What Do Coffee Bean Roasters Mean By 100% Arabica?
When it comes to coffee, everyone’s seen or heard the word “Arabica”. And usually, coffees are advertising that they are ”100% Arabica”. Experts in coffee know what that means, but what about the average person? What does 100% Arabica actually mean? Here’s what it all means and why it matters.
A Rich History
When coffee is discovered about a 1,000 years ago, it is believed that Arabica is the first species to be cultivated. Though it is not certain, many suspect that the origins of Arabica resides in Ethiopia and South Sudan. Robusta, which is the second most popular coffee species in harvest, is believed to originate from West Africa. Before the sophistication brought about from the processes of roasting, grounding and brewing, coffee was consumed in its natural cherry and leave forms.
Its energizing benefit was immediately recognized. Given the popularity, Arabica was carried to the regions of Yemen and Arabia. There, the history of its cultivation is properly catalogued and verifiable. There, the coffee cherries were used to make “quishr”, a hot tea beverage that does not require roasting. This kept them awake during prayers at night. As the popularity increased, the Arabs began to roast and grind the beans, leading to a beverage that is closer to the coffee we enjoy nowadays. This is where the name “Arabica” stems from.
A Strong Indication Of Quality
Although there are over a 100 coffee species, the two main ones are Arabica and Robusta. Wine has grapes, beer has hops and coffee has cherries and beans. Arabica is generally higher-end than Robusta due to its sweet flavor, making it more favourable across palettes.
The three key differences between Arabica and Robusta is flavor, caffeine and cost. Robusta is generally the inferior of the two due to its unappealing taste. It is not as sweet as Arabica and is more bitter due to the higher levels of caffeine. Harvesting Robusta beans is also a lot cheaper. So although many coffee labels will say “100% Arabica”, they may actually have a significant percentage of the beans being Robusta, acting as filler to increase profit. For this reason, a label that only says “100% Arabica” doesn’t provide enough details to determine whether the quality is actually present.
There’s More To Quality Than Claiming 100% Arabica
A label that tells you whether it’s Arabica or Robusta is no different than a beer telling you whether it’s a blonde or a red beer. It’s a simple dimension that doesn’t necessarily convey guaranteed quality. The best quality coffee beans will not shy away from their strengths. Thus, labels that include details such as the origin of the beans, flavour of the roast and any other information are making an earnest attempt to be as honest and as transparent to their customers.
So does 100% Arabica ultimately mean anything? Of course. It is definitely a strong, initial marker of quality. But by no means is it sufficient on its own in providing promise for quality. Coffee roasters who strive to build relationships with their clients based on integrity, transparency and trust will put out more details on their labels.
Javatino Coffee practices this honest communication with how it labels its coffee. If you’re interested in getting great quality coffee and heightening your guest experience for your business needs, get in touch with us today!