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19 Coffee Varieties

Multiple sacks of coffee.

There are many varieties of coffee that can be grown using horticulture or agriculture techniques. Our periodic table of coffee cultivars includes every notable coffee cultivar from ancient times to the current day.

Various Coffee Cultivars

The following are various coffee cultivars known to mankind:

1. Ethiopian Cultivar and Landraces

Despite the fact that some “heirloom” varieties are still regularly grown, the term “landrace” is becoming more common for these.

There is a wide variety of genetic variations and extensive effort in Ethiopia’s woodlands and mountains. People of Ethiopia select and breed coffee in large quantities. They also use it for cultivation. Since the variation is extensive, the term “heirloom” is inaccurate. The term “indigenous heirloom variety” is frequently applied to hybrids and selected cultivars. For the first time in Ethiopia, comprehensive documentation has been made available to the general public in an easy-to-follow format. You can easily get a copy, add it to your library, follow the instructions, and start the cultivation.

2. Sudan Rume

An indigenous arabica coffee forest in the Boma Plateau region of South Sudan produced the raw materials for this blend, which is named after a local landrace. Sudan Rume, a low-yielding but highly prized plant, is a genetic donor for other plants because of its flavor and modest disease resistance. Batian, Castillo, Centroamericano, and Ruiru 11 are just a few of the hybrids that integrate Sudan Rume’s genes.

3. The Yemeni Landraces

Despite the fact that Yemen has a Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, its efforts have not been committed to the creation of coffee cultivars. Ethiopian landraces have not been documented in Yemeni history. Hence, most Yemeni coffees are thought to be landraces that developed independently on the Arabian Peninsula. Typica and Bourbon originate in this location. However, most Yemeni coffee growers don’t use these terms to describe their trees. Udain and Bura’a are two examples of indigenous landraces that bear the name of the place they are grown on.

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Mokha or Mocha was initially used in Europe in the 17th century to denote Yemeni coffee. Even though Yemeni coffee was once referred to as “Mokha” botanically, it was only one of many Arabian Peninsula port cities where the commodity was handled. It didn’t take long for “coffee” to become a generic name for the product, even if none is cultivated there.

4. Typica

Typica coffee beans.

Arabica’s first commercial variety of coffee from the Arabian Peninsula was an unknown landrace that originated in Yemen in the 15th century, where it prospered and developed over time. The Indian Sufi pilgrim Baba Budan or the Dutch trader Pieter van der Broeke may have stolen a Typica tree from Mokha and transported it to Amsterdam’s botanical garden in 1616 to meet their culinary needs.

Typica is a striking tree in the wild due to its conical shape and long, narrow leaves. Typica and Jamaican Blue Mountain are genetically identical, despite what some farmers assert. The Typica endemic to Mexico is known as Pluma Hidalgo.

5. Bourbon

It was from Yemeni landraces that Bourbon and Typica, the second most frequently grown type of Arabica, were selected. Mokha court loved France’s representation and gave the country 60 coffee trees when they decided to plant them on Bourbon Island, now known as La Réunion. Following their shipment on September 25, 1715, just 20 trees arrived in La Réunion. From these original trees, colonists were able to grow 117 saplings, and by 1719, there were several hundred healthy trees.

When Bourbon trees, with their red fruit, spread across the Americas, they displaced the indigenous Typica species. It was brought to Tanzania’s central coast towns of Zanzibar and Bagamoyo by French missionaries from Bourbon in 1868 as well. Bourbon trees can be found in a wide variety of shapes and flavors throughout East Africa.

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When compared to Bourbon trees, Typicas have slenderer, more straight-leaved limbs. These plants, which have bigger leaves, produce more spherical fruit and fewer ovoid seeds. It is supposed to be one of the most prevalent varieties of coffee in the market.

6. Gesha

Gesha has a long and interesting history in Ethiopian beer. Kenyan coffee from the forests surrounding Kaffa was brought to Britain in 1931, and seeds from these plants travelled to Uganda and Tanzania in 1936. A second journey and collection took place the following year. T.W.D. Blore, a British botanist, living in Kenya, notes the plant’s “long hanging, abundant secondary growth, short, thin leaflets and bronze tips.”

A vast range of environmental conditions, including elevation, rainfall, soil and nutrients, and many other variables, influence the characteristics of these cultivars. Therefore, no one should be surprised that Gesha trees are not all the same height and have the same flavor. It is said and believed that wild Arabica is intrinsically different.

With Gesha’s new standard for cup quality, the coffee industry has been revived. Other cultivars can’t simply match it.

