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Varietals

There are currently 130 known species under the Coffea genus. Of that, there are only a few that are used globally. Arabica, clearly being the most popular for it's superior cup profile. 

Detailed below, you will find information on all the Arabica coffee varietals our offer list is comprised of. 

Bourbon

One of the most cul­tur­al­ly and genet­i­cal­ly impor­tant C. ara­bi­ca vari­eties in the world, known for excel­lent qual­i­ty in the cup at the high­est altitudes.Bourbon is the most famous of the Bourbon-descended varieties. It is a tall variety characterized by relatively low production, susceptibility to the major diseases, and excellent cup quality. French missionaries introduced Bourbon from Yemen to Bourbon Island (now La Réunion)—giving it the name it has today—in the early 1700s. Until the mid-19th century, Bourbon did not leave the island. But beginning in the mid-1800s, the variety spread to new parts of the world as the missionaries moved to establish footholds in Africa and the Americas. The Bourbon variety was introduced to Brazil around 1860, and from there rapidly spread north into other parts of South and Central America, where it is still cultivated today. Here it became mixed with other Bourbon-related varieties, introduced from India as well as Ethiopian landraces. Nowadays, there are many Bourbon-like varieties found in East Africa, but none exactly match the distinct Bourbon variety that can be found in Latin America. Today in Latin America, Bourbon itself has largely been replaced by varieties that descend from it (notably including Caturra, Catuai, and Mundo Novo), although Bourbon itself it is still cultivated in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru.

Castillo

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Catimor

High-yield­ing vari­ety, resis­tant to rust, and adapt­ed to warmest zones and acidic soils.

A selection of a cross between Timor Hybrid 832/1 and Caturra. In Central American coffee breeding, T8667 is an important coffee leaf-rust-resistant plant. T8667 has its origins with the earliest days of the Central American regional consortium called PROMECAFE, which was founded in 1978 with funding from USAID’s Regional Office for Central American Programs (ROCAP) and Instituto Agronômico de Campinas (IAC) in Brazil to respond to the threat posed by the recent arrival of coffee leaf rust in the region.In 1978, the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) research station in Costa Rica received fifth generation (F5) progeny of T8667 from the University Federal de Viçosa in Brazil, which had done initial selection on populations created from a cross of Timor Hybrid 832/1 and Caturra at the Centro de Investigação das Ferrugens do Cafeeiro of Portugal (CIFC). Their designation for the cross was H26. In Central America, it was given the designation T-8667 (“T” represents Turrialba, where the CATIE research station is based). Private farms in Central America did further "mass selection" of T-8667 ("mass selection" means that a group of individuals are selected based on their superior performance, seed from these plants is bulked to form a new generation, and then the process is repeated), and seed from these experiments was distributed throughout the region, particularly in the late 1980s. In Costa Rica, CATIE performed additional selection of T-8667 to create Costa Rica 95; IHCAFE in Honduras did the same to create the variety Lempira; and El Salvador did the same to create Catisic.In 1958 or 1959, the CIFC, famous for its research into coffee leaf rust, received a lot of Timor Hybrid seeds from the island of Timor. Timor Hybrid is a natural cross between C. arabica and C. canephora (Robusta) that appeared spontaneously on the island of Timor in 1920s. It’s Robusta genetics conferred rust resistance into the variety. From the two shipments of seeds that CIFC received, they selected two plants for use in breeding based on their high resistance to leaf rust. In 1967, breeders in Portugal began work to create new varieties of coffee that would be resistant to the disease, but also have a compact stature that could be planted more densely. Some of the rust-resistant Timor Hybrid lines were crossed with compact Caturra to create different hybrid lines:Red Caturra CIFC 19/1 x HDT CIFC 832/1 = HW26Red Caturra CIFC 19/1 x HDT CIFC 832/2 = H46After some initial testing at IAC in Brazil, the hybrids were dubbed “Catimor.” They were created just in time for the arrival of leaf rust in the Americas. From CIFC, derivatives of these original Catimor crosses were distributed throughout the world for additional local selection and eventual release to farmers. It’s important to note that, contrary to common belief, Catimor is not a distinct variety. Instead, it is a group of many different distinct varieties with similar parentage.In Malawi, the Coffee Research Unit of the Tea Research Foundation adopted five Catimor progenies. In Papua New Guinea, six Catimor lines were selected and released. Catimors have also undergone generational selection and field testing in many places in Latin America.

