Younger Caturra coffee at Manuel "Macho" Arce
Good, fresh plant material at the farm is more disease resistant that plants over 25 years old. Finca Arce, all Caturra coffee, Costa Rica.

Caturra is an Arabica cultivar discovered as a natural mutant of Bourbon in Brazil in the first decade of the 20th century,  but wasn’t studied until 1937. It has a good yield potential, but was not ideal for Brazil growing conditions (due to lack of hardness and too much fruit in 3-4 production cycles).

However, Caturra flourished in Central America where it was introduced decades later, and had good cup characteristics, possibly displaying citrus qualities. Caturra is, for us, one of the best varieties for cup quality in Colombia.

At higher altitudes quality increases, but production decreases, and it sometimes requires extensive care and fertilization. It has a good cup quality, and perhaps shows a more citric acidity, and lighter body than Bourbon.

Caturra coffee usually has green new leaves, but this is not the sole identifier, as many cultivars do also have green new tips. Caturra is also known for being one of the parents the so-called “Catimor” family of cultivars- Caturra is the arabica parent and Hibrido de Timor is the other parent that has robusta genetic material.

Historically Caturra led in part to the intensification of coffee farming through higher density planting than the older Bourbon and Typica varieties. 

World Coffee Research reports, ” The selection process for Caturra was called mass selection, meaning that a group of individuals are selected based on their superior performance, seed from these plants is bulked to form a new generation, and then the process is repeated. The variety was never officially released in Brazil, but has become common in Central America.

It was introduced in Guatemala in the 1940s, but widespread commercial adoption didn’t happen for another three decades. From Guatemala, it was introduced to Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama. Today, it is one of the most economically important coffees in Central America, to the extent that it is often used as a “benchmark” against which new cultivars are tested. In Colombia, Caturra was thought to represent nearly half of the country’s production until a government-sponsored program beginning in 2008, giving preferential treatment to farmers who planted the governments Castillo catimor type hybrid, and essentially punishing those who grew Caturra.

caturra coffee cultivar
caturra coffee cultivar
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