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14 May 2020

The hidden value of selected robusta.

We study coffee every day, we cup it and we see it growing on the estates in the countries of origin.

We have learned to get familiar with coffee and above all recognize its quality.
Not only the quality in the product but also in its processing and in the entire production process.
From this profound research originates the desire to select an excellent product, sometimes going against the flow, but shedding light on consumers choices, confused by years of misleading communication.
To the coffeelovers who ask us if only arabica is the equivalent of quality, we firmly reply that this is not the case!
Let’s find out together why not!
Many of you know there are two species of coffee mostly commercialized: arabica, more delicate and with a clean sensory profile, and robusta with its marked body and more zingy aromatic notes.

The latter represents 40% of worlds’ coffee production: in our opinion, deciding not to use robusta, no matter what, clips the wings of producers who have dedicated their lives to their work in an attempt to enhance a difficult product such as robusta.
To acknowledge dignity to robusta, the first steps we took were to select robusta of highest quality, to use it in very moderate percentage so it could offer value to our espresso blend, giving it exceptional aromatic nuances.

Being arabica and robusta two different botanical species, it would have been easy to fall into the trap of comparative judgment.
Instead, what we did was to consider the two types of product as diametrically opposed and, in some cases, we consider them complementary.

Robusta and arabica have never received the same attention from the market. In fact, the first one has not had the opportunity to be adequately considered nor protected. We have started to do so, succeeding so far to exploit its peculiar characteristics (for example it’s full body and bitterness) and its genetic properties.

Moreover, it is precisely its botanical characteristics that make us think that with the climate change in act, robusta compared to arabica is destined to develop greater resistance.
In this perspective, it makes even more sense that we, coffee roasters, focus
on providing support to the coffee producers, so we can raise the quality of a product which so far has been too little evaluated in the world of quality coffee.
Robusta, unlike arabica, is more resistant and therefore suitable for more extreme climates characterized by higher temperatures; robusta has a smaller size bean with a rounder shape and it has a more pronounced aromatic profile.

Today, after years of research, we select traceable robusta for our espresso blends, originating from two Indian estates: Balehonnur and Raigode. Unlike the Vietnamese robusta, which is commonly used, although of inferior quality, they allow us to obtain a coffee of excellent quality with noteworthy organoleptic characteristics, including a perceptible but pleasant bitterness and a full but still elegant body.

An important choice we have accomplished was to opt for a washed robusta (which in India is defined as Parchment): after harvesting, the cherries are not put directly to dry but they are pulped and fermented in special fermentation tanks, after which finally dried.
The correct control of the fermentation process in the tanks obtains a cleaner and more aromatic coffee; our selection of robusta carefully blended with our premium arabicas, bring coffee to life, offering warm notes and a velvety not too marked body in the cup.
The watchwords for us at Le Piantagioni del Caffè are quality and balance.
Years of research and meticulous selection have ensured that our blends containing robusta are of premium quality; that the harmony and balance of their organoleptic profile are capable of giving great moments of pleasure.
And thus, we have succeeded to give robusta the right value it deserves, and we consider this a great little success!