Catuai

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Catucai

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Caturra

A com­pact plant with good yield­ing poten­tial of stan­dard qual­i­ty in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. Very high sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to cof­fee leaf rust.Caturra is a natural mutation of the Bourbon variety. It was discovered on a plantation in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil sometime between 1915 and 1918.Caturra has a single-gene mutation that causes the plant to grow smaller (called Dwarf/Compactism). Its name derives from the Guarani word meaning "small." It is also called "Nanico." After Caturra’s discovery, selections were made by the Instituto Agronomico (IAC) of Sao Paulo State in Campinas, Brazil, starting in 1937. Breeders were interested in Caturra’s small size, which allows plants to be placed closer together, and its closely spaced secondary branches, which enable it to produce more fruit in the same space.The selection process for Caturra was called mass selection, meaning that a group of individuals are selected based on their superior performance, seed from these plants is bulked to form a new generation, and then the process is repeated. The variety was never officially released in Brazil, but has become common in Central America.It was introduced in Guatemala in the 1940s, but widespread commercial adoption didn’t happen for another three decades. From Guatemala, it was introduced to Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama. For decades, it was one of the most economically important coffees in Central America, to the extent that it was often used (and sometimes still is) as a “benchmark” against which new cultivars are tested. In Colombia, Caturra was thought to represent nearly half of the country’s production until a government-sponsored program beginning in 2008 incentivised renovation of over three billion coffee trees with the leaf-rust resistant Castillo variety (which has Caturra parentage).Caturra led in part to the intensification of coffee cultivation through higher density planting, often in full sun, that took place in the region in the second half of the 20th century.Caturra is also known for being one of the parents the so-called “Catimor” family of cultivars. Various lines of the coffee-leaf-rust-resistant Timor Hybrid were crossed with Caturra to produce a Dwarf/Compact plant with rust resistance. Examples of Catimor varieties include: [Costa Rica 95] (/varieties/costa-rica-95), [Catisic] (/varieties/catisic), [Lempira] (/varieties/lempira), and IHCAFE 90.For more information on the history of the Catimor group, see [T8667] (/varieties/t8667).

Colombia

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Mundo Novo

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SL14

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SL28

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Typica

One of the most cul­tur­al­ly and genet­i­cal­ly impor­tant C. ara­bi­ca cof­fees in the world, with high qual­i­ty in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. Very high sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to cof­fee leaf rust, well-adapt­ed to the cold­est conditions.

ypica is the most famous of the Typica-descended varieties. It is a tall variety characterized by very low production, susceptibility to the major diseases, and good cup quality.The Typica group, like all Arabica coffee, is supposed to have originated in southwestern Ethiopia. Sometime in the 15th or 16th century, it was taken to Yemen. By 1700, seeds from Yemen were being cultivated in India. In 1696 and 1699, coffee seeds were sent from the Malabar coast of India to the island of Batavia (today called Java in Indonesia). These few seeds were the ones to give rise to what we now know as the distinct Typica variety. In 1706 a single Typica coffee plant was taken from Java to Amsterdam and given a home in the botanical gardens; from there, a plant was shared with France in 1714.From the Netherlands, Typica was sent in 1719 on colonial trade routes to Dutch Guiana (now Suriname) and then on to Cayenne (French Guiana) in 1722, and from there to the northern part of Brazil in 1727. It reached southern Brazil between 1760 and 1770. From Paris, plants were sent to to Martinique in the West Indies in 1723. The English introduced Typica coffee from Martinique to Jamaica in 1730. It reached Santo Domingo in 1735. From Santo Domingo, seeds were sent to Cuba in 1748. Later on, Costa Rica (1779) and El Salvador (1840) received seeds from Cuba.In the late eighteenth century, cultivation spread to the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo), Mexico and Colombia, and from there across Central America (it was grown in El Salvador as early as 1740). Until the 1940s, the majority of coffee plantations in South and Central America were planted with Typica. Because Typica is both low yielding and highly susceptible to major coffee diseases, it has gradually been replaced across much of the Americas, but is still widely planted in Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, where it is called Jamaica Blue Mountain.

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