What is Robusta Coffee?

Robusta coffee (Coffea canephora) is a species of coffee plant known for its resilience and robust flavour profile. It is one of the two primary species of coffee cultivated commercially alongside Arabica. Robusta coffee beans are smaller and rounder than Arabica beans, with a higher caffeine content and a more robust (hence the name) bitter taste. The plant grows best in low-altitude regions with warmer climates, making parts of Africa and Southeast Asia ideal for cultivation.


Due to its hardiness, resistance to pests and diseases, higher yields, and ability to grow in lower-lying regions, Robus­ta is often eas­i­er to farm, making it more cost-effec­tive to pro­duce than Ara­bi­ca. Because of these qualities, Robusta is usually used in blends and instant coffees. While Robusta is less favoured than Arabica for speciality coffee due to its intense flavour profile, it remains an essential component of the global coffee industry.


What Are the Origins of Robusta Coffee?

Robusta is native to central and western sub-Saharan Africa. Its origins can be traced back to regions such as the Congo Basin and Uganda. Robusta coffee plants have historically grown wild in these areas, where they adapted to thrive in low-altitude tropical climates with high temperatures and relatively consistent rainfall. Over time, Robusta coffee cultivation expanded to other parts of Africa, including 

Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Cameroon, and Angola, providing economic opportunities for farmers in those regions.


In the early 1900s, Robusta coffee cultivation spread to other regions with suitable climates, such as Southeast Asia. Countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, and India have become significant producers of Robusta in recent decades. Today, Robusta is grown in various tropical regions worldwide, making it a vital component of the global coffee industry.


What Are the Ideal Growing Conditions for Robusta Plants?

Like all coffee species, Robusta coffee plants thrive in tropical climates with specific environmental conditions conducive to their growth and development. The ideal growing conditions for Robusta plants include:



Robusta plants prefer warm temperatures between 24°C and 30°C (75°F and 86°F). They are well-suited to tropical climates with relatively high humidity and receive around 1500 to 2500 millimetres of rainfall annually. Consistent rainfall throughout the year is beneficial for Robusta cultivation. However, some regions may have distinct wet and dry seasons.



Unlike Arabica coffee, which thrives at higher elevations, Robusta coffee plants prefer lower altitudes ranging from sea level to around 800 meters (2600 feet) above sea level. They are well-adapted to lowland areas with fertile soil and ample moisture.



Robusta plants prefer well-drained, nutrient-rich soils with good aeration. They can tolerate different soil types but are not fond of acidic soils.



Robusta coffee plants require ample sunlight for optimal growth and fruit development. They thrive in areas with full to partial sun exposure. However, some shade may be beneficial, especially during the hottest part of the day.


Pest and disease resistance

Robusta coffee plants are less susceptible to pests and diseases than Arabica plants. However, they can still be affected by coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust. Proper agronomic practices and pest management are crucial for healthy Robusta plantations.


In summary, the ideal growing conditions for Robusta (like all coffee plants, in fairness) include:

  • Warm temperatures.
  • Consistent rainfall.
  • Fertile and well-drained soil.
  • Protection from pests and diseases. 




What Are Some of the Different Robusta Coffee Varieties?

Although all our award-winning FiXX Coffees are 100% Arabica, Robusta coffee has some notable cultivars cultivated for specific attributes or adaptability to particular growing conditions. Some of the different Robusta coffee varieties include:


Xanh Lun TS5

This variety originated in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and is known for its rel­a­tive drought tol­er­ance and high caffeine content. It is a compact plant with a very high yield and high-quality beans.


Robusta Uganda

Cultivated primarily in Uganda, this variety is prized for its resilience and adaptability to various growing conditions. It produces beans with a bold, earthy flavour and a hint of spiciness.


BRS 2314

Developed in Brazil in 2004, this variety stands out for its quality. Following the Fine Robustas Tasting Protocol developed by the Coffee Quality Institute (a Q grading system created especially for Robusta), this cultivar has received 80 points or more in all the cupping events conducted, reaching 87.2 points in one of the samples.


BP 936

Developed in Indonesia, BP 936 is a Robusta variety prized for its high productivity and adaptability to different environmental conditions. It produces beans with a balanced flavour profile and moderate acidity.


These are just a few examples of the Robusta varieties cultivated worldwide. Each variety may have unique flavour, yield, disease resistance, and adaptability characteristics, catering to the diverse needs of coffee producers and consumers in different regions.