A botanical variety is a rank in the taxonomic hierarchy below the rank of species and subspecies and above the rank of form (form / variety / subspecies / species / genus / etc.). It will have an appearance distinct from other varieties, but will hybridize freely with those other varieties. Another meaning, as used by plant breeders and in legal texts, is synonymous with cultivar and can have legal implications.

Variety is commonly used in wine to indicate Variety of a particular plant material, a type that results in specific flavors. Variety is a low-level taxonomic distinction under Species and Subspecies, and signifies members of different populations can interbreed easily, but not usually such that all traits (appearance attributes) will run true and can be predictablyn reproduced. In coffee, we sometimes use “cultivar” since it implies the intentional cultivation of a coffee type and not a botanical classification. The plant chosen as a cultivar may have been bred deliberately, selected from plants in cultivation. Cultivar or Variety does not refer to region generally. Ideally, coffee is grown using old arabica varietals such as Bourbon and Typica, or Kent in India. Controversial varieties such as Ruiri 11 in Kenya and other high-yield, disease resistant hybrids can produce a diminished cup, but growing conditions and processing play a much greater role than the coffee variety generally speaking.

Varietal is another way to say variety, imported form the world of wine.

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