Arabica vs Robusta

Arabica vs Robusta

Arabica vs Robusta, the most important decision one has to make, as soon as they enter the world of coffee.

Ever noticed the big signboards outside coffee shops claiming they serve 100% arabica beans? What does Arabic coffee mean? and how it differs from Robusta.

So, put on your learning cap and we will take you into the world of coffee beans:

Coffee is a genus of flowering plants and fruiting shrubs in the Rubiaceae family. The coffee plant seeds are two beans which are stick to each other inside a cherry. There are two main species of coffee seeds grown and sold across the world Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora (also known as Robusta).

Arabica and Robusta contribute to the major coffee production across the world. But even after this most of us do not what is the major difference between these two coffee bean species.

Arabica Coffee

Arabica coffee comes from the Coffea arabica plant which is beleived to be the first species of coffee. It originated in Ethiopia and accounts for 60% of global coffee production.

Arabica coffee is a superior choice. It is generally large and oval in shape. They grow at high altitude in slightly cold environment. They are well-known for their distinct, flavor and acidity content. Due to the presence of more lipid acid and sugar content, arabica coffee is generally sweeter and has a hint of fruity, chocolatey, nutty flavors in it.

Robusta Coffee

Robusta Coffee comes from the varietal of the Coffea Canephora plant. It is the second most popular coffee in the world behind arabica. Being originated in Vietnam, Indonesia, West Africa, and other parts of Southeast Asia., Robusta accounts for 40% of the global coffee production.

Robusta coffees are smaller, paler, and circular in shape and their center crease is less pronounced. They are full of caffeine. Hence, their flavors are less refined, and they are bitter in taste. Robusta is widely used in espresso, as it produces better crema. It is also used in instant coffees and as a filler in certain blends. They are resilient to harsh weather conditions and diseases hence produce better yield and are cheaper in price.

Key differences between Arabica vs Robusta

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An Introduction to Specialty Coffee

An Introduction to Specialty Coffee

According to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), “The term ‘specialty coffee’ refers to the highest quality green coffee beans roasted to their greatest flavor potential.”

They are the highest grade of coffee beans available across the world, as they grow in the perfect location, time, altitude, and soil.

Specialty coffee beans are mostly single-origin arabica and are available in small batches. Hence, they vary from region to region, country to country, and even year after year.

We tend to think that Specialty coffee is quite a new term that trending in the current market. But it was the first cast in the 1970s, in the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, by Erna Knutsen. She had the vision to preserve the quality of coffee from the farm to the cup.

A cup of speciality coffee involves a team of skilled professionals (farmer, harvester, roaster, and barista). They work in harmony and focus on standards to get a coffee labelled as “specialty coffee” by SCA.

What is Specialty coffee?

On the world coffee stock exchange, specialty coffee comprises only 3% of the global yield. These coffees grow at high altitudes. Hence, they are unique, distinct, and less defective in nature.

Term specialty coffee refers to the entire process of bringing coffee from farm to cup. The process involves growing, washing, de-pulping, fermentation, drying, supplying, roasting, and finally brewing.

According to SCA, specialty coffee grades 80 or above on a scale of 100 on a Q grade score sheet.

It is further categorized into three grades. A score between 80 – 84.99 counts as very good, 85 – 89.99 is excellent and a coffee bean scoring over 95 to 100 is outstanding.

Specialty Coffee Grading

Specialty coffee is the high grade of coffee available across the world. The grading system is set by the SCA at every stage of the coffee production process. The grading parameters are:

Green Bean Grading

The grading of green beans is done by visual inspection. According to SCA protocol, a sample of 350gm of coffee beans is looked for imperfect or defective beans.

The defects are of two types: Primary or Secondary. The primary defects are black or sour beans and the presence of large/medium stones or sticks. While, secondary defects are insect damage, unhulled, broken or chipped beans, small stone or sticks, water damage, etc.

To qualify as a specialty coffee, a 350gm sample of beans should have zero primary defects and no more than five secondary defects.


Before going through the process of cupping, the high-quality graded green beans are first transferred to a coffee roaster. A roster is a scientist as well as an artist. He uses his knowledge, techniques, and experience to bring out the specialty-level roast profiles in roasted beans

Also, the ideal roasting process helps to bring out the consistency of flavours in the high-quality beans.


At its simplest, cupping is a technique of brewing roasted coffee with hot water. It is a way to taste and assess the various flavours present in the roasted beans. Cupping tends to bring out the quality, diverse flavours, and hidden potential in a coffee bean.

