Caffeine Content Doesn’t Lie! Does Starbucks Use Cheap Robusta Beans After All?

There are two major varieties of the coffee plant:  Arabica and robusta.  All the best tasting coffee, imbued with rich, subtle flavor, is made from arabica beans.  Harsher and more bitter coffees are brewed from robusta beans.  The only reason robusta varieties are used at all is that they are hardier plants and cheaper to grow and harvest. 

Robusta coffee plants survive better than arabica coffee plants because robusta beans produce and contain about twice the amount of caffeine as arabica beans.  Because caffeine is a powerful insecticide and anti-microbial agent, the extra caffeine helps protect the robusta coffee plants from pests.


A recent Consumer Reports study demonstrated that a 12 ounce cup Starbucks coffee contains nearly twice the caffeine content of an equal size cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.  So, it would appear that the coffee beans Starbucks uses have twice the caffeine as the coffee beans Dunkin’ Donuts uses.  Now, it is a fact that no arabica beans have nearly twice the caffeine content of any other arabica beans.  So, figure it out for yourself.  Starbucks claims to use arabica beans.  But the evidence of the caffeine content of its coffee puts the truth of that boast into considerable doubt!

Starbucks' Robusta Coffee vs. Dunkin' Donuts Arabica Coffee?

Of course, Dunkin’ Donuts uses a medium roast, which brings out the full flavor of its coffee.  Starbucks burns its beans, rendering them so uniformly bitter that it impossible to guess their humble origin by tasting.  Is it any wonder that Dunkin’ Donuts consistently tops the list of blind taste tests and Starbucks invariably falls to the bottom?

Starbucks Bitter Coffee Brew



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2 Responses to Caffeine Content Doesn’t Lie! Does Starbucks Use Cheap Robusta Beans After All?

  1. J. says:

    Yes Starbucks does use Robusta beans, or they at least mix them into their coffee beans maybe a ratio of 75/25 or 80/20 with the majority being Robusta. You can tell that they use Robusta beans since pretty much ALL of their coffees taste burnt, or their “light” roast coffee does not taste like a light roast coffee and tastes sour. Robusta beans burn while Arabica beans do not burn nearly as easily at low or standard temperatures for roasting coffee.