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Arabica and Robusta production divide in 2013

From the January 2013 issue.

While Arabica used to account for between 65 and 70 per cent of the world’s global output, in the latest crop cycle Robusta’s share has crept up to 40 per cent. A look at why this shifting balance is a result of boosted global demand.

In times of economic crisis, the world is drinking more coffee than ever. It’s a development that took many by surprise, that consumer demand has proven to be so resilient to negative growth.

At the retail level, however, roasters have struggled to keep prices at bay, fully aware of reduced household incomes, especially in the Euro zone across southern Europe. One way of coping has been looking out for cheaper beans, and for many the answer has come in the form of Robusta.

“In Italy it’s all been about Robusta for years, but until about four years ago we still maintained a balance of 55 per cent Arabica to 45 per cent Robusta. Today, it’s moved to between 55 and 60 per cent Robusta and 40 to 45 per cent Arabica,” says Elio Vercelli, Sales Representative for Green Elite Coffee, which imports some 750,000 60-kilogram bags of green coffee a year.

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