Coffee in Italy; Robusta vs Arabica

Espresso machine with two espressos brewing.  Photo by David Lundgren on Unsplash

Because the last post was about roasting, my brain made the connections of dark roast, espresso, Italy, and robusta coffee. I was reminded of this article published around New Year’s Day about how difficult it is for specialty coffee to catch on in Italy. The Washington Post published an article on January 3 called, “Italy invented coffee culture. Now it’s a coffee time capsule.”

Italian coffee tends to rely on blends that include the cheaper Robusta beans, noted for their bitterness and lack of acidity, and common in instant coffee.


Kenneth David, the Berkeley, Calif.-based editor in chief of the Coffee Review consumer report, said a few big Italian roasters use “pretty close to the worst [beans] in the world,” but Italian baristas have the machines and craftsmanship to make the most of what they have. 

Our coffee is Kona typica, a variety of arabica coffee from Guatemala, adapted to Kona’s unique climate & soil. It’s the predominant coffee variety grown in the Kona districts for over 100 years. Kona typica’s flavor is what set the bar for the heritage flavor profile of Kona coffee.

I stumbled across another article from ten years ago authored by Jerry Baldwin, co-founder of Starbucks in Seattle, who was the first coffee buyer and roaster. “For Good Espresso, Insist on Arabica.”

I know our Bea’s Knees Farm coffee has caught on with at least two Italians living in the US. I know one uses an AeroPress. The other makes espresso with a Rancilio Silvia machine and a Rocky grinder. Serious home-made coffee.

To learn a little more about arabica vs. robusta here are two articles I think are fairly informative:

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