It’s well understood that consumers prefer the taste and aromas of arabica coffee beans over robusta beans. But have you ever wondered which of your favorite coffee brands use arabica, robusta or a blend of both?

This article sheds some light on this topic.

What store-bought coffee brands use arabica beans?

Yuban, Seattle’s Best, Green Mountain, Caribou, Peet’s, Café du Monde, Gevalia, and New England Coffee all use 100% arabica beans in most of their store-bought coffee. Maxwell House, Folgers, Death Wish Coffee and most Lavazza coffee are blends of arabica and robusta.

Robusta beans can be grown at lower altitudes and can therefore be cultivated in higher quantities. This ease of production allows robusta beans to be about half the price of most arabica beans.

Robusta beans are still widely used for many espresso roasts because it produces a better crema. But it is not usually used for normal coffee because consumers don’t tend to prefer the taste compared to arabica.

However, low-price store bought coffee, such as Folgers and Maxwell House blend robusta beans with arabica to reduce their costs.

What coffee chains use arabica beans?

Starbucks, McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, Dunkin’, and Blue Bottle Coffee Company all use 100% arabica beans for their coffee. It’s less common for franchise coffee businesses to use robusta beans because consumers tend to enjoy them less.

Coffee chains tend to place more value on an excellent tasting coffee experience. With all of the competition out there, it’s necessary for these types of businesses to use arabica beans.

Inexpensive store-bought coffee, on the other hand, is competing for a very different market. Their product is sold in large quantities with a value proposition of being the least expensive option. As a result, blending robusta beans into their product is an effective way to reduce their costs.

Why do so many coffee brands use arabica beans?

Many people agree that arabica beans have a more pleasant taste and are less bitter than robusta beans. This is because arabica coffee contain about 60% more lipids and twice as much sugar. These tend to improve the flavor, aroma and mouthfeel of the coffee.

What does arabica coffee taste like?

Arabica coffee often contains a small amount of sweetness, even in washed processed arabica beans. This is often expressed as caramel, nutty or chocolatey notes. Natural processed arabica beans will usually contain a little more sweetness as well as more floral and fermented flavors.

It’s not uncommon to smell or taste hints of red berries and other fruits. The aromas and flavors will change based on where the coffee was grown and the climate during its growing season.

Why are arabica beans more expensive than robusta beans?

Arabica beans are more expensive than robusta beans because they must be grown in very specific climates. This means that only certain regions throughout the world are capable of profitably growing arabica beans. This lower supply causes the price to increase.

Where do coffee brands source their arabica beans from?

Starbucks sources their arabica beans from more than 30 countries, including Costa Rica, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia and many others. This is true for most coffee brands as well.

Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Honduras and Peru are the top arabica producing counties in the world. Brazil alone produces more than 30 million bags of arabica coffee each year.

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