COFFEE VARIETIES

There are more than 125 species of coffee known in the world today, though only two of them are commercially viable: Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora. In specialty coffee, we primarily focus on Arabica coffee, the species that is the grown at higher elevation, contains about half the caffeine, and is generally more nuanced, floral, and sweet than Canephora (Robusta). Within the species Arabica there are countless varieties and cultivars, creating a vast coffee family tree that represents a variety of coffee plant appearances, crop performance, and cup characteristics.

Of the many variables that impact the ultimate taste and quality of a coffee, the plant’s botanical lineage and genetic heritage play a significant—but not solo—part. We know that in addition to the pedigree of the coffee itself, things like terroir, ripe picking, post-harvest processing, and even roasting and brewing will have considerable influence over how a coffee tastes. However, knowing a bit about varieties and cultivars can help us predict how a particular coffee might cup out.

There are many different scientific studies happening around the coffee world in order to catalog, qualify, develop, test, and unlock coffee’s myriad varieties, and we at Cafe Imports are interested in pursuing our own knowledge of how isolating individual types of coffee might impact flavor, as well as impact farmers (and consumers). We are happy to share that knowledge with you here, and to update it as we learn and grow in our understanding.

ABYSSINIA

Derivation: Ethiopian Landrace

Location of Origin:Ethiopia

Origin Story: Wild or native Arabica type discovered in SW Ethiopia, brought to Indonesia (Java) in 1928

BATIAN

Batian, Chania Estate, Kenya

Derivation: Ruiru 11 x SL-28, SL-34, Rume Sudan, N39, K7, SL4, Timor Hybrid

Location of Origin: Kenya

Origin Story: Kenyan Coffee Research Institute bred and released in 2010

BLUE MOUNTAIN

Derivation: Typica related

Location of Origin: Jamaica

Origin Story: Clippings of Typica plant brought to Jamaica (1728–1730)

BOURBON

Pink Bourbon

Orange Bourbon, Finca Las Nubes

Yellow Bourbon

Red Bourbon, Finca Las Nubes, El Salvador

Derivation: Typica related

Location of Origin:Île Bourbon

Origin Story: Naturally occurring Typica mutation; selected from Ethiopian coffee cultivated in Yemen transplanted to Bourbon Island (now Réunion) in 18c

CASTILLO

Castillo, Colombia

Derivation: F10 Variedad Colombia x Caturra

Location of Origin: Colombia, general

Origin Story: Developed by Cenicafe to replace the no-longer-leaf-rust-resistant Variedad Colombia; released 2005

CATIMOR

Derivation: Caturra x Timor Hybrid

Location of Origin: Portugal; Brazil

Origin Story: Bred by CIFC, Portugal (1959); tested in Angola and Brazil; released in Brazil (1970). “Catimor” also refers to a family of similar hybrids

CATUAI

Catuai, Nicaragua

Derivation: Mundo Novo x Caturra

Location of Origin: Brazil

Origin Story: Cross of Caturra and Mundo Novo made by Instituto Agronômico de Campinas, Brazil; released in 1972

CATURRA

Caturra

Derivation: Bourbon related

Location of Origin: Brazil

Origin Story: Naturally occurring dwarf Bourbon mutation discovered in Minas Gerais, Brazil (1915–1918) and later selected for cultivation (1937)

COLOMBIA

Colombia

Derivation: Catimor type (Caturra x Timor Hybrid)

Location of Origin: Colombia

Origin Story: Developed as a disease-resistant, productive hybrid by Cenicafe (1968–1982); released 1985. One of the earliest Catimors

FRENCH MISSION

Derivation: Bourbon related

Location of Origin: Kenya

Origin Story: Coffees transplanted to Kenya from Île Bourbon in late 19c by French missionaries the Holy Ghost Fathers (1895)

GESHA (1931)

Derivation: Ethiopian Landrace

Location of Origin: Ethiopia; Tanzania

Origin Story: Landrace type collected by British (1936); sent to CATIE via Tanzania (1953); subsequently planted in Panama

GESHA (1956)

Derivation: Ethiopian Landrace

Location of Origin: Ethiopia; Malawi

Origin Story: Landrace variety brought to Malawi from CATIE (1956)

