Coffee Varieties: Colombian

Coffee varieties evolve through natural selection or selective breeding. Both factors come into play with Colombian coffees. The specific varieties from which traditional Colombian coffee is derived are typica and bourbon. Colombia is the third leading coffee producer in the world, the second leading producer of Arabica coffees and probably the most reliable source of large quantities of the best Arabica coffees. In recent years Colombian coffee varieties have changed due to replanting after coffee leaf rust infestations.


Caturra vs Arabica in Colombia

Caturra vs Arabica - Colombia

Coffee Leaf Rust

A seemingly eternal threat to growing healthy organic coffee is a fungus that is native to the tropics where coffee is grown. Leaf rust attacks coffee crops and leaf rust kills organic coffee crops. If an organic grower is unable to treat the problem with non-chemical means he risks losing his crop and his livelihood. The fungus’ proper name is Hemileia vastatrix. When it is not controlled the disease kills coffee plants and reduces coffee growers to poverty.

Leaf Rust Resistant Colombian Arabica Coffee Varieties

Colombian coffee varieties today include two leaf rust resistant varieties, Colombian and Castillo.

The story of Colombian leaf rust resistant coffee is inspiring. Leaf rust is a fungal disease that has devastated coffee plantations as far back as the mid to late 19th century. Those with an interest in history may know that Sri Lanka (old Ceylon) used to be a coffee producer until the leaf rust wiped out all production after which the nation switched to growing tea. The coffee leaf rust spread from the East Indies to South Asia and Africa and eventually to the new world. Today a plague of coffee leaf rust threatens the livelihoods of coffee growers and workers throughout Central America. Fortunately for the coffee producing nation of Colombia, the workers at the Cenicafé have found a cure. Cenicafé is a research organization funded by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation – the folks who bring you Juan Valdez coffee . In the early 1970’s coffee leaf rust was found in the Americas. In the early 1980’s Cenicafé started work on producing a Colombian leaf rust resistant coffee. The Colombian leaf rust resistant coffee comes in two varieties, Colombian and Castillo. The first is a cross between an old Colombian variety, Caturra, and a rust-resistant strain from Southeast Asia, the Timor hybrid. Castillo is an offshoot of further cross breeding of the first Colombian leaf rust resistant coffee strain. Replanting with Colombian leaf rust resistant coffee in Colombia has reduced the incidence of leaf rust from 40% to 5% from 2011 to 2013.

Colombian coffee varieties come in regular and organic coffee. The difference is not in the variety planted but in whether or not sustainable agricultural practices are used and certified. Certification of organic coffee in Colombia is commonly for the United States Department of Agriculture, the European certification agency and Colombian certification.  If you are interested in Colombian coffee varieties please feel free to contact us at Buy Organic Coffee and we will be glad to help.


Organic Coffee from Colombia

Organic Coffee Colombia

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