We have written lots of about coffee varieties, but have never really explained them in detail, or what varieties exist and are commercially known. This topic is extensive, and we will dig in deeper in small steps for each of these varieties in our next blogs. So, don't forget to subscribe and become a coffee Grand Master (Don't worry we will never share or spam your email, we don't like it with ours, and it won't happen to yours).
What is a coffee variety?
Varieties are the different types of coffee that have particular characteristics such as taste & after-taste, colour, shape, and smell. Let's say one kind of coffee tastes slightly like apple, and the other one is sourer, chances are that these are two different varieties.
How do coffee varieties come into existence?
Coffee is an excellent plant, many of the coffee varieties have emerged due to natural selection by a process known as cross-pollination, these type of varieties are called Varieties. Meanwhile, other varieties appeared with a little human intervention by a process called selective breeding and are known as cultivars.
Similar to humans; let's assume humans are coffee. There are Colombian people and Canadians each with different characteristics. When the two mix they have Colombo-Canadian children or another type of humans/coffee that share characteristics of both Colombians and Canadians.
Cross-pollination occurs when pollen from one flower (coffee flowers` and coffee "cherries" in the pictures above) and variety gets on the stems of other flower and variety through a natural medium, like a bee that is jumping from flower to flower. When this happens, the DNA of the plants get mixed resulting in fruits that share similarities between the two; creating a different kind or variety.
In selective breeding, the most common practice is that instead of a bee pollinating it is a human doing the pollination between varieties. All coffees today are Non-GMO coffee and let's hope it keeps that way, except if you buy coffee that has added ingredients such as flavourings and additives usually from soy or corn derivatives that are themselves GMO foods. (GMO Legislation, National Coffee Association)
Most commercial coffee varieties and cultivars are known and preserved due to their cultivation traits such as amount of production, quality of coffee also known as cup quality, and disease resistance.
What are the most commonly known Breeds (Varieties & Cultivars)?
There are more than 65 different breeds of coffee but we will narrow it down to a few of the most common as many of the other breeds are not easily cultivated or commercialized. There are two main families:
Robusta: Lower Quality Coffee (Low Flavour), High resistance to pests and diseases when in cultivation. has a more straight "s" in most cases similar to an straight line.
Arabica: Higher Quality Coffee (Better Taste, Smell & After Taste), highly susceptible to diseases when in cultivation, high maintenance. Yet, because of its good coffee is the most commercialized and used for varieties. Has a more prominent "s" shape.
Typica: Small, elongated, and thin. The first coffee in the new world. Low production but excellent quality. Sweet acidity, Apple or pear tone, medium body.
Bourbon: Round & wide. 20% to 30% more production than Typica. Bourbons have fruity characteristics and an acidity similar to wine.
Caturra: Natural variation of the Bourbon; higher production than Bourbon. It’s more disease resistant than older traditional varietals. It has lemon and lime notes with a slight fruity character. Used natural and pure in kafetero coffee.
Maragogipe: Natural variant of the Typica. Large bean size (also known as elephant beans), low production compared to Typica and Bourbon. Woody tone, heavy body, low acidity. The better the soil the more flavour it develops.
Geisha: It has become know as Geisha but it was initially spelled as Gesha originally from Gesha, Ethiopia. Derived from Typica. Thin, elongated seeds and low production. Jasmine and vanilla tones.
Catuai: Cross between Mundo Novo and Caturra. Rounded and small body. Resistant to weather changes. Sweet tones, light body.
Catimor: Cross between Timor coffee and Caturra. High production, disease resistant, grown on shade. Sour acidity, almost salty or stringent; may be because of its Robusta inheritance.
Kafetero is a new generation of coffee farmers who are leading the coffee revolution on natural practices to protect the environment and your health. Meanwhile, offering high-quality coffee. You can buy kafetero coffee here, we recommend purchasing a light roast as it is better to know when coffee is good because it will have a strong flavour without needing to roast too much, some people will prefer the slight change on flavour with each roast, buying light coffee is just our recommendation. That is why we offer an special on two bags and free shipping so you have the opportunity to order different blends and find out what you like; or double the fun.
We will expand on coffee topics, for health, tastes and so on to amplify your knowledge of coffee. So don't forget to subscribe and become a coffee connoisseur.
100% Colombian, 100% Organic, 100% Rainforest Alliance, 100% Fair/Direct Trade helping the farmers and their families progress.