IHCAFE 90

Derivation: Catimor type (Caturra x Timor Hybrid)

Location of Origin: Honduras

Origin Story: Hybrid cross of Caturra with Timor Hybrid developed by the Instituto Hondureño del Café (IHCAFE)

KUDUME/KURUME

Kudhumi Kurume, Ethiopia

Derivation: Ethiopian Landrace

Location of Origin: Ethiopia

Origin Story: Smaller-size landrace variety found in Ethiopia

MARACATURRA

Maracaturra, Nicaragua

Derivation: Maragogype x Caturra

Location of Origin: Brazil

Origin Story: Purported to be a naturally occurring cross of Maragogype and Caturra discovered in Brazil (19c)

MARAGOGYPE

Derivation: Typica related

Location of Origin: Brazil

Origin Story: Naturally occuring Typica mutation discovered in Brazil (1870); has large leaves, fruit, seeds, and internodes

Maragogype, Santuario Sul, BRazil

MIBIRIZI

Derivation: Typica and/or Bourbon related

Location of Origin: Guatemala; Rwanda

Origin Story: Introduced from Guatemala to Rwanda (1910s); distributed to Mibirizi in western Rwanda (1920s). Possible Typica-Bourbon cross

MOKKA

Derivation: Bourbon related

Location of Origin: Yemen; Brazil; Hawaii

Origin Story: A naturally occurring dwarf mutation of Bourbon related to Yemen accession; introduced to Hawaii from Brazil (1950s–1960s)

MUNDO NOVO

Derivation: Typica x Bourbon

Location of Origin: Brazil

Origin Story: Naturally occurring cross of Typica and Bourbon discovered in Brazil (1943)

PACAMARA

Derivation: Pacas x Maragogype

Location of Origin: El Salvador

Origin Story: Cross between Pacas (dwarf Bourbon type) and Maragogype (Typica family); Salvadoran Institute of Coffee Research (ISIC)

PACAS

Pacas, El Salvador

Derivation: Bourbon related

Location of Origin: El Salvador

Origin Story: Naturally occurring dwarf Bourbon mutation discovered in El Salvador (1949)

PACHE

Pache, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Derivation: Typica related

Location of Origin: Guatemala

Origin Story: Natural occurring dwarf mutation of Bourbon discovered on a single farm in Guatemala (1949)

ROBUSTA


Location of Origin:
Western Africa, various

Derivation: Variety of C. Canephora

Origin Story: Common variety of C. Canephora

Robusta, Ecuador

Robusta, Ecuado

 

 

RUIRU 11

Ruiru 11, Chania Estate, Kenya

Derivation: Complex hybrid cross

Location of Origin: Kenya

Origin Story: Hybrid cross of types including N39, SL-28, SL-34, Bourbon, Rume Sudan, Timor Hybrid, and more (1985)

SL-28

Derivation: Bourbon related

Location of Origin: Kenya

Origin Story: Selected by Scott Laboratories (1935–1939) from a line of Tanganyika Drought Resistant I trees; possible heritage to Yemen

SL-28, Santuario Sul, Brazil

SL-34

Derivation: Typica Related

Location of Origin: Kenya

Origin Story: Selected by Scott Laboratories 91935-1939) from a tree on a single farm in Kabete

TIMOR HYBRID

Timor Hybrid, Sumatra

Timor Hybrid, Sumatra

Derivation: Interspecific hybrid of C. Arabica x C. Canephora

Location of Origin: Timor

Origin Story: Naturally occurring interspecific hybrid of C. Arabica and C. Canephora discovered on Timor in 1920

TYPICA

Derivation: Derivative of Yemeni cultivar transplanted from Ethiopia

Location of Origin: Java via Yemen

Origin Story: C. Arabica root variety; mutation of one or more selections from Ethiopia in Yemen; brought to Java by the Dutch (17c)

Typica, Hacienda La Papaya, Ecuador

VILLA SARCHI

Derivation: Bourbon related

Location of Origin: Costa Rica

Origin Story: Naturally occurring dwarf Bourbon mutation discovered in Sarchi, Costa Rica (1950-60s)

Villa Sarchi, Cerro San Luis, Costa Rica