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Saturday, November 28, 2015



GUEST BLOG--By Daniel Owen. beans and robusta beans are two different species of coffee grown commercially for consumption as coffee. The general differences are those of taste, the conditions under which the two species grow and economic differences.

Taste: Arabicas have a wider taste range, between varieties. They range in taste from sweet-soft to sharp-tangy. Their unroasted smell is sometimes likened to blueberries. Their roasted smell is perfumey with fruity notes and sugary tones.
Robustas taste range is neutral to harsh and they are often described as tasting grain-like, oatmeally. Burnt tires is the description that I personally find most accurate. Their unroasted smell is often described as raw-peanutty. There are high quality robustas on the market but they are rare and reserved exclusively for the best robusta containing espressos.

Production Conditions: Arabicas are delicate, they require cool subtropical climates, lots of moisture, rich soil, shade and sun. They are subject to attack from various pests, and are extremely vulnerable to cold and bad handling. Arabicas also must be grown at a higher elevation of 600 to 2000 meters.

Robustas are hardier plants, capable of growing well at low altitudes of 200 to 800 meters, they are also less subject to problems related to pests and rough handling. They yield more pounds of finished goods per acre at a lower cost of production.

Economics: Customs and trade, supply and demand over the course of the last 150 years has determined the relative values of arabica vs. robusta beans. Generally speaking, the best coffees are all arabicas and the highest quality blends are pure arabica blends. They are also the priciest.

In the U.S. you will generally find arabicas in the coffee store and specialty food shop, and robustas in the supermarket cans. Jars of instant are almost exclusively robusta.

In Italy, home of espresso, the very highest quality brands are pure arabica, and like here, the popular-priced goods are blended with robusta beans. Because "Imported from Italy" can make an ordinary supermarket quality Italian espresso a "gourmet" coffee in the U.S., you will find robustas in some Italian brands offered for sale in the United States.

The coffee you like is a very personal thing. You may find that you really prefer the all-arabica blends, or you may feel comfortable with something less, just because you like it. That's OK. The American marketplace, thanks to the Specialty Coffee movement here, is now rich enough in roast types, species, varieties, blends, brews, grinds, and price points to have something for every taste and pocketbook.

It should be noted that a low quality arabica bean cupped next to a high quality robusta will probably be the inferior bean. So, don't get too caught up in the arabica versus robusta argument. Many great espresso blends use robusta for it's strength and crema.

I should also mention that Arabica does not equal quality. Over seventy percent of the coffee grown throughout the world is arabica. Much of it is garbage so do not assume that just because you are buying arabica you are getting a quality coffee.

One other side note that must be mentioned is that Robusta has approximately twice as much caffeine as Arabica. This may be an issue for some people when choosing their coffee.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Source:’s website.  Reposted with permission.

Amid the eclectic music emanating from multiple stages at the 2014 Coachella Valley Music Festival—this was where the idea for and partnership behind Palomar Brewing Company came to be. The brainchild of Brian Fairweather and Mike Stevenson, two entrepreneurs who had individual plans to get open breweries before deciding their goals would best be achieved by pooling their energies and ambitions, the business is scheduled to open in Carlsbad “soon” if all goes smoothly.

Located just north of the intersection of El Camino Real and Palomar Airport Road (across from a Staples and Starbucks not far from Pizza Port’s Bressi Ranch facility for those who prefer landmarks to street names), the business is being installed in a warehouse at 2719 West Loker Avenue.

Fairweather works for the printing company that previously occupied that storage facility. From the get-go, he knew he wanted to place his brewery in Carlsbad, the city where he grew up and built his first business, a recording studio.

Stevenson’s road to PBC is washed over in local and international beeriness. His immersion in suds started with having a father who homebrewed. After college, the North County native worked at a small brewery in Germany before returning to San Diego and taking a job at Twisted Manzanita Ales in Santee. He is also enrolled in UCSD’s Brewing Science Program and is lined up for an internship at White Labs this fall. But that’s not all. He recently completed a three-week stint assisting at a nanobrewery on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Once open, Stevenson will be in charge of brewing while Fairweather continues to oversee the business aspects of PBC. There are no plans for offering “core beers.” Instead, Stevenson will brew a variety of styles on the business’ 15-barrel system, allowing feedback from customers to help carve out his ultimate direction. He says he realizes IPAs are engrained in the San Diego beer culture, but wants to brew styles hailing from Belgium, Germany and the U.K. That said, numerous all-American brews will also be on tap, including a hoppy blonde, session IPA and stout. With plenty of room for barrel-aging, that will also be a focus as soon as PBC begins brewing.


Media Note:  West Coaster craft beer magazine and website; North Park News, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles, and MidCity Newspaper Group media partners of Pillar to Post online daily magazine.