That first coffee is something to look forward to when your feet hit the floor in the morning. The smell, taste and caffeine buzz of a good coffee is the perfect way to start the day.
Whether you are an expert barista or someone who just loves a good cup of espresso, that strong flavour is a great way to get going. But what type of coffee are you drinking?
If it’s a blend, chances are you are drinking a coffee bean variety called Canephora robusta.
This coffee variety packs a punch and makes a lovely crema in each espresso shot. Surprisingly, it isn't just good for brewing your favourite coffee beverage. It's unroasted green beans also have some potential benefits as a health supplement.
There are two types of coffee plants: robusta and arabica. These two types contain many more plant varieties, each suited to different growing conditions and producing a distinct flavor.
Arabica beans tend to create a milder coffee blend with less bitterness, which makes it a popular choice for brewed coffee.
Robusta is like it sounds: the flavor is robust and strong, with nutty notes. It is often sold in pre-ground coffee blends. One particularly popular variety of robusta is Canephora robusta.
Canephora is one of the most common coffee beans in the world. It is cultivated in many regions and keeps pace with the production of the widely consumed arabica coffee bean.
The popularity of Canephora Robusta is at least partially due to its caffeine strength. Robusta has close to the highest naturally produced caffeine content available, packing a bigger jolt of energy into each cup.
This variety is thought to have early roots in Madagascar, an island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. Ethiopia also makes claims that it was part of its early growing history. However, it is Zaire where Robusta was first discovered growing in the wild.
For those who are new to the coffee world, coffee trees are evergreen bushes or shrubs. They can grow up to 30 feet tall but are usually pruned to maintain their height at around 8-10 feet. They have strong-smelling white flowers that bloom multiple times each year.
These flowers are pollinated by insects and the wind and then fade. They turn into small berry-like fruit and grow in a cluster. They begin as green, turn to yellow and then finally, deep red. Inside each fruit is the actual coffee bean.
Canephora Robusta Hits the Coffee Scene
Once the Robusta flowers produce fruit, they take time to ripen. This can take anywhere between 8-12 months. After harvest, they are dried and roasted. The roasting process adds to their rich, dark taste.
Robusta plants prefer unique growing conditions. Arabica likes a climate that is cool and has no frost, preferring higher altitudes. It is often cultivated in the mountains. In contrast, Robusta plants are content in lower altitudes with warm, humid air. Places such as Indonesia, the west coast of Africa and Vietnam are all good places for Robusta to grow.
Canephora Robusta hit the coffee scene noticeably in 2012, when it gained popularity as a weight loss supplement. The claim that rubusta supplements assist in weight loss spread quickly and sparked a health trend.
The reported health benefits were backed up by limited studies showing that certain compounds in the green, un-roasted Robusta coffee beans help reduce carbohydrate and fat absorption. There is also some evidence that it can reduce blood sugar and insulin spikes in some individuals.
Benefits from Canephora Robusta
While many of us love that first cup of coffee in the morning, Canephora Robusta beans can be used for more than a comforting coffee drink. Other products can be made from them, such as green coffee bean extract. Promising early medical trials hint that this extract could be good in helping with weight loss.
These trials are small, but the fact that the beans are full of antioxidants means that they have potential health benefits. However, the studies also show that this weight loss effect may be short-lived. It’s also important to note that these studies specifically cover the benefits of green, un-roasted robusta. Roasted coffee ground, as a supplement or in an espresso shot, doesn't have the same benefits.
Canephora Robusta in the green bean extract form may still be under the microscope for weight loss, but it is also being looked at for the benefits it has in addressing health issues such as Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's, along with the reduction in the risk of certain pathologies such as cancer. Studies continue in all these areas.
Scientists have revealed that coffee beans aren’t just a source of caffeine and flavor. The fresh green beans are loaded with antioxidants and Chlorogenic Acid. When the beans are roasted, they lose a lot of the Chlorogenic Acid, so your latte macchiato probably isn't the next superfood. Green is better for any health benefits. The extract of raw Canephora Robusta holds all the good compounds, as well as significant caffeine content.
Choosing Canephora Robusta
Canephora Robusta is a good choice for green coffee or green coffee bean extract. The plant itself is high in caffeine and is more plentiful than Arabica as it offers a higher crop yield. It is probably one of the most well-known strains to hit the weight loss market. Many companies have chosen to use it in their products so it can be found under different brand names.
Canephora Robusta as a supplement should always be taken after consulting with a health care professional. Each person is different and has their unique health profile, so it is important to make sure that this supplement is suitable before adding it to your health care plan. Canephora has been found to sometimes cause reactions when interacting with various medications. This happens more frequently when taken at higher dosages.
Final Thoughts on The Canephora Robusta
Canephora Robusta packs a punch when it comes to both coffee and health. While it offers a great caffeine kick in the form of a drink, the green bean extract offers some health benefits as supplement. The caffeine is lower than when the bean is roasted, and the Chlorogenic Acid is high for better health benefits.
Stop in at your health food store or a place where there is a coffee specialist so you can get the Canephora Robusta in both forms and learn what benefits might be waiting for you.