What Does 100% Arabica Coffee Really Mean?

100% arabica coffee

Our 100% arabica coffee is packed with smooth, delicious flavor. Give it a try yourself! ©iStockphoto.com/Shaiith

You’ve probably seen the statement “100% Arabica coffee” on the packages of some of your favorite brews, but do you know what this statement means? It actually refers to the species of coffee the package contains. There are more than 100 species of coffee, and Coffea arabica is one of them.

Of the 100 coffee species, there are really only 2 that are widely grown and produced: Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta. Arabica is widely considering to be the higher quality of the two, for the following reasons:

  • Arabica has a more enjoyable taste. Robusta is often said to have notes of burnt tires and rubber — that’s certainly not appetizing!
  • Arabica coffees contain about 60% more lipids than robusta coffees. It’s lipids that give coffee its smoothness and allow you detect more subtle nuances of flavor.
  • Robusta’s high caffeine content adds to its bitterness. Arabica beans, while still containing a substantial amount of caffeine, are less caffeinated and thus less bitter.

If you purchase cheap, store-brand, pre-ground coffee, it will often contain primarily robusta beans, simply because robusta is easier to grow. Robusta is used as a filler and cost-reducer in these products. There are higher quality robusta coffees available, but they only taste as good as a low-end, pure Arabica coffee.

Basically, when a coffee is labeled “100% Arabica” as is our Hawaiian Ka’u coffee, you know it contains only the best species of beans. However, there are many other factors that determine the flavor nuances of a specific coffee, such as the altitude and soil quality where it is grown. Our Hawaiian Ka’u coffee is grown in rich, volcanic soils and fresh mountain air, making it some of the best coffee you’ll ever taste. Visit our website, and start sipping deliciousness today.

4 thoughts on “What Does 100% Arabica Coffee Really Mean?

  1. chip dyson

    Good newsletter… Just thought you’d like to know we both think your dehydrated mac nuts are the best we’ve ever had. We’re sorry to have forgotten the name of the lady who was “womaning” the stand the day we stopped by. She was very fun to talk to and had lots of product knowledge…and introduced us to the guard dog! Mahalo

  2. Lili Rodriguez

    Aloha Chip,

    Mahalo for your kind words, both about our products and our newsletter. I especially appreciate the comment about the newsletter because I’m the one who writes it and it’s nice to know folks are out there reading it!

    The lady who was womaning our farm stand, if she had her “guard dog” GG, was Trudi. She’s actually on vacation for the rest of this month back on the mainland but I’ll be sure to pass on your compliment to her when she returns.

    Hope we get a chance to see you at the farm again sometime!


  3. Ro Davis

    I bought a SAM’s Club can of “Ground Colombian” coffee; it also says “100% Arabica.”
    Can a coffee be 100% Arabica, and not 100 % Colombian? In my case, I believe the signage
    100% Arabica is probably true, but I guess the “Colombian content” could be much less than 100%? It could be
    only 50 % Colombian, 30% Brazilian, and 20% Honduran. Is this not correct. Sine I’m getting 100% Arabica,
    that’s better than Robusta, as you explained. But my can says only ‘”100% Arabica.” Should I also be looking for “100% Colombian” also?

    Thanks for your reply.
    Ron Davis

    1. Hawaii's Local Buzz

      This reply is so late — I’m very embarrassed.

      Arabica is a species of coffee tree and can be grown anywhere coffee is grown. The designation 100% Arabica just means that the beans were all from trees in the “Arabica” family. This wikipedia article might be helpful in understanding what the designation “Arabica” means. So — if you’re specifically looking for Colombian coffee, you also want to see what the percentage of the beans are FROM Colombia. Both Arabica and Robusta species of coffee plants are grown in Colombia.

      Of course, we recommend buying Hawaiian, rather than Colombian, coffee, and specifically buying our 100% Arabica, 100% Hawaiian, 100% Ka’u (the district on the Big Island of Hawaii where our coffee is grown) coffee. It’s a lot more expensive than the cans of Colombian coffee you can buy at Sam’s Club, but we think it’s worth the price.


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