The most famous Arabica Coffee varietiesiburucoffee
The most famous Arabica coffee varieties (Source: world coffee research organization)
Bourbon was created on the Island of Bourbon,in the Indian Ocean off the East Coast of Africa, in the 18th century. It is the other of the two main varieties of Arabica along with Typica. The variety arrived into Brazil late 19th century and quickly spread around South and Middle America. Bourbon isn’t an extremely productive variety but produces an excellent cup of coffee. Multiple variations have been developed from Bourbon.
Catimor was created in Portugal in 1959 and is a mix between Caturra and Timor. Due to Timor being a variety of Robusta, Caltimors acidity is low and the flavor is a bit bitter. However, Catimor is a great match for the environment in Indonesia and it produces pleasantly herbal flavors.
Catuai is a hybrid of Caturra and Mundo Novo. It was created in Brazil in the 1940s and it was created to be more productive, but equally high quality as Caturra.
Caturra was created in Brazil in the 1930’s. The variety is based on a natural mutation of Bourbon. It is a bit lower than Bourbon and has more branches, which makes Caturra a bit more productive. Quality-wise it is a very close match to Bourbon.
Heirloom is an Ethiopian wild variety that is an inheritor of the original coffee bushes growing in the Ethiopian forests. Nowadays Heirloom has multiple recognizable variants and is always slightly different depending on the village. Heirloom sub-varieties include Kurume and Welicho and its flavor is pleasantly acidity and juicy.
Geisha (also Gesha) is a high-quality variety that is especially found in Panama. It is originally from the Ethiopian village of Gesha. Nowadays the Geisha from Panama is considered one of the best coffees in the world and has an extremely high price.
Mundo Novo is a mix between Bourbon and Typica. The variety was created in the 1940’s and is especially suited for the Brazilian growth conditions. Because of its high yield, it is one of the most famous coffee varieties grown in Brazil.
SL28 & SL34
SL28 & SL34 grow in Kenya and most of the high quality coffees from Kenya include both of these varieties. SL comes from Scott Laboratories, a company that the Kenyan government hired in the 1930’s to create a productive and resistant coffee variety. They failed in their given mission, but managed to create the SL28 and SL34 varieties, that have an intensely citrusy, sweet and multidimensional flavor profiles. Among raw coffees, SL28 and SL34 are some of the most expensive ones.
Timor (also Tim Tim) is a natural mix of Arabica and Robusta that was found on the island of Timor in the 1940’s. Because of the Robusta, the coffee is great at surviving with leaf rust. Timor is very rarely the lone variety in coffees.
Typica (also Tipica) is the forefather of coffees. It has spread around the world and it has adapted to local climates, creating many different variations like Kona (Hawaii) and Blue Mountain (Jamaica). Typically, Typicas yield is small, but the quality is extremely high. The flavor is often magnificently sweet and clean.
Variedad Colombia (sometimes just Colombia) is a hybrid of Caturra, created in Colombia. The strain is very productive and great at surviving leaf diseases. These have made Variedad Colombia a popular coffee variety. The flavor includes notes like classic caramel and chocolate.
Yellow Bourbon, Red Bourbon and Pink Bourbon are all natural mutations of Bourbon. Their productivity is quite low, but the flavor makes up for the size of the yield.
How many coffee varieties currently exist?
The number of different varieties that exist in the world is unknown. To put this into perspective, Ethiopia alone has more than 10,000 accessions collected and growing. With more productive varieties being developed while previously unknown varieties are being discovered, this number is expected to increase.
More resources about coffee varieties can be found on the links below:
Coffee Variety Chart : CCC-Varieties
Coffee varieties Video : Video