Our Arabica plantation is harvested around September. The beans are picked using harvesting machines and are processed in a wet plant. Here they are soaked before the skin and mucilage is removed, leaving only the bean which is pumped into large driers. Each batch is carefully dried to achieve the optimum moisture content, after which they are packaged into bags to be rested before being sold throughout Australia.
What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans?
Arabica and Robusta beans are both grown commercially for consumption, however there is a significant difference between the two. Arabicas range in taste from sweet-soft to sharp-tangy, while Robusta beans are often described as neutral to harsh in taste with a grain-like flavour. It is for this reason that Robusta is generally used for making instant coffee while the majority of the beans that are found in coffee shops are of the Arabica variety.
So why doesn’t everyone grow Arabica coffee plants? The reason is that these trees are more fussy than the Robusta variety. Arabica plants like rich soil, plenty of water and sub-tropical climates. They are also much more susceptible to insect damage and do not withstand the cold very well. Robustas, on the other hand, can withstand much harsher growing conditions, are less vulnerable to insect attacks and also yield a larger volume of bean per acre, i.e. their production costs are much lower.
- Where does the coffee get its flavour from?
The length of time that the beans are roasted for has a large impact on the coffee’s flavour. A dark roast will tend to have a bolder, more sugary flavour, while lighter roasts will have a more complex palate due to retaining more oils and acids in the beans which are destroyed by longer roasting times. Some baristas will introduce extra flavours before serving such as flavoured syrup.