The plants from where Speciality Coffees come from are Rubiaceae family, that has 4.500 types, in which 60 are part of the Coffea kind.
In these 60 types, about 25 are more commen and marketed, and in these 25 4 have a special place in the coffee and Speciality Coffee market:
- la Coffea Arabica
- la Coffea Canephora (Robusta)
- la Coffea Liberica
- la Coffea Excelsa
In particular, Arabica and Canephora (Robusta) are cultivated with business purpose and that’s why they represent the 99% of the world production,
Arabica and Special Coffees
In the world of coffees and Special Coffees there are several types of Arabica, most of which are cultivated in Ethiopia and South Africa; just a small part is cultivated outside Africa, particularly in Yemen.
From this family there are 3 branches:
- Typica: it is considered the original one and from it other types have been selected; the fruits are usually red and the quality of the drink is excellent. It is cultivated particularly in Brazil, Colombia and Central America.
- Bourbon:it comes from Réunion (a Madagascar island originally called Bourbon) and the strenght of the plant and the number of the flowers allow a better productivity than Typica. The beans are small and excellent with an abundant productivity.
- Heirloom: thousands of plant varieties, some of them not catalogued yet, grow spontaneously and they are often classified as Ethiopian Heirloom.
Some mutations came from each of them, catalogued as species:
- From TypicaJava, Sumatra, Maragogype;
- From Bourbon SL28, SL34, Caturra, Moka, Villa Sarchi, Pacas;
- From Heirloom Geisha/Gesha, la Kaffa.
Commercially, the term Robusta prevailed on Canephora: anyway it is the type of coffee that are not Arabica but they are also in the world of Special Coffees and not. In fact Arabica and Robusta give birth together to the world of coffee blend, where different types are mixed together.
The main characteristic of C. Canephora, different from C. Arabica, is the resistance to diseases. That’s why from 20th century the plantation of Canephora is spread in hot and humid climate areas, even if that coffee is less scented and precious than Arabica.
Coffea Canephora comes from the lowland of Tropical Africa (Uganda, Congo, the Gulf of Guinea), it is a high plant with big leaves, quite small fruits and a good productivity.
Special Coffees from hybrids and crossbreeds
Hybrids are obtained by the graft of plant varieties from Arabica and Robusta, such as:
- l’Hibrido de Timor,
Crossbreeds are obtained by a graft of several varieties of Arabica, such as:
- Mundo Novo (Sumatra+Bourbon)
- Catuai (Mundo Novo+Caturra)
- Pacamara (Pacas+Maragogype).