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August 2013 - Arabica versus Robusta

Arabic versus Robusta
J. Martinez & Company - Coffee Merchants
August 13, 2013

Company Newsletter
Arabica versus Robusta

Arabica versus Robusta

Arabica versus RobustaLast week we received a shipment of India Monsooned Malabar coffee. This coffee, a dozen pounds of which we just roasted, is especially rich and finishes with some spicy notes. But several bags in the shipment we will not roast, and are headed back. That’s because our supplier mistakenly mixed in a few bags of Coffea Canephora, or what’s more commonly known as Robusta.
Robusta coffee is just what it sounds like, at least in agricultural terms. It is more resistant to pests, perhaps due to its higher caffeine content. Caffeine is a natural pesticide that kills or paralyzes many insects. Robusta coffee also grows at lower altitudes than coffea arabica, and the plants are more productive. This makes Robusta cheaper, but not tastier, especially when compared to specialty coffee.
Robusta was identified more than 100 years after Arabica, and now makes up 30% to 40% of the world’s coffee crop. Very little finds its way into your better coffee shops in the US, though it is easy to find on the grocery shelf. If that can of coffee in the grocery store does not state that it is 100% arabica, it very likely includes Robusta in the blend. Robusta’s presence in coffee blends owes much to the fact that it is cheaper than Arabica. In post war Europe Robusta and fillers were used to make coffee more affordable. France encouraged its cultivation in its former colonies. In the US, Maxwell House started blending Robusta into its coffee after the 1954 Brazilian frost (Brazil was, and still is, the largest producer of coffee in the world). Maxwell House switched to using all Arabica in 2007, though having an all-Arabica blend does not make for a great coffee unless the beans used are great.
In the world of fine coffee Robusta is a topic of conversation only when discussing espresso blends. Using a small amount of Robusta in espresso blends is fairly common in Italy, and in some cases it may be used to improve the “crema”, the light brown layer on top of a well-made espresso. But in other cases it is likely used because it is a cheaper coffee. In the US some feel that to create a real Italian-tasting espresso requires a small amount of high quality Robusta in the blend. But we are the all-arabica camp. Our Don Giovanni’s Espresso Bellisimo achieves a fabulous crema without including Robusta in the blend. 


Hawaiian Kona is back, again.

Hawaiian Kona "Honaunau Estates"
In case you have not noticed, our Hawaiian Kona "Honaunau Estates" is back in stock.

This mid-season crop Kona is especially delicious, tasting even better than our last batch. If you have not tried Kona, or, at least, not in a while, we invite you to try the current crop! 


Serenbe Group Cycling

Cycling in SerenbeFor those of you in the Atlanta area, J. Martinez & Company has been supplying free coffee to fuel cyclists who are enjoying every fourth Saturday in the Chattahoochee Hill Country. There are three rides, so all level of cyclists are invited. Choose between an 8.5, 21, or 42 mile ride. The rides are through beautiful rolling farmland. Many cyclists stay for the Farmer's Market and The Hil Restaurant's delicious brunch (guess whose coffee they serve!).

The next ride is August 24, 2013. Coffee starts at 8:30am, the rides start at 9:00am. Riders meet at the corner of Selborne Lane and Selborne Way in Serenbe. Please park in lot on Selborne Way. For more information call Kevin at J. Martinez & Company, 404-231-5465 or visit the Facebook Event.