There are over 100 coffee plant species, however the two main ones that are widely produced and sold are: Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta.
A few differences between the two species:
Often Robusta has its taste described as burnt tires or rubbery, which… sounds disgusting. Why the bad taste?
One reason that the taste isn’t as good for Robusta is that it has more caffeine compared to Arabica. Which may sound like a positive thing but caffeine carries a bitter taste which makes it an unpleasant drink. In fact the Robusta bean has approximately 2.7% caffeine content, almost double the 1.5% of Arabica.
Lipid & Sugar content:
Arabica contains almost 60% more lipids and almost twice the concentration of sugar than Robusta. This factor also probably has a big impact on why we prefer the taste of Arabica. One thing to note is despite the association with Arabica of being higher quality, and Robusta as being lower quality, it’s not always the case. Top notch specialty Robusta coffee will usually taste as good as or better than low end Arabica.
Grown at lower altitude
Regarded as lower grade bean
Twice the caffeine content
More resistant to disease
Grown at higher altitude
Regarded as a higher quality
Half the caffeine content
Less resistant to disease