Coffee is one of the world's most beloved beverages, with millions of people starting their day with a cup of joe or in our case a cup of Linh. For most people, their go-to coffee is arabica, which is renowned for its sweet and smooth flavor. But did you know that the simple act of drinking arabica coffee can have a negative impact on the environment?
In this blog, we’re going through all the reasons why you should swap arabica coffee for robusta coffee and how you can help the environment one cup of coffee at a time.
Understanding Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans - What's the Difference?
Arabica and robusta are the two most common coffee species used in coffee production. Each variety offers distinct characteristics in terms of taste, aroma, and caffeine content. Arabica coffee beans are known for their smooth and nuanced flavors, lower caffeine content, and delicate acidity. On the other hand, robusta coffee beans have a stronger, more bitter taste, higher caffeine content, and are typically used in espresso blends to provide a richer crema.
Environmental Impact of Arabica Coffee Production
Many people tend to prefer arabica coffee because of its delicate flavor, however, its cultivation can be more environmentally demanding compared to robusta. Arabica coffee plants are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, pests, and diseases, requiring specific climates and intensive care.
For instance, these plants need a higher water usage, they take 39 gallons of water per cup of coffee, while robusta plants only need 3 gallons of water to make the same amount of coffee. Arabica plants also need more pesticides since they aren’t as strong, and thus leave a larger carbon footprint during cultivation and transportation.
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So, Why is Robusta Coffee Better for the Environment?
1. Robusta Coffee Production is More Sustainable
Robusta coffee plants, on the other hand, are hardier, more resilient, and well, robust! Native to sub-Saharan Africa, robusta can thrive in a broader range of climates and altitudes, making them a suitable option for regions where arabica struggles to grow. Robusta coffee plants also require fewer chemical pesticides, less water, as they’re naturally more pest-resistant, and so, there's a smaller carbon footprint for robusta production.
2. They Have a More Positive Impact on Biodiversity
The environmental benefits of robusta coffee go beyond reduced resource consumption, robusta cultivation can even have a positive impact on biodiversity. Since these plants don’t need chemical pesticides and their ability to grow in diverse ecosystems, robusta coffee plantations preserve natural habitats for various plant and animal species.
3. They're More Resilient to Climate Change
As climate change poses significant challenges to, well the world, it has adverse effects on agriculture, and coffee production – which is why robusta's resilience becomes even more crucial. The ability to grow in warmer temperatures and withstand certain pests and diseases makes robusta coffee a valuable option for the future of coffee cultivation, while arabica cultivation is going to suffer.
4. Help Support Coffee Farmers
By embracing robusta coffee, we can also make a positive impact on coffee farmers' livelihoods. Most robusta-producing regions are developing countries, like Vietnam, Uganda, and Indonesia, so by promoting robusta consumption, we can provide economic opportunities and stability for farmers in these areas.
While Arabica coffee remains a popular choice for coffee drinkers (we’re adamant to change that though) it's essential to consider the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability and the environment. Making the switch to Robusta coffee can offer a more eco-friendly and sustainable option. So, drop your usual arabica coffee and start Robussin because once you robusta you never go back.