There are many differences between Arabica and Robusta. One of the most significant of these is the altitude at which the two varieties grow: Arabica is typically cultivated between 600 and 2,000 meters above sea level, while Robusta grows better at lower altitudes (from sea level to approximately 600 meters), as it is more resistant to hot temperatures.
The main differences
Definitely, beans grown at over 1400 meters are more exquisite because they are usually harder and thicker. This is because the plants are exposed to lower temperature fluctuations, which causes them to grow more slowly. The color of the beans before roasting depends mainly on the processing (washed, natural, honey, etc.). This can be seen on the furrow (“cut”) on each coffee bean.
If the beans come from higher elevations, then they are almost completely closed. Unlike coffee from lower altitudes, where the furrow is rather deeper, which makes the bean less thick.
But why does a higher altitude mean a better quality?
The main reason height affects the aroma of coffee: the coffee tastes just more aromatic, has a pleasant acidity and a wonderful aftertaste. Instead, coffee grown in a rather low location tastes much less aromatic.
In many countries, the location of the plantation is also crucial for the quality assessment: seals such as SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) or SHG (Strigtly High Grown) are the reason that the coffee was grown in a high altitude and that it is of excellent quality.
Author: Simone Celli, ilcaffeespressoitaliano.com