Coffea canephora

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Robusta coffee
Coffea canephora at Aanakkulam.jpg
Berries of Coffea canephora
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Coffea
Species: C. canephora
Binomial name
Coffea canephora
Pierre ex A.Froehner

Coffea robusta L.Linden

Ripe berries

Coffea canephora (syn. Coffea robusta), commonly known as robusta coffee, is a species of coffee that has its origins in central and western sub-Saharan Africa. It is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. Though widely known as Coffea robusta, the plant is scientifically identified as Coffea canephora, which has two main varieties, robusta and nganda.[1]


The plant has a shallow root system and grows as a robust tree or shrub to about 10 metres. It flowers irregularly, taking about 10–11 months for cherries to ripen, producing oval-shaped beans. The robusta plant has a greater crop yield than that of C. arabica, and contains more caffeine – 2.7% compared to arabica's 1.5%.[2] As it is less susceptible to pests and disease,[3] robusta needs much less herbicide and pesticide than arabica.

Native distribution[edit]

Originating in upland forests in Ethiopia, C. canephora grows indigenously in Western and Central Africa from Liberia to Tanzania and south to Angola. It was not recognized as a species of Coffea until 1897,[4] over a hundred years after Coffea arabica.[5][6] It is also reportedly naturalized in Borneo, French Polynesia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Jamaica and the Lesser Antilles.[7]

Cultivation and use[edit]

Unroasted robusta beans

Approximately 40% of the coffee produced in the world is robusta.[8] It is mostly grown in Vietnam, where French colonists introduced it in the late 19th century, though it is also grown in Africa and Brazil, where it is often called conilon.[9][10][self-published source] In recent years, Vietnam, which produces mostly robusta, has surpassed Brazil, India, and Indonesia to become the world's single largest exporter of robusta coffee. Brazil is still the biggest producer of coffee in the world, producing one-third of the world's coffee, though 80% of that is C. arabica.[8]

Robusta is easier to care for and has a greater crop yield than C. arabica, so is cheaper to produce.[11] Roasted robusta beans produce a strong, full-bodied coffee with a distinctive earthy flavour, but usually with more bitterness than arabica due to its pyrazine content.[12][13] Since arabica beans are believed to have smoother taste with less acidity and a richer flavour, they are often considered superior, while the harsher robusta beans are mostly used as a filler in lower-grade coffee blends.[14][15] However, the powerful flavour can be desirable in a blend to give it perceived "strength" and "finish", noticeably in Italian coffee culture. Good-quality robusta beans are used in traditional Italian espresso blends, at about 10–15%, to provide a full-bodied taste and a better foam head (known as crema). It is besides used as a stimulant, diuretic, antioxidant, antipyretic and relieves spasmodic asthma.[16][17]


  1. ^ J. Dagoon (2005). Agriculture & Fishery Technology Iv. Rex Bookstore, Inc. p. 58. ISBN 9789712342233. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Mark Nesbitt (2005). The Cultural History of Plants. Taylor & Francis. p. 177. ISBN 9780203020906. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Benoit Daviron; Stefano Ponte (2005). The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development. Zed Books. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-84277-457-1. 
  4. ^ Adolf,, Engler,; Germany), Königlicher Botanischer Garten (Berlin,; Germany), Königliches Botanisches Museum (Berlin, (1895–1918). "Notizblatt des Königl. Botanischen Gartens und Museums zu Berlin". bd.1 (1895–1897). 
  5. ^ von,, Linné, Carl; Lars,, Salvius, (1753). "Caroli Linnaei ... Species plantarum". 1. 
  6. ^ Mark Nesbitt (2005). The Cultural History of Plants. Taylor & Francis. p. 176. ISBN 9780203020906. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  8. ^ a b "Coffee: World Markets and Trade" (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture - Foreign Agricultural Service. June 16, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  9. ^ A. Rami Horowitz (2004). Insect pest management: field and protected crops. Springer. p. 41. ISBN 9783540207559. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  10. ^ Roseane M Santos (2009). An Unashamed Defense of Coffee. Xlibris Corporation. p. 269. ISBN 9781453534243. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Miyanari, Walter (2008). Aloha Coffee Island. Savant Books & Publications. p. 7. ISBN 9780615183480. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  12. ^ Andrew J. Taylor, Robert Linforth (2010). Food Flavour Technology. John Wiley and Sons. p. 68. ISBN 9781444317787. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  13. ^ Wintgens, Jean Nicolas (2009). Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production: A Guidebook for Growers. Wiley-VCH. p. 799. ISBN 9783527322862. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  14. ^ Miyanari, Walter (2008). Aloha Coffee Island. Savant Books & Publications. p. 6. ISBN 9780615183480. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  15. ^ The West Indies year book 1938. Thomas Skinner & Co. 1938. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  16. ^ Reynolds, Richard (February 1, 2006). "Robusta's Rehab". CoffeeGeek. Coffee Geek. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  17. ^ Robertson, Carol (2010). The Little Book of Coffee Law. American Bar Association. p. 52. ISBN 9781604429855. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 

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