Robusta coffee - experience with


#1

I guess anyone who is active on this forum will be aware that the general consensus in the coffee industry is: Arabica is (in taste) superior than Robusta, some probably would add ‘Generally’ to that line.
The latter (‘generally’) applies to badly grown or harvested (e.g. not by hand) Arabica vs well grown/harvested Robusta, in which case the Robusta will be better in flabour than Arabica.

At least…that’s what I’m told. The funny thing is its nigh impossible to find any 100% robusta coffee (at least here in the Netherlands) and any self-respecting coffee trader that sells green beans doesn’t sell robusta (at least not to consumer). Hence, two questions:

  1. does anyone here have experience with (100%) robusta coffee?
  2. does anyone know where you can buy Robusta (ideally green and ideally in the NL).
    Cause in the end I love to experiment with things, foods especially and although I love to learn by reading, I far more appreciate learning by experiencing. In short: I’m curious.

#2

Sorry, I don’t know a source!


#3

You should be able to buy it from a distributor, but hard to say if they will sell less than a 60kg bag :smiley: (but you may try to get some samples that should give you at least a view into the robusta world)

I have quite a few 60g robusta samples, but did not have the time to give them a try, but I remember I have tasted a 100% robusta once, and it was not pleasant at all. On the other hand I had one blend with robusta inside that was quite interesting and nice in taste, but still the robusta has a very special flavor that I dont really like, so it was present even in the one blend I liked, on a level that I could tolerate …


#4

thanks for sharing! And asking for a sample is a good one, hadn’t thought of that. I’ll give it a whirl.


#5

I would say go to some big tradeshow (Amsterdam?) register as a roaster, get a large bag and you will be able to collect nice amount of samples. I have been talking with one distributor that asked if I am interested in robusta (I only asked about arabica) - I said I am not, I only focus on roasting arabica,but if he does have some robusta that he thinks I should try that I might be impressed with I will give it a try :slight_smile: (and he almost filled my bag with robusta samples :smiley: lol … I though he will give me one maybe two … but he looked like he wants to sell a ton of robusta :smiley: … not sure how good is it, but he was picking some from many many samples he had there, so it might actually be interesting)


#6

On its own it has the distinctive flavour profile of liquorice and burnt rubber, but I’ve found that adding 2-5% when doing a blend adds a bit of body. YMMV.


#7

both many thanks for the input. I was about to order at ravecoffee when I thought ill try another google search and I found some in the NL and finally found one. Coffee is on its way, curious what it will be like (its cheap, that’s for sure). Burned rubber eh…can’t wait :thinking:


#8

well…this weekend the robusta (from indonesia) came in and it turned out that ‘burned rubber’ was a far more accurate descriptor than I’d hoped for. The taste was literally nauseating (I was nauseated for half an hour after taking a few sips!). Still it quenched my curiosity. And true it does have ‘body’ its a fairly full taste (alas for a large part on the wrong part of the spectrum).

I find it surprising though as I’ve drank ‘Douwe Egberts’ (the Dutch coffee brand) regularly for 15 years or so and I (now) know its blended with robusta, but I’ve never noticed that taste. Granted this was also 15 years ago, but I’ve drank that coffee probably in the passed year at least once and well that tastes like a regular (rather bland) drip filter coffee.

Concerning the roasting, that was a bit of a surprise. I roasted them with one of my medium/dark roast profiles (11:30 roast time), but the Robusta came out close to a light roast, it reacts completely different than the Arabica beans I’ve roasted so far. Anyone got a clue about this?
If I were to guess I would say higher density and fluid content.


#9

haha yeah, it’s unnerving how bad robusta can taste! There are different qualities of robusta, just as there is with arabica, but generally burnt rubber is consistent with most from what I understand.

It may have been underripe (like a quaker) and therefore didn’t roast as well. I believe the more ripe a coffee cherry gets the more sugars and amino acids it has which allows it to go through the reactions in roasting that we like so much. Just a thought


#10

@Geoff_IKAWA

good point concerning the roasting…in which case it would also be pointless to roast it any longer, I’ll check this in the future.