The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Colombia

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CBGC Varieties

CBGC 3.06 Recap and Glossary


  • Typica was the only variety grown in Colombia in significant amounts until the 1960s. In Colombia, Typica is also called Criollo, Pajarito, Nacional, or Arábigo.
  • Bourbon produces higher yields but smaller seeds than Typica. Bourbon selections found in Colombia include Amarillo Chinchiná and Bourbon RM.
  • Pink Bourbon, a uniquely Colombian variety, is prized for its fruity and floral notes. Genetic testing shows that it is unrelated to Bourbon and more similar to Ethiopian landraces.
  • Colombian producers often cultivate other traditional varieties such as Maragogipe, Caturra, San Bernardo (the Colombian name for Pache), and Geisha.
  • Cenicafé started developing rust-resistant varieties in the 1960s and released their first rust-resistant hybrid, Colombia, in 1980.
  • Cenicafé adopted a strategy of developing multi-line resistance to leaf rust. Colombia is therefore not a single variety but a collection of related crosses.
  • Subsequent multi-line resistant hybrids include Tabi, which grows tall and requires less fertiliser than dwarf varieties; the highly productive Castillo; and Cenicafé 1, developed to be resistant to coffee berry disease as well as leaf rust.
  • High rainfall and steep terrain in Colombia limits the effectiveness of fungicides against leaf rust, making cultivation of hybrids a vital method of controlling the disease.
  • In the last decade or so the number of varieties grown in Colombia has rapidly increased, as growers have replanted old varieties and identified new ones growing in their fields.
  • Old varieties found in Colombia include Wush Wush, Rume Sudan, Moka, and Java, while new ones discovered in the country include Chiroso, Papayo, Striped Bourbon, and Caturron.
  • The parentage of varieties discovered in the field is rarely known. Genetic testing revealed that some of the varieties discovered in Colombia, including Chiroso and Papayo,