What Does “100% Arabica” Mean? All the Things Behind that Label


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Have you ever encountered a bag of coffee classified as gourmet coffee, premium coffee, and specialty coffee, which claim that they’re “100% arabica”?

When buying coffee in grocery stores or supermarkets, the one thing we often check is the label. Most of us probably use the terms on the packaging to measure the quality of the coffee. Where coffee experts say that the best quality beans you can obtain are labeled “specialty coffee,” which is 100% Arabica beans.

But what’s the significance behind this label? Is it worth it to have only Arabica beans in your coffee? Let’s find out in this post what this label really is all about.

Arabica Coffee is High Quality

The label indicates that the coffee is of high quality. Most coffee lovers prefer it as it’s the highest grade of coffee available. That is why many consumers around the world most love Arabica coffee than Robusta.

So, let’s start with the type of coffee bean. Why it’s always “100% Arabica”? And why there’s no coffee labeled as “100% Robusta beans”?

To further understand it, you need to know the differences between the two.

Technically, there are four main types of coffee species, which the Liberica and Excelsa are included. But Arabica and Robusta beans are the two main categories of coffee varieties. And they are the most commercial coffee beans produced and traded worldwide.

If you’re fun buying coffee at supermarkets, most of the bags you purchased are labeled Arabica, Robusta, or Blend (might be a mixture of Arabica and Robusta).

However, that doesn’t mean those mentioned coffee species are the same in terms of quality, price, and taste. There are several reasons why people and the industry mostly prefer Arabica to Robusta.

So, why Arabica and not the other types of coffee? That is because amongst them, Arabica is only the highest quality coffee.

Focus what does 100% arabica mean

The Coffee Claims “100% Arabica” Beans 

Usually, the term “100% Arabica” is used and included in the packaging to claim that the coffee bag contains Arabica beans only, and nothing else. Hence the term “100%.”

This part is also the main reason why such a label exists to deliver information about the bag’s contents.

But what’s the difference? What happens if I combined Arabica and Robusta beans? Will it affect the taste of my cup? Or can I also label it as “50-50 Arabica and Robusta”?

There’s nothing wrong with having a combined blend. But the thing is, if the bag is composed of beans from different varieties (i.e., Arabica and Robusta), especially espresso blends, you can’t expect that the coffee can produce the same cup quality as the pure Arabica ones.

Robusta is perceived to be much lower in quality than Arabica. It is often associated with a rubbery and burnt taste due to high caffeine content and low sugar levels.

In contrast, Arabica is more prominent, which produces better-tasting coffee. So, if you mixed the high-quality coffee beans with low-quality ones, the overall coffee quality will degrade immensely, including the price.

The Label Targets the Specialty Market

There are two types of companies in the coffee industry—those that target the specialty market and those focusing on commercial retail.

So, when you label a coffee as “100% Arabica,” that thing targets the specialty coffee status, which means the coffee may sell at higher prices.

These are the companies, roasters, or retailers who weren’t adding Robusta to their blends to differentiate themselves from the commodity coffees’ rising popularity. In that case, this label is essential to advertise their coffee as being higher in quality.

On the other hand, some brands add Robusta beans to the batch of Arabica to increase their volume, lower their costs, and provide a different combination.

Robusta coffee is mainly used in lower-quality blends or instant coffee because the beans are cheaper. They’re also more comfortable to grow and mass-produce at similarly low prices than Arabica.

So, that means the label isn’t necessary to include in this case because they’ve already targeted the commercial market.

The Label is a Marketing Strategy? 

It’s not always true that all the coffees labeled as 100% Arabica are still the highest quality coffee available.

Sometimes, it’s indeed a marketing strategy to attract more consumers to delve into the product. It’s not necessarily that the coffee label should be interpreted as a sign of quality or superiority.

Remember that even standard Arabica beans can achieve a better cup than those so-called “100% Arabica beans”. As long as they are sorted and prepared to produce zero defects, that product can become specialty grade coffee.

Focus what does 100% arabica mean

Is the Label Accurate and True?

In my opinion, it may depend on the situation. But some people say that coffee beans that have been labeled 100% Arabica is not always authentic. 

Arabica is well-known for providing a more superior taste and aroma. So, this is an opportunity for some companies to include these labels in their products.

However, that thing does not necessarily depict the quality of their coffee beans. Therefore, sometimes, these labels are meant to attract buyers who aren’t knowledgeable enough and are hyped with the specialty coffee experience. 

Additionally, the quality and taste profile of Arabica may depend on different variables. As we always say, growing conditions also affect a coffee’s flavor. It means that even the beans are so-called “100% Arabica,” the quality still degrades if not developed into an environment that meets the standard growing climate.

Accuracy and honestly isn’t constantly given in the label. In short, don’t always use this “100% arabica” label behind the coffee package to determine the bean’s quality.

Instead, use this as a rough guide or a baseline to explore the taste. This thing is more of a statement of information to give that particular coffee a try.

Should You Buy Coffee Labeled as “100% Arabica?”

As mentioned above, you should be careful about purchasing coffee at grocery stores. Sometimes, coffee beans that have been labeled 100% Arabica is not always right.

So, to be safe, avoid picking bags of coffee beans just anywhere. Just because Arabica coffee is the best, it doesn’t mean you should also buy many bags of Arabica beans in the supermarket selves. Sometimes, you need to have a research and rough guide in buying Arabica beans.

Forget the label and buy the best coffee beans directly from a trusted local roaster instead. You should explore local roasters nearby and start trying their coffee. In the end, you are sure that you’re obtaining freshly roasted beans and also probably getting high-quality coffee.

Having Trouble Choosing the Right Coffee Beans? You Might Want to Read: How to Choose the Right Coffee Beans that Suit Your Preference