The Robusta coffee tree (Coffea canephora) grows indigenously in Western and Central Africa. It was the Belgian who moved Robusta coffee from their colony in Congo to a nursery in Brussels and subsequently to Java where the commercial production first began.
Robusta accounts for around 40% of total coffee production in the world. It has twice the caffeine content and a high disease resistance compared to Arabica, making it an ideal alternative for commercial coffee production.
Robusta coffee trees are also shorter and require less space to grow, allowing for much lower cost of production in terms of care and feeding. Malaysia is among the top Robusta producing countries ranking sixth behind Vietnam, Brazil, Indonesia, India and Uganda.
On the flip side, Robusta pales in comparison to Arabica’s flavor profile and generally not considered as specialty coffee by true blue coffee enthusiast. Robusta is mainly sold and traded as a commodity and used in coffee blends and instant soluble coffee.
Robusta generally tastes flat and bitter by itself. However, under a skillful roaster, the full-bodied Robusta can complement well with Arabica to create a decent blend.