According to SCA, the quality of a specialty coffee is evaluated on the basis of various attributes like fragrance, flavour, acidity, body, consistency, mouthfeel, aftertaste, and clean cup.

During the assessment, a taster marks all the underlying flavours present in the coffee. They assign scores to each of the coffee attributes. Later these attributes define the “tasting notes” of coffee beans.

Coffee cupping
Formal coffee cupping process as per SCA standards

Specialty Coffee Around the World

With the new wave of coffee culture, the demand for speciality coffee has boomed in the 20th century. Consumers are using the latest brewing methods and high-quality coffee beans to appreciate speciality coffee.

Also, coffee house chains like costa coffee, Starbucks, etc. have created a market for speciality coffees.

Specialty Coffee in India

In India, the market of coffee was first introduced by Cafe Coffee Day (CCD).

Later, the coffee roasters like Blue Tokai, Third-wave coffee, Subko, etc, are now serving artisanal coffee.

Over the years, with the uptick in coffee demand, the production of coffee has also increased in India.

In Chikmanglur or Coorg region, small farmers are focusing on growing single-estate specialty coffee. They plan to sell their high-quality coffee at high prices on the coffee stock market.

Also Check out this YouTube video to know more about SPECIALTY COFFEE,

<< Arabic vs Robusta >>

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The Story of PAHADEE Coffee Roasters

The Story of PAHADEE Coffee Roasters

PAHADEE Coffee Roasters, a specialty coffee roastery in the Indian Himalayas.

Our foundation started with a problem statement, a scientific as well as a business one.

“Himachal Pradesh has the highest coffee consumption in India. But everyone buys coffee from other Indian states. What is stopping roasters from manufacturing coffee within the state?”

Mcleodganj – One of the cafe hotspot in Himachal Pradesh

Our founder, Pratyush entered the specialty coffee world way back in 2014. But one cannot dive deep into the specialty coffee world by only being a coffee drinker! He shifted his base to Himachal Pradesh after working in the corporate sector for a decade. He wanted to start something ‘interesting’. That something turned out to be coffee roasting.

The problem statement :

Indian Himalayas see varying temperatures and humidity throughout the year. A single day may see temperatures going from 37 degrees at noon, to 6 degrees at night! Humidity goes from 40% to 99% almost every other day in monsoons! This posed us with an interesting challenge to solve. This very challenge has kept away most of the roasters out of Himachal Pradesh. Logistical nightmares multiply the severity of this challenge.

He started the PAHADEE coffee roasters in late 2021. It needed 2 years of gathering coffee roasting education and finances. Not to forget, managing varying weather conditions was another key aspect. We undertook heavy consultations with industry-leading consultants. This included roasting as well as green storage consultation. We installed a dozen of temperature and humidity probes. We track them every day.

Pahadee Coffee Roasters
PAHADEE Coffee Roasters, Gunehar, Himachal Pradesh

As coffee roasting is a logistic heavy venture, we tried to cut down our dependency on other states.  We installed air conditioning and humidity controllers. It kept the weather conditions at recommended levels.

Our next goal was to serve specialty coffee to the local population.  We scouted for places/cafes willing to serve better/good coffee. With this we perfected the craft of coffee roasting by serving some of the top cafes in Himachal Pradesh.

We conducted more than 20 workshops to impart specialty coffee education in the state.

In September 2022, we finally decided to go nationwide with our very own online shop and launched our coffee subscriptions plan to serve good coffee to many connoisseurs around India.

At the core of our beliefs, planet earth is at the forefront. Hence, we calculated our projected carbon footprint in every step of this venture. We try to avoid plastics and single-use items which cause this planet harm. As we get most of our coffee from southern Indian states, it takes a toll on the environment. We are doing more than enough to make up for the carbon emissions. We take part in many carbon offsetting projects.  Our team involves in many carbon offset projects themselves. We are striving to be a carbon-neutral business and set an example for people wanting to do the same.

Pratyush Thakur, the founder of Pahadee Coffee Roasters in Bir, Himachal Pradesh
Pratyush Thakur, the founder of PAHADEE Coffee Roasters in Bir, Himachal Pradesh

At PAHADEE, we assure you of getting a true specialty coffee, while being gentle on our planet earth.

Our goals

  1. Carbon Negative operations. 
  2. Provide true specialty coffee at affordable prices to the local masses
  3. Elevate Indian specialty coffee at the international level. 
  4. Work with small estate farmers and elevate them to the specialty coffee world.

<< An Introduction to Specialty Coffee >>

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