The name Gesha was inspired by the Ethiopian settlement. It was first cultivated in the 1950s and reappeared in the 2000s as a rust-resistant crop. Boquete-grown coffee sells at a premium at auction because of its location in Panama’s Chiriqui Province. Geshas can be found in other countries as well, such as Honduras and Colombia. While the trees themselves are tall and thin, the leaves of these trees are long and elongated. Additionally, this variety’s cherries and beans are notably longer than those of other sorts. The best-tasting coffee appears to come from plantations located at higher elevations.

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7. Kent

Mysore, India’s Kent Doddengooda Estate created one of the earliest known rust-resistant coffee varieties around 1911. The fungus had little chance against this tree. Cookbooks from the 19th century included a recipe for Kent (the surname of the guy who discovered it) that became famous in India (a British colony then), the Indian subcontinent, Tanzania, and Kenya. A century or two ago, Kent was considered a good host for aggressive types of rust that have emerged in recent decades. Therefore, it was used to cultivate plants to extract good-tasting coffee.

8. Java

Java coffee beans.

Java may have been created by using landraces from Ethiopia. The best records reveal that the Dutch researcher P.J.S. Cramer plucked a few mother trees in Ethiopia to begin the process of cultivating Java in 1928. Even in Java, where other arabica cultivars had failed to grow, his seeds proved successful. Despite the fact that Ethiopia was referred to at the time as Abyssinia, the cultivar is still known as Adsenia in Indonesia today.

The Java cultivar was finally introduced from Indonesia to Cameroon and Central America. Although Gesha’s morphological parallels to Typica’s are striking, its origins are significantly more obvious.

9. SL 14, SL 28, SL 32

These distinctive Kenyan specialties were made famous by Scott Agricultural Laboratories in the 1930s. In the town of Kikuyu, a halt on the Mombasa railway approximately northwest of Nairobi, SL, was created in a structure that had formerly operated as a sanatorium. The Church of Scotland Mission named it after Dr. Henry Scott in 1922 after a major agricultural supervisor migrated from Kabete and transferred resources from Nairobi. There was no study on coffee until 1934 when it was added to the facility. Scott Labs was renamed in the 1960s when it became a component of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization. Two of the most common SL coffee breeds in Kenya, as well as in Uganda, are SL28 and SL34, respectively. Drought resistance is included in several of the cultivars’ genetic makeup.

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The drought-resistant bronze-tip Tanganyika (now Tanzania) cultivar SL28 was selected and marketed in 1931. A.D. Trench, the Kenyan colony’s senior coffee officer, was the first to make this decision (who also released his own Kenya Selected varieties in the 1920s). In spite of its expectedly low yields and low disease resistance, SL28 has been widely adopted for many years.

A single tree from the Kabete French Mission, likely Bourbon trees, has been selected by Kenyans for further study. The tree’s name is SL34. It is more productive than SL28 due to its higher yield. It is also better suited for planting at lower elevations. SL28’s new growth has a bronzed tip. It has been found that SL14 and SL34 are more closely linked to Typica than Bourbon, suggesting that the French Mission lineage of coffee selection may have been incorrect after all.

Mutations

1. Caturra, Villa Sarchi, Villalobos, Pacas, Pache

It was first discovered in 1937 at the border of Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo in the Brazilian arabica catalogue as a single-gene mutant of Bourbon. It has a reduced stature, which is a significant mutant characteristic to make planting and harvesting easier. They are both descendants of the same species, Catua and Catimor.

Caturra’s tiny height mutation is shared by a number of other dwarf arabica varieties.

First, of its kind, Pacas, a Bourbon mutation discovered in El Salvador in 1949, has been documented. The farm’s name was given to it by the original proprietors. Maragogipe and Pacamara are somewhat related to it.

Pache, a Bourbon mutation, was first detected in Guatemala in 1949.

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The first reports of Typica and Bourbon mutations in Costa Rica were recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. Villa Sarchi is the ancestral home of the Sarchimor family.

2. Mokha and Laurina!

Genetically, the Laurina cultivar and the Mokha cultivar are quite similar to the dwarf mutations. They create trees that are unusually compact and conical. Compared to other arabica cultivars, both mutations contain relatively low levels of caffeine.

The mokha tree, a small, conical tree, has no huge fruits or seeds. It appears to be a Brazilian mutation like many others. Furthermore, some Brazilian coffee has been mislabeled “Mokha” for a long time. Even yet, it’s probable that the Mokha cultivar’s name has made it more well-known than Laurina across the world.

