Robusta coffee is bad. Robusta coffee beans produce a stronger, more bitter taste. Because of this, robusta is often used in instant coffee or espresso. Robusta is also hardier than the arabica plant which requires a higher altitude and specific temperature ranges to grow properly. It is also more resistant to diseases and pests. So it's cheaper to produce robusta beans, making them more common and less expensive than arabica beans.
In general, people are not good at distinguishing things that matter from things that don't. It's hard to even notice that the second kind exist. Robusta coffee is a perfect example.
Robusta belongs to the same species as Arabica (Coffea arabica), but has different genetics and a number of important differences in characteristics. Robusta grows better in lower altitudes and higher temperatures than Arabica, so it's easier to grow. It also has a higher yield than Arabica, so farmers can earn more money per acre by growing Robusta. And it tastes worse than Arabica.
It would seem that everyone should grow Robusta instead of Arabica! So why doesn't everyone?
Well, if you were a farmer thinking about which crop to plant this season, you might look only at two numbers: how much money you made per acre last year, and how much your children goaded you about the taste of your coffee. And if you looked only at those numbers, you would conclude that it made sense to switch from Arabica to Robusta.
For more information, check out Why Is Arabica Better Than Robusta?
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