A Coffea Arabica plantation in São João, Brazil.
The World famous Coffea Arbica tree, is the most common specie and accounts for 75-80% of all coffee production. The tree comes from the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia. It is believed to be the first kind to ever be cultivated. Arabica coffee is known for its good taste, very high quality and contains a somewhat lower percent of caffeine. The caffeine is the source of the bitter taste in coffee, so coffee from Arabica beans have a slightly milder taste.
Robusta or Canephora is unlike the Arabica tree, Robusta can handle rougher climates and is more easily maintained. The origin of Coffea Robusta is central and western Africa. The beans are often used for espresso due to its bitter flavor and high caffeine percentage. Instant coffee often contains Robusta and it’s also used as a complement to Arabica blends. Around 30% of all coffee production is from Robusta beans. The beans are often seen as lower quality and are unpopular, but in fact washed Robusta beans can be just as good or even better then the Arabica beans. A good espresso for example could really need that strong and bitter Robusta taste. Robusta is already in most espressos at some level to provide crema (foam) and the rich taste.