Caturra coffee variety – Origin, characteristics and distribution area
Do you know about the Caturra coffee variety? Let’s find out the origin, characteristics and distribution area of this coffee variety
Caturra coffee variety is a natural mutation of the Bourbon coffee variety
Definition and origin of Caturra coffee variety
Caturra coffee is a natural mutation of Bourbon, which is part of a species of coffee called Coffea Arabica. This coffee bean was originally grown in Ethiopia. This is the most used coffee, accounting for 60% of the coffee consumed. Currently, this type of coffee is grown mainly in Brazil
In 1915, the Caturra coffee tree was found on a Brazilian plantation. From the original natural mutation, the Caturra variety has continued to be selected by the Brazilian Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC). There, breeders studied the small size of the trees to allow farmers to plant trees closer together, allowing for simultaneous production and harvesting of many fruits.
Its small size and heavy berry production make it a prime candidate to be bred to produce different cultivars. Along with that, this helps preserve the tree’s core values while improving its resistance to pests and diseases. This Caturra variety is also being used as a “reference” for other cultivars being tested.
In 1937, the IAC received samples of coffee seeds originating from the border states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. These are the red Caturra and the yellow Caturra. These two cultivars are derived from the natural mutation of Bourbon red. IAC selected and put into practice in 1949 then spread to Colombia and Costa Rica. (Source: World Coffee Research)
The process of population selection selected Caturra coffee trees with high cultivation efficiency for many generations, then continued to cross between these trees, now Caturra has become popular in Central America.
Ideal growing conditions for Caturra coffee
Caturra coffee tends to grow best at elevations between 1,200 and 2,000 meters above sea level (masl) in areas with about 3,000mm of annual rainfall.
Caturra grow best at elevations between 1,200 and 2,000 meters above sea level
However, the ripening rate of Caturra is quite slow, which can affect the yield of the plant when growing in high mountainous areas. The Caturra coffee variety is better adapted between 600masl and 1,300masl. But due to the tendency to ripen late, planting at this height runs the risk of causing the end of the crop to not be harvested in time.
Caturra can live well in drought, wind and can withstand high temperatures.
Caturra trees are often described as “dwarf” or “compact” due to their small stature. Farmers can grow more trees per square meter of land. Their small size also makes it easier for workers to select ripe cherries by hand.
The only drawback of this variety is that it is susceptible to diseases, especially nematodes and coffee leaf rust. Therefore, many farmers have started to cross breed Caturra with other varieties to improve resistance. This gave rise to hybrids such as Catuai, Catimor, Maracaturra and Pache Colis.
It is important to distinguish between variations of Caturra, such as Red, Yellow, and Lerdo. Although still belong to the Caturra group, they have slightly different characteristics.
For example, yellow Caturra, which is caused by a recessive gene, tends to ripen faster than red Caturra.
Variants of Caturra have different characteristics
Characteristics and distribution of Caturra coffee trees
The origin of the Caturra coffee plant is a natural mutation from the 100% Bourbon variety. Therefore, Caturra fully inherits the advantages of yield and quality of Bourbon coffee beans. When cultivated in areas higher than 1000m Caturra gives an early harvest with a high yield. When combined with favorable conditions such as fertile soil, good care Caturra coffee is a potential representative of Specialty coffee.
Catura coffee growing area
Caturra is very popular in Latin American countries, typically Colombia, the red Caturra variety accounts for about 70% of the coffee cultivated area, in Costarica with more than 80%.
In addition, Caturra is also known to be one of the “parents” of the Catimor family (a group of many breeds sharing genetic characteristics). This is a group of varieties that have been crossed between Timor Hybrid (which is resistant to coffee leaf rust) with Caturra to create a dwarf coffee family with strong rust resistance. Examples of Catimor varieties include: Costa Rica 95, Citisic, Lempira and IHCAFE 90.
Coffee Arabica beans are known for their diverse flavors, from sweet to aromatic. When unroasted, they have a mild aroma similar to that of blueberries. On the contrary, when roasted, the taste of fresh fruit remains intact, accompanied by a hint of sweet sugar.
Caturra, like the flavor of Bourbon, is known for its nose-sweet aroma. A typical representative of it must be the delicious La Joya coffee with a berry aroma. However, with the mutation, the taste of the Caturra variety in general has changed a bit. Caturra coffee berries have a mild sour taste, but there is no true symbolic scent to describe the taste of this coffee.
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