What's your favourite cultivar

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
DamianWarS
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#1: Post by DamianWarS »

does anyone buy based uniquely on the cultivar or care about cultivars? I'm not talking about the brand, processing or the name of the farm where the coffee grows but the name of the cultivar and it's history. Geisha is an example, which is an Ethiopian landrace or heirloom cultivar but it would be nice to get some thoughts on cultivars that not Geisha.

broadly there are 3 Arabica groups, Ethiopian (like Geisha), Typica and Bourbon. then you have mixes with Liberica and Robusta like Catimors are a mix of Caturra (dwarf bourbon) and Timor hybrid (Robusta + Arabica) and its name is a mix of the two. Typica and Bourbon has some fuzzy history but I think recent thought is they both originated from a common source from Ethiopia that became distinct as cultivars in Yemen. A quick history is from Yemen typica went to Indonesia where the dutch traded it across their trade routes in south/cental America and Bourbon found its way through Africa and of course, both have broadly moved through coffee regions. Today there seems to be an increased revival and appreciation of Ethiopian cultivars as the favourite. There are also hundreds of sub-cultivars and mixes of them all too.

Do you know what coffee you're drinking and the history of the cultivar or do you prefer a specific cultivar? I'm interested in what you enjoy or ones you won't touch like for example do you say away from catimors?

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yakster
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#2: Post by yakster »

I do pay attention to cultivars when buying green coffee. I love bourbon but there's other cultivars I look out for, but I'd have to think about it more before putting it down.

I recently picked up some Honduras Lempira as they were out of Bourbon that I haven't been impressed with, but I need to roast it more than once and to a darker roast, I think to bring out it's best.
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DamianWarS (original poster)
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#3: Post by DamianWarS (original poster) » replying to yakster »

what do you love about bourbons? I'm not familiar with Lempira and I had to look it up. It seems to be a Catimor developed by IHCAFE. How would you compare the Lempira with the bourbons you are used to? Catimors are Caturra (dwarf bourbon) + Timor hybrid and I'm pretty sure the goal behind crossing them is to get the resistance from the Timor (Robusta side) and the taste of the Caturra so it might be pretty decent but catimors can vary. I'm can get a lot of catimors but I don't have a lot of experience with bourbon only and I'm trying to focus on getting more cultivars to contrast them. Right now I'm limited to where I live but since it's a coffee-growing region it's possible to get a bit of everything, it's just some are harder than others.

kylekoi55

#4: Post by kylekoi55 »

All of the washed Pink Bourbons I've had this year (6 different lots...7th one coming soon) have been incredibly delicious. Sweet and spicy tropical floral notes, citric acidity, abundant tropical fruit sweetness, subtle herbaceous notes, high body, and a sticky sweet aftertaste that lingers for hours. I've had a few Geshas as well, including Esmeralda, and I still prefer Pink Bourbon. For me, it's just the perfect coffee...it has the Ethiopia-like florals, Kenya-like acidity, and full-bodied sweetness like a Bourbon. Very complex yet more satisfying than often tea-like Geshas imo. Also, despite the name, Pink Bourbon is not a "Bourbon" at all but a variety directly from Ethiopia that somehow ended up in southern Huila, Colombia.

I recently had an SL-34 from El Salvador that was stunning as well. Intoxicatingly violet and jasmine floral, complex tropical fruit (mangosteen or somewhat like lychee) acidity, medium-high body, dark brown sugar sweetness, dark chocolate and floral black tea in the finish. Makes you wonder why SL-28 gets all of the attention.

Typica Mejorada (Bourbon x Ethiopian variety) developed in Ecuador is another possibly "better than Gesha" variety. It's super floral with tropical fruits, dark chocolate, and a nice medium-high body as well.

Java completely destroys the notion that coffee has to be floral/fruity to be good/complex. While it does have nice acidity and some soft floral notes, the real beauty of this variety lies in the darker/earth-toned notes of warm spices, caramel and chocolate. It also has a very intriguing light and silky smooth body like a Japanese green tea that seems counterintuitive to its "dark" flavor profile.

Yellow Bourbon (supposedly Yellow Typica x Bourbon ?) has an interesting flavor profile: nutty, super sweet and chocolatey but also with floral honey and longan or pear-like notes.

The old standbys like Typica and Bourbon are good in their own right too. Typica seems underrated, it can be incredibly fruity like at high elevations in Colombia or quite floral and very chocolatey like in Oaxaca, Mexico where it's known as Pluma HIdalgo.

If you can't tell, I'm a variety-nerd that drinks mostly single-variety washed coffee other than the odd Ethiopia or Kenya. I'm currently on the hunt for "Chiroso" which is supposedly an Ethiopian variety rediscovered in Antioquia, Colombia. A lot of this variety won this year's Colombia Cup of Excellence and it's supposed to be quite floral and fruity. Currently waiting on a Moka variety from the Central Highlands of Vietnam (a legacy of French colonialism) that I'm super excited about.

