What's wrong with Robusta?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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jon

#1: Post by jon »

What's wrong with Robusta?

I've recently bought a La Pavoni lever machine. Beans containing robusta enable a fantastic crema - the coffees quite good too!

Looking at posts on the forum there seems to be a general dislike / disdain for coffee with a high robusta content.

Any ideas? Jon

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Niko

#2: Post by Niko »

Try roasting a batch of 100% robusta and you'll see why. I think it's worth a try myself since I haven't done it yet but I think it'll be an awakening. Just make sure you don't drink too much, the caffeine content is pretty high.

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welone

#3: Post by welone »

jon wrote:What's wrong with Robusta? ... Any ideas?
Hello Jon

Quite a lot of experienced/skilled people seem to attribute a disagreeable taste and aroma to it. A rubbery smell is often cited and some even have the taste buds and 'taste memory' to find 'sulphur parallel to rotten eggs' and 'hints of phenol, tire fire, vaseline and roofing tar' in there :shock:
The caffeine content of robusta is 2.5-2.8% and that of arabica less than 1.5% (Source: Illy, 2002). Furthermore the lipid content is also lower, whereas lipids are important flavour carriers - you could also call them 'flavour enhancers'. IIRC they state it in illy's book 'the science of quality' - but as I don't have it at hand I started a quick search which led me to this paper. Here they state 15 % lipids content for Arabica and around 10 % for Robusta coffees.

marco

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

A good discussion To Robusta or Not to Robusta on CG. Below is an excerpt:
another_jim wrote:Robusta comes in nearly as many grades as Arabica, going all the way from $0.33 per pound Vietnamese naturals, which taste like spam mixed with rubber cement to lovingly sorted Indian ones that can go for as much as $5 per pouind.

Good robustas are very heavy bodied, taste sweet and sometimes vaguely chocolatey, and have mild aromas of fresh tar and tobacco. In espresso blends, they also stabilize the crema [...] Poor Arabicas and poor Robustas become more similar in taste the more the quality goes down. This is nothing unusual, a poor apple and a poor pear also begin to taste the same; distinctions tend to vanish as quality declines. The same applies when both become stale.

(cont'd)
Dan Kehn

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Marshall

#5: Post by Marshall »

jon wrote:What's wrong with Robusta?

I've recently bought a La Pavoni lever machine. Beans containing robusta enable a fantastic crema - the coffees quite good too!

Looking at posts on the forum there seems to be a general dislike / disdain for coffee with a high robusta content.

Any ideas? Jon
There is nothing wrong with it in small doses in an espresso blend. Some of the best American blends (I'm thinking Victrola's Streamline and most (all?) of Vivace's blends) and most Italian blends include it for crema and a "bite." But, a little goes a long way.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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timo888

#6: Post by timo888 » replying to Marshall »

Caffe D'Arte uses some robusta in their blends. I have tried their Firenze and Fabriano. Both are very, very good, IMO.

Regards
Timo

Grant

#7: Post by Grant »

jon wrote:What's wrong with Robusta?

I've recently bought a La Pavoni lever machine. Beans containing robusta enable a fantastic crema - the coffees quite good too!

Looking at posts on the forum there seems to be a general dislike / disdain for coffee with a high robusta content.

Any ideas? Jon
High robusta content...probably a problem.

Some robusta contant...can be great depending on the bean/blend IMO.

My personal favorite espresso, Malabar Gold, has a percentage of high quality Robusta.

http://www.josuma.com/gold.shtml
Grant

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timo888

#8: Post by timo888 »

Grant wrote:High robusta content...probably a problem.
There are always exceptions. Paradise Roasters has an excellent 100% S.O. robusta from India.

Regards
Timo

Grant

#9: Post by Grant » replying to timo888 »

Interesting, but not totally a surprise. I wish I could get more (or even any) of the beans I often read about here sent to Canada. I believe the Malabar Gold robusta is also an Indian crop.
Grant

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paradiseroasters

#10: Post by paradiseroasters »

Grant,

We ship to Canada all the time and I'll bet most of the other sponsors here would also if you contact them about it. It's quite simple and relatively cost effective using USPS, especially with the New Flat-Rate Boxes for International (we can stuff 6-7 lbs roasted or 12-15 lbs green in these).

R. Miguel Meza
Paradise Roasters
Brian Foster
Paradise Coffee Roasters