3. Maragogipe

It’s spelled Maragogipe, which is the opposite extreme of the mutation spectrum in terms of size. This Typica aberrant has a tree, fruit, and seed that are about twice the size of the standard Arabica. Some of the drawbacks of this enormous size are slow cherry maturation, low yields, and a reputation for poor quality.

Hybrids

1. The Timor Hybrid

It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the first worldwide coffee leaf rust outbreak struck the Eastern Hemisphere. After that, the Pacific Islands were introduced to Robusta. The unthinkable happened in Timor, which is today divided between Indonesian and Timor-Leste sovereignty. Because of this, Arabica and Robusta created an interspecific hybrid in the area.

When it comes to genetic compatibility between Arabica and its diploid (two-chromosome) predecessor, the union between the two species is an extremely rare occurrence. It is widely accepted that C. eugenioides and R. robusta are the parents of Arabica. It is, therefore, possible to consider this coffee hybrid a backcross that has been evolving for over 100,000 years.

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Consequently, the Timor Hybrid soon gained notoriety in this region upon its discovery in the early 20th century. Now, the origin of many disease-resistant arabica cultivars such as Catimor and Sarchimor has been established.

2. Catimor and Sarchimor

The first Catimors coffee hybrid was created at the Centro de Investigaço das Ferrugens do Cafeeiro in Portugal (CIFC). Caturra, a diminutive Bourbon mutant, was the first parent of the Timor Hybrid imported to Brazil in 1967. Over the years, numerous Catimor strains have emerged, each descended from a single Catimor parent and refined via successive generations of breeding. Alternatively, Catimor is a complete family of plants rather than a single variety. Two widely used Catimors, Costa Rica 95 and Cat 129, maintain the diminutive height of the Caturra while improving leaf rust resistance and output.

Instead of a one-off genetic experiment, Sarchimor is a group. Sarchimor’s hybrid is the result of genetic experimentation. IAPAR 59, Obata, and Centroamericano were developed in Brazil. Although at different research centers, these hybrids are among the most popular kinds.

A genetic database categorizes the Catimor and Sarchimor subgroups as Arabica, despite the fact that they come from robusta trees.

3. Ruiru and Batian

The Ruiru 11 from Kenya belongs to the Catimor family. However, it has a few notable characteristics that set it apart. In spite of being an F1-hybrid vehicle, it’s rather different from the average crossover. A mix of CBD (Coffee Berry Disease) resistance, compact stature, excellent yields, and cup quality were all achieved by the father-mother hybridization of SL28 and SL34 in Ruiru 11’s coffee hybrid.

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Because of Ruiru 11’s condition, the parents hybrid gender must be disclosed. By hand, the pollination of Ruiru 11’s two complex reactions takes place. To create the father-mother trees, multiple techniques are employed. Short-statured females are the outcome of breeding towering trees, which then receive pollen from the males. A composite cultivar is generated and spread as a result of this procedure, which results in non-uniform seeds.

4. Mundo Novo

Following its introduction to Brazil in 1943, a naturally occurring hybrid of Bourbon and Typica was discovered in the state of Sao Paulo. In 1977, following two rounds of selection, the most current distribution took place. No other continent has this tree, in spite of its impressive stature and tremendous productivity.

5. Catuai

In Brazil, a cross between the Mundo Novo and the Yellow Caturra produced the Catuai. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the general public had access to the technology when it was first created in the 1940s. This diminutive Caturra, despite its wind resistance, is still a small creature. Also, it’s a very productive tree, although it does require a great deal of fertilization.

6. Pacamara

Pacamara, a Salvadoran cultivar, was introduced in the 1970s. It was the focus of genetic research at the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research for more than three decades (ISIC). Speciality roasters are obsessed with Pacamara, which accounts for less than 1% of El Salvador’s coffee plants. Additionally, a high-quality paper released alongside its release recommended processing it naturally for optimal outcomes. Pacamara is a fascinating mix between the little Bourbon Pacas and the big Typica Maragogipe. Pacamara coffee leaves and beans are the same sizes as Maragogipe.

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7. Jember

Various Indonesian names for the Jember coffee cultivar include S795 and Linie S. (the “S” stands for “selection”). However, this cultivar was first developed in India and is called for the Jember regency in East Java. Because it was bred from Kent and S228, it is a disease-resistant hybrid. A stoic name has been given to a spectacularly spontaneous interspecific hybrid of Coffee liberica and Ethiopian Arabica, despite one half being a Typeica selection.

Final Word

This article discusses the different coffee cultivars, the plausible mutation, their hybrids, and how they came to be. You can get your hands on your favorite variety and start your day afresh.