Do you have trouble tolerating Robusta?

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drgary
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#1: Post by drgary »

Hi All,

I'm starting this thread because although I like the taste and mouthfeel of good Robusta, I don't physically tolerate it well. Many people have written about unpleasant tastes of rubber in some Robustas. There is none of that in a high quality version and this thread isn't intended to cover that issue.

I'm a one case study, so I'm interested in seeing if others have a similar response. Maybe someone reading this will know more about plant chemistry to help explain this. Here's what I just posted in the thread, Saka Caffè in the States .
drgary wrote:...I did finally try the 20% Robusta Gran Bar compared to the 100% Arabica Top Selection. I somewhat prefer the taste of the Gran Bar -- "somewhat" because I like Top Selection a lot. Unfortunately even a small amount of Robusta affects me adversely. It feels different than drinking more caffeine. I did a bit of online research and read that there are several additional stimulants in coffee in case one of those is getting to me. There may be something else in Robusta that I react to and first discovered this when trying Dutch Brothers coffee on a 2014 road trip. Dutch Brothers has lots of Robusta in it.

I pulled a 10 gm single of Gran Bar and enjoyed the additional anisette flavor over the Top Selection and it was slightly more creamy and thick. Then I felt too cranked up for the rest of the day, feeling differently than if I had had 3 doubles of Arabica. I tried a 8 gm single of 1/2 Gran Bar and 1/2 Top Selection and had a mild headache for hours. That's too bad. A good Robusta like the one used by Saka has very nice flavor and improves crema. I'll start another thread and will link it here to avoid derailing this thread. The Top Selection is still a favorite in my rotation.


I'll add that I've had a similar uncomfortable response when trying Lavazza Qualita Rossa, which has 70% Robusta.

I have read that caffeine in coffee is an insect repellant. Do other chemicals in Robusta have a similar effect that could be toxic to insects and feel unpleasant for some people? My guess is that genetic differences in people may account for difficulty tolerating foods that others enjoy without adverse effects.

A few years ago I posted about my response and another longtime member reported a similar reaction that included black tea, which I tolerate well.
redbone wrote:Same experience here. I can tolerate the mild warmth I feel with Arabica coffee but not the overwhelming feeling of edgeness and flush Robusta results in. Same thing with heavier brewed black tea.
Labeling this an allergy may not explain it, since allergy testing differs in traditional and alternative medical approaches. My physician tested me awhile back for allergy to coffee and didn't find any.

I'm looking forward to your responses.

FYI, I'm a psychologist, not a physician.
Gary
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Marcelnl
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#2: Post by Marcelnl »

I have a similar response to Robusta, a fairly pronounced effect in fact and it resembles my response to MSG but far worse. I'm not allergic to anything other than Amoxicillin to which I was exposed too much.

Anything over an estimated 5-10% Robusta gets me and I avoid it when I can...whereas I tend to hover around 6-8 double espresso's a day (100% Arabica) without any side effect..
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MerleApAmber

#3: Post by MerleApAmber »

Likewise, I experience a caffeine overdrive feeling I have associated with consuming over-brewed black teas. If I brew black teas 'kung-fu' I totally miss the (perceived/apparent) over-extraction of caffeine. For coffee drinks, I have come to simply avoid robusta as a component.

(When I was a "Two-fisted Navy slug the percolated tall pot coffee was just 'coffee.' Back then my threshold tolerance was pretty "good" if you accept such a cuppa-joe is fine as long as it's not a full 8 hours old.)

Those who dwell in the Lands of Tea have shared the observation that many of the desirable flavors are offered up in the first 30 seconds to a minute and one half. Add these same people can draw highly desirable drinks two, three, sometimes four, five times in a row; timed 20, 25, 30,... seconds consecutively. Brew temperature is significantly important and can be at points anywhere between 165 to 210 Fahrenheit. The claim is caffeine is one of the slower to-release compounds in plant structures. (And, more readily available when steeped in hotter water.)

