Most Arabica coffee varietals are believed to be derivatives of the Typica and Bourbon cultivars. Coffee farmers growing for the specialty industry have to strike a balance between quality and growing plants that have good production and disease resistance characteristics.
Coffee Bean Types
Typica - this is the source from which many varietals have been developed. It is associated with exemplary quality but lower production volumes. Typica beans characteristically have a clean and resonant acidity which increases at higher elevations. Typica cup profiles include citrus and floral notes with a sweet lingering aftertaste.
Bourbon - generally produces a greater crop volume than Typica. Has a bright acidity with a winey sweet aftertaste. Bourbon grown at higher elevations have floral aromatic properties.
Caturra - a mutation of Bourbon with good quality and high production volumes. Well pronounced acidity. Cup profile has citrus lemony notes especially at higher elevations. Not as sweet as Typica or Bourbon but varies with intensity of fertiliser applications.
Catuai - a high-yielding hybrid of Mundo Novo and Caturra. Sweetness is enhanced by good husbandry techniques (particularly the use of natural organic compost). Can be planted at higher density and will produce higher yields if fertilized properly. Resistant to strong winds and rain.
Catimor - cross between a natural arabica-robusta hybrid from Timor and Caturra (developed in Portugal in 1959). This is a rust-resistant hybrid with high yields. It has a sour acidity with an astringent mouthfeel and slightly salty aftertaste. While the yields are good they are not matched by cup quality particularly with plants grown at higher elevations.
Gesha - a rust-resistant varietal with a resonant fresh acidity. Gesha has a characteristic floral aroma with a persistent clean exotic sweet aftertaste and a smooth silky mouthfeel.
Mundo Novo - a hybrid of Typica and Bourbon. High productivity and disease resistant but low quality. Flavor profile often lacks sweetness and can possess bitter undertones. Requires extensive nutrition and fertiliser to improve cup quality.
Maragogype - from a place called Maragogype in Bahia, Brazil. Mutation of Typica with very low yield. Unusually large beans. Subtle sweet acidity.
Pacamara - related to Maragogype. A cross between Maragogype and Pacas.
Pacas - a cross between Caturra and Bourbon. Good yields performing well at higher elevations.