DamianWarS (original poster)
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#5: Post by DamianWarS (original poster) »

kylekoi55 wrote:The old standbys like Typica and Bourbon are good in their own right too. Typica seems underrated, it can be incredibly fruity like at high elevations in Colombia or quite floral and very chocolatey like in Oaxaca, Mexico where it's known as Pluma HIdalgo.
I think the problem with typica is it's too susceptible to leaf rust and has low yeilds so it's no longer popular as and needs to grow at higher elevations. There are still the original typicas growing in indonesia, the ones that escaped the leaf rust are higher elevations but I think their yeilds have dimished quite a bit. They are called bergendal (at least the ones in sumatera) which is a Dutch word that means "mountain and valley" from Dutch colonial times (Remember the kids song farmer in the dale, well "dale" means valley and is the same word in berg-en-dal)

Typica still has excellent cup quality. It's the original cultivar outside of Ethiopia and should cup along side of any Ethiopian quite nicely.

DamianWarS (original poster)
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#6: Post by DamianWarS (original poster) »

kylekoi55 wrote:All of the washed Pink Bourbons I've had this year (6 different lots...7th one coming soon) have been incredibly delicious. Sweet and spicy tropical floral notes, citric acidity, abundant tropical fruit sweetness, subtle herbaceous notes, high body, and a sticky sweet aftertaste that lingers for hours. I've had a few Geshas as well, including Esmeralda, and I still prefer Pink Bourbon. For me, it's just the perfect coffee...it has the Ethiopia-like florals, Kenya-like acidity, and full-bodied sweetness like a Bourbon. Very complex yet more satisfying than often tea-like Geshas imo. Also, despite the name, Pink Bourbon is not a "Bourbon" at all but a variety directly from Ethiopia that somehow ended up in southern Huila, Colombia.
I've never tried pink bourbon but your story intrigue me so I did some hunting. Cafe imports claims it's a yellow and a red bourbon mixed making orange and pink varieties. They are quoted:
Pink Bourbon: Cultivated from hybridization of Red and Yellow Bourbon. It's very rare, but the producers say it is quite resistant to rust. Pink and Orange Bourbons are very difficult to produce with consistency. The recessive genes leading to the expression of these colors are easily thwarted by the presence of yellow and red genes in a given pollen grain. A carefully isolated and contained lot can do quite well and preserve the unique color and character of this variety, though this is quite hard to find.
Often unique coffees have more than one story attached to them. Do you have any sources of the pink bourbon being some sort of heirloom variety?

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LBIespresso
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#7: Post by LBIespresso »

This page has some cool info on it:

https://coffeeadastra.com/2019/07/23/ho ... t-taste-2/
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kylekoi55

#8: Post by kylekoi55 »

DamianWarS wrote:I've never tried pink bourbon but your story intrigue me so I did some hunting. Cafe imports claims it's a yellow and a red bourbon mixed making orange and pink varieties. They are quoted:



Often unique coffees have more than one story attached to them. Do you have any sources of the pink bourbon being some sort of heirloom variety?
Cafe Imports actually funded the genetic test themselves, seems they haven't updated their info to reflect the results. HIghest % genetic similarity is with some Ethiopian varieties rather than anything Bourbon-Typica related.

"2) The samples Columbia PBS and PBT were closely related and
they proved to be similar to wild plants coming from Ethiopia"

https://images.cafeimports.com/Colombia-DNA-20Apr18.pdf

The original article is mostly about the Colombia F6 variety and only mentions Pink Bourbon in passing
https://www.cafeimports.com/north-ameri ... unknown-3/

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GC7
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#9: Post by GC7 » replying to kylekoi55 »

I too am a huge fan of the Colombian Pink Bourbon Varietal. All 4 that I've tried were from WOW to stellar. Your tasting notes hit all the highlights.

This mutation seems to be recessive regardless of its parental origins. That means it will always be difficult to keep going and will require care to prevent cross pollination from other dominant varieties. I will continue to pick them up when available.

Thanks for that link to the genetic tests.

DamianWarS (original poster)
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#10: Post by DamianWarS (original poster) »

kylekoi55 wrote:Cafe Imports actually funded the genetic test themselves, seems they haven't updated their info to reflect the results. HIghest % genetic similarity is with some Ethiopian varieties rather than anything Bourbon-Typica related.

"2) The samples Columbia PBS and PBT were closely related and
they proved to be similar to wild plants coming from Ethiopia"

https://images.cafeimports.com/Colombia-DNA-20Apr18.pdf

The original article is mostly about the Colombia F6 variety and only mentions Pink Bourbon in passing
https://www.cafeimports.com/north-ameri ... unknown-3/
That's a great read and thanks for those links. I actually was a little interested in the Variedad Colombia in the article. The V. Colombia is one of the original catimors and as the article suggests didn't cup that well but it's encouraging to see how much it has improved over generations. It's encouraging really for all of coffee at large with increased needs to evolve with things like climate change.