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Plant Varieties



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Coffea Plant Varieties

Arabica Plant Coffee Cherries




Arabica

Coffea Arabica trees produce nearly all of the worlds specialty coffee. The vast majority of coffee is Robusta or Arabica. Most consider the flavor of Arabica coffee far superior to Robusta. Robusta trees, however, are more "robust" and are less susceptible to insect infestation and disease. Arabica trees are typically grown at high elevations where insects and disease are less prevalent. Because of the inherently steep terrain at high elevations where Arabica is generally grown, mechanical harvesting is impractical, so Arabica coffee is nearly always picked by hand. Hand picking of Arabica results in less under-ripe and over-ripe beans compared to the commonly machine harvested Robusta. If left alone, Arabica trees will grow to 40 feet high, but in most plantations the trees are pruned to less than 8 feet high for better yield and easier harvest. There are at least a dozen variations, or cultivars, of the Coffea Arabica tree. These include: Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Pache Comum, Pache, Catimor, Kent, Mundo Novo, Maragogype, Amarello, and Blue Mountain. Typica is the oldest known Arabica cultivar and is the base from which others developed.  


Bourbon

Coffee produced from the Bourbon cultivar of the Coffea Arabica tree, was named after Bourbon Island where it was first cultivated. Bourbon Island was later renamed Reunion and is located east of Madagascar in the Indian ocean. France introduced the Bourbon cultivar to Africa and Latin America. Bourbon became the second most commercialized Arabica variety after Typica. Both the Typica and Bourbon varieties of Arabica are produced in large quantities throughout the world, but are slowly being replaced by more productive and disease resistant varieties such as Caturra. The Bourbon variety is bright yellow when ripe.  


Bourbon Santos

Bourbon Santos is a single origin coffee named after Santos, the port in Brazil where the coffee is shipped. Bourbon is the variety of coffee tree used to make Bourbon Santos.   


Caturra

Caturra is a modern hybrid of Coffea Arabica and is becoming increasingly popular with farmers. Caturra has a greater crop yield and is less susceptible to disease than classic Arabicas (Typica and Bourbon).  


Coffea Canephora

Botanical name for the Robusta coffee tree. Coffea Canephora and Coffea Arabica are practically the only coffee species used to make coffee. Robusta coffee trees, like Arabica, can grow about 40 feet high, but Robusta beans tend to be smaller and more bitter. Robusta trees are "robust", meaning they are less susceptible to pests and disease and yield more coffee crop. Because of its ability to resist pests and disease, Coffea Canephora is the dominant coffee species grown at low elevations.  


Cultivar

A cultivar is a variation of cultivated plant. Cultivars have a name given in accordance with the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). Typica and Bourbon are cultivars of the Arabica tree.  


Robusta

Common name for Coffea Canephora plant. Coffea Canephora and Coffea Arabica are practically the only coffee species used to make coffee. Robusta coffee trees, like Arabica trees, can both grow to about 40 feet high, but Robusta beans tend to be smaller and more bitter. Robusta trees are "robust", meaning they are less susceptible to pests and disease and yield more coffee crop. Coffea Canephora is the dominant coffee species grown at low elevations due to its ability to resist pests and disease.  

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