After visiting Heirloom Coffee last weekend (video to come), I feel like I have a special soft spot for Vietnamese coffee.
Not only was it delicious, I learned why the types of beans grown there – mainly robusta – are different from what we are accustomed to as coffeehouse style, arabica.
Robusta is on the decline because the bean is more bitter in taste, but for me it’s much more fulfilling and tasty (and has a higher caffeine content). American coffee drinkers are on the trend of arabica beans, hurting robusta sales the past few years. Basically, arabica is the current trend and thought of as being more complex. This is also more widely grown so there are several varieties based on growing conditions
And now the decline is expected to not be due to lack of demand but because of weather, BusinessWeek reported. There could be as much as a 20 percent decline in production for 2012 – 2013 due to rains and aging trees, the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association told the publication.
This to me is so sad because there used to be so many different types of beans, but this will further push arabica to become the only bean, and the diversity of coffee plants could further die out.