Excellent line of inquiry. I've bookmarked and tagged the topic to follow!

coffeechan

#4: Post by coffeechan »

Yes, it's very apparent when swapping from full arabica to a partial robusta blend. Went from Black Cat Analog to Cartapani Cinquestelle (20% robusta) and got highly caffeinated feeling in the head area. It's better now after getting accustomed to it by drinking it every day for the past 3 weeks, but I notice that 2 should be my limit for the day. Any day that I dabble in 3 shots is not a good idea. I did 3 shots today anyways, such is life. I will be happy to rotate off to Verve Sermon soon. One thing to perhaps try is to consume the robusta with something a bit fatty to buffer the absorption of the caffeine and the compounds. With the Cinquestelle, I drink mostly whole milk lattes or cappas and its a bit better than if I do an Americano or straight shot.

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Chert
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#5: Post by Chert »

I don't know if I ever encountered a decaf robusta containing blend. Maybe something to try but since I roast my own, I would have to find it green.

Here's one, but not available as greens.
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coffeechan

#6: Post by coffeechan »

Chert wrote:I don't know if I ever encountered a decaf robusta containing blend. Maybe something to try but since I roast my own, I would have to find it green.

Here's one, but not available as greens.
Caffe Vergnano makes a decaf blend with robusta. I should've tried their coffee before it got crazy at Eataly. It's on my short list of blends to try possibly, but it might be awhile before I go back to Italian blends. Decaf processing takes some of the desirably compounds out of the coffee. Combine that with possibly being farther from roast date could make it a roll of the dice for how good it might be.

https://www.enjoybettercoffee.com/Caffe ... /vr020.htm

jpender

#7: Post by jpender »

I have also felt an odd and unpleasant stimulation which I presumed was due to Robusta, but I have limited experience with blends containing it. The effect reminded me of how I have felt after each time I've had a Marocchino at a nearby boutique chocolatier. I thought that perhaps those experiences were due to the theobromine in the chocolate. I don't know if that's what caused my reaction. And I don't know if Robusta contains theobromine in large enough quantity to possibly be responsible.

What are the "several additional stimulants" you discovered are in coffee?

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coffeechan

#8: Post by coffeechan »

Missed this the first time around with genetics, but the CYP1A2 gene in humans is what's responsible for metabolizing caffeine. CYP1A2 gene is responsible for processing xenobiotic compounds. You can have 2 of the "good" genes that makes you a fast metabolizer of caffeine, or have only 1 for slower metabolism, or none and have the slowest of all combinations of genes for processing caffeine. I only have 1 of these genes so I am considered a "slow" metabolizer. You can easily find out this by using one of the mail-in DNA kits (though nowadays be forewarned companies are known to now sell and use your genetic data). A healthy lifestyle with good eating habits will also help the body be able to process caffeine better. Coffee is also known to deplete certain nutrients in the body, so if the habit is extreme consider increasing certain nutrient intake to offset the loss.

jpender

#9: Post by jpender »

coffeechan wrote:Missed this the first time around with genetics, but the CYP1A2 gene in humans is what's responsible for metabolizing caffeine. CYP1A2 gene is responsible for processing xenobiotic compounds. You can have 2 of the "good" genes that makes you a fast metabolizer of caffeine, or have only 1 for slower metabolism, or none and have the slowest of all combinations of genes for processing caffeine.
I can't speak for anyone else but for me the experiences I mentioned were not simply too much caffeine. I know what that feels like. Rather, it was stimulation of a different character. I can't describe it any better than that except to add that it was undesirable, more unpleasant than the usual too-many-cups-of-coffee feeling.

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EddyQ

#10: Post by EddyQ »

My wife basically cannot drink coffee. Arabica or robusta. In fact, a decaf can elevate her to almost shakes while I can gulp a 100% robusta shot with little effect. It really must be something other than caffeine because other beverages with caffeine doesn't do this to her. Weird.
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