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  1. #1
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    Arabica or Robusta for Espresso Beans?

    Which beans , either Arabica or Rubusta are much prefer for making a cup of espresso?

  2. #2
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    Most European-style espresso blends use Robusta, whereas most U.S. Roasters tend to shy away from that (probably because they don't know how to use it). Robusta can really help to round out a blend and builds great crema if used correctly. I use it for one espresso blend, but if you want to use it I would say no more that 15% in the blend.

    It all depends on what your trying to achieve. Hope this helps.

    -Joe

  3. #3
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    I would agree with Joe here. For me in particular, using all Indonesian sourced greens, I need to use a little robusta in my standard espresso blend- otherwise the sweetness of the Indo Arabicas I blend is just too overpowering. Of course there is robusta, and robusta. If using a robusta there are some good quality, well prepped choices these days. No need to go for the gnarly stock robustas anymore. I would personally say less than 10%
    Merdeka Coffee (Indonesian Coffee Roasters and relationship coffee specialists) - Antipodean (Coffee - Cafe - Culture)

  4. #4
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    There was a great Fresh Cup article about this topic in June I believe. As they say in Fresh Cup,

    And they will say that any robusta, no matter how carefully selected, inevitably will add a woody/rubbery/tarmac/cat pee-pee/moldy basement floor/liquefied brown paper bag taste to the coffee.
    I find that you will get a much better espresso if it is 100% Arabica, and you carefully pick your beans. Not all coffees taste good in an espresso, and in my opinion if you have to use a robusta to 'balance it out', then you should try other beans.

    BTW, the Fresh Cup article is called 'Robusta Rehab', and you can find it on Fresh Cup's website. Just search for robusta rehab.

  5. #5
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    thanks, another question

    Thanks for your advice, ladies and gentlemen.

    I have another silly question want to ask you.

    Is it silly to use Blue Mountain Bean to make espresso?

  6. #6
    KS
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    Robust vs Arabica in Espresso

    I prefer espresso with a small percentage (15%) of Robusta. I have not found a 100% Arabica espresso that I enjoy anywhere even close to how much I enjoy my Italian espresso. I have tried countless brands across the U.S., but if anyone wants to tell me a specific one I'd be glad to try it.

  7. #7
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    Re: thanks, another question

    Quote Originally Posted by JJHippo
    Thanks for your advice, ladies and gentlemen.

    I have another silly question want to ask you.

    Is it silly to use Blue Mountain Bean to make espresso?
    Single origin Blue Mountain espresso? Don't know if it has enough body. You can try a Papua New Guinea. Some Papua New Guinea is planted from the Jamaican Blue Mountain varietal typica arabica.
    You want cream and sugar?
    NO COFFEE FOR YOU! NEXT!

  8. #8
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    Robusta

    Glad to hear that people are finally talking about Robustas. Our growers in India have been growing high-grown, shade-grown Robustas for over 200 years now and the European palate seems to appreciate the nuances of these coffees much more than the American drinkers.

    We have beautiful Robustas and we just need to get into the hands of roasters who will be willing to try them. We had a cupping of Indian Coffees last month and some of the roasters were pleasantly surprised that our Robustas cupped as they did. That is good news.

    They do work beautfully in espresso's. The astute italians would never buy them otherwise.

  9. #9
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    I must stick my neck out here and say I somewhat support Indiancoffee on this one. Living in Indonesia we have some of the most fabulous Arabica in the world- everyone knows that. We also have some of the rattiest, nasty, gnarly robusta. Now I certainly do not use any of this stuff- although it is obviously thick on the ground like snow at Milehigh stadium in January. Recently the work of people like Pierre at WAGRO have highlighted that there are some gourmet robustas that deserve a second chance. These include washed and well prepped robustas from Madagascar, Uganda, India (of course). I would add Indonesia, but in reality there is still work to be done here on the quality of robusta.

    I am no real fan of robusta- but having lived here now for 7 years most of the coffee I drink at roadside stalls is robusta. My pallate has begun to pick through the rubber, wood, burnt corn tastes. Also with all the fabulous Arabica available...well I am spoilt for choice

    I would say for me a little (and I mean a very little) robusta does work well in my espresso blends.
    Merdeka Coffee (Indonesian Coffee Roasters and relationship coffee specialists) - Antipodean (Coffee - Cafe - Culture)

  10. #10
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    There is a robusta/arabica expresso made by Trung Nguyen that is surprisingly mellow and has a very wide flavor range.

    I think that only people who have grown so used to Arabica that they miss seeing the negative aspects of 100% arabica will tell you that 100% arabica makes the best expresso. What is expresso without some acid and bitterness? Some people would have you believe that those two words are negative, yet most people who fell in love with expresso responded to exactly those characteristics originally, I would bet.

    One truly wonderful aspect of good robusta is that its aftertaste if pleasant all the way until it disappears. Arabica fades away to a flavor I don't care for (hate "coffee breath"? hate the way your filter smells when you clean it out?) That's unique to arabica and I assume, its oxidation process.

    These negatives about robusta (rubbery, woody, whatever) apply quite well to poorly cultivated and processed robusta, yes. But now let's talk about that awful cereal taste you get from poorly processed Arabica. Buy some Chock Full o' Nuts coffee today and have a nice cup of oatmeal... the fact is, all 10-12 of the varieties of coffee that are actually consumed worldwide have wonderful characteristics when grown in the right climate and soil and processed correctly.
    Friends don't let friends drink bad coffee...

 

 

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