robusta and Nganda.
About 30% of the entire world coffee production is Robusta. Robusta coffee is considered of a lower quality than the Arabica because of the strong specific taste. Good quality Robustas though, are sometimes more expensive than Arabica, and are used in gourmet coffee blends, such as espresso.
Robustas contain more caffeine than arabicas, around 2.7 compared to 1.5. The main attraction from a coffee roaster’s perspective, is the capacity to produce a lot of crema when pulled into an espresso. We can find good quality robustas in many espresso blends, in a 10 to 20 percent ratio with arabica.
Many farmers are attracted to the greater yield of robusta, and the resistance to pests, however, there is not enough demand for it, because of its strong bitterness.