6 Benefits of Robusta Coffee

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For many coffee lovers, the word “robusta” conjures up negative perceptions of an inferior, lower-quality coffee. Robusta has traditionally played second fiddle to the more prized arabica bean, which dominates the high-end specialty coffee market. However, robusta coffee offers several underrated benefits that are earning it a second look. In this post, we’ll explore the potential health, sensory, and economic advantages of the robusta varietal. Looking beyond old stigmas, we’ll analyze its higher caffeine content, antioxidant levels, performance as espresso, affordability, disease resistance, and more. Read on to learn why robusta deserves consideration for providing a unique value proposition among coffee drinkers worldwide.

What Are The Benefits of Robusta Coffee?

Higher Caffeine Content

Caffeine in Robusta is double the caffeine found in Arabica, and this amount can boost energy and mood better. Providing a more energizing effect is one of the benefits of Robusta Coffee.

One of the robusta’s biggest differentiating qualities is its naturally higher caffeine content. Robusta typically contains around 1.5-2 times the amount of caffeine compared to arabica. A typical arabica bean has about 1.2% caffeine vs. 2.2% for robusta. A cup of arabica coffee may contain 80-140mg of caffeine vs. 140-200mg in robusta.

This makes robusta an excellent choice for those seeking a strong caffeine kick. The extra stimulation can boost focus, alertness, and stamina. However, caffeine-sensitive individuals should moderate their robusta intake. The bold, intense flavor profile of robusta also withstands the dilution of extra milk or sugar added to high-caffeine coffee drinks. So robusta can boost caffeine content without sacrificing flavor.

Increased Antioxidants

In addition to higher caffeine, robusta beans also contain more antioxidants. Light roasting helps preserve the natural concentration of chlorogenic acids, polyphenols, and melanoidins, which give robusta an exceptionally high antioxidant capacity. The ORAC score, a measure of antioxidant potency, ranges from 7,000-15,000 for robusta vs. 4,000-5,000 for arabica.

This significant antioxidant power helps neutralize cell and DNA-damaging free radicals. By protecting against oxidative stress, the antioxidants in robusta may lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions. The combination of caffeine plus antioxidants also promotes alertness and focus.

Better for Espresso

Espresso-based drinks need high caffeine; different types of espresso-based coffee drinks can get this caffeine from Robusta coffee beans. The strong flavor of Robusta can cut through the cream and sugar added to these drinks.

With its strong, dense composition and high extractable solids, robusta is actually preferred over arabica for making traditional espresso. Robusta’s higher caffeine content provides the intense jolt expected from espresso’s concentrated volume. The richness imparts thick crema for a smooth mouthfeel.

Robusta’s bold flavor profile of earthiness, woodiness, and spice complements the caramelization that occurs during espresso preparation. This enables it to create an intensely flavored, full-bodied shot ideal for balancing with steamed milk. Using a higher proportion of robusta or a dark roasted blend makes espresso less bitter and acidic. Many commercial espresso blends contain 15-30% robusta for optimal flavor and caffeine kick.

Higher Sugar Alcohols

In addition to bioactive compounds like caffeine and antioxidants, robusta contains more sugar alcohols such as mannitol and sorbitol. Though not traditionally considered a health benefit, some research suggests certain sugar alcohols can act as prebiotics. They support the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli in the gut microbiome.

This in turn helps reduce systemic inflammation, improve bowel regularity, and stabilize blood glucose levels. However, those with IBS may need to moderate intake as sugar alcohols can cause bloating and abdominal discomfort in sensitive individuals. The quantity found in a few cups of robusta coffee is unlikely to cause issues for most healthy adults.

Robusta Coffee

More Affordable Price

Another benefit of Robusta coffee is the financial benefit. Robusta coffee is less expensive than Arabica coffee, so it is more reasonable to buy for a vast amount of use.

One of the clearest advantages of choosing robusta is that it comes with a lower price tag. Robusta is generally 40-50% cheaper than arabica, thanks to higher crop yields, lower production costs, and less picky growing requirements. For consumers looking for everyday value for money, robusta coffee provides excellent quality at a budget-friendly rate.

Roasters can also blend some robusta into products to keep costs down. With rising inflation and a challenging macroeconomic environment, robusta offers an affordable way to keep enjoying your daily coffee ritual. This makes premium-tasting coffee accessible to a broader audience of regular drinkers.

Disease Resistance

Robusta plants are more resistant to disease and easier to grow. It means that a coffee variety is less susceptible to common coffee diseases and, therefore, is more likely to produce a healthy and successful crop.

According to ScienceDirect, compared to the delicate, fragile arabica plant, robusta coffee is far more hardy and disease-resistant. Robusta contains 32% more lipids and 179% higher amounts of sucrose esters, which help fortify cell membranes. This makes robusta beans less susceptible to damage from factors like wind, rainfall, frost, pests, and fungal infections.

As climate change exacerbates coffee diseases like coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease, robusta’s resilience offers genetic diversity. Breeding robusta with arabica can transfer tolerance to diseases and climate stresses that increasingly threaten susceptible bean varieties.

Higher Yields Per Tree

In addition to disease resistance, robusta coffee typically produces a higher yield per tree compared to arabica. Robusta trees produce significantly more cherries and beans per season. This results in 20-30% higher yields on average. Growers typically get about 2.5-3.5 kilos of roasted robusta beans per tree annually vs. just 1.5-2.5 kilos for arabica.

With a greater yield per tree, robusta helps maximize productivity for coffee farmers. It provides a higher return on investment for the land and resources used to produce the crop. The improved yield scalability makes robusta more commercially viable and cost-effective.

Less Susceptible to Pests

The robusta varietal holds up better than arabica, not just against diseases, but also against pests. Its hardy constitution makes it less affected by coffee berry borer beetle infestations. Research shows that the thick waxy cuticle and tighter cherry structure of robusta make it harder for beetle larvae to penetrate and damage the beans.

Robusta’s caffeine content also acts as a natural insecticide that makes the plant less appealing to insects. Leaf miners and nematodes similarly inflict less damage on robusta. Avoiding pest pressures helps growers improve crop quality and profitability. With pest control costs rising, robusta’s higher innate pest resistance provides economic advantages.

What is Robusta coffee?

Robusta coffee is one of the most popular coffee plants originating in Africa. The main reason for its popularity is its high caffeine and bitter flavor. Despite its stronger taste and higher caffeine content, Robusta is still widely consumed compared to Arabica. Robusta coffee needs low levation and high yield to grow.


While it has some disadvantages like harsher flavor, robusta coffee varietals offer worthwhile benefits that merit consideration for flavor diversity, health effects, cost savings, and sustainable production. Moderating the roasting and properly blending robusta can help maximize its positive attributes. Looking beyond outdated preconceptions to judge it on its own merits, robusta may surprise you with redeeming qualities. A carefully crafted ratio of arabica to robusta could provide the ideal balance you’ve been seeking in an enjoyable and satisfying cup of coffee.

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