Catimor Coffee: A Complete Guide To Catimor Variety
Catimor is more than one type of coffee plant; it’s a hybrid coffee created in the lab from Robusta and Arabica coffee beans. Essentially, it’s a mix between Caturra and Timor (Catimor).
This coffee variety may be associated with Robusta’s bitter taste, but rest assured that it is worth tasting for more reasons than one. It also has a bright future, considering the fact that Catimor cultivation in some countries led to high-quality improvement. Having tried this coffee, we have one thing to say: you should try it too. All you need to do is to read this article and discover why.
What Is Catimor Coffee Variety?
The Portuguese agricultural scientists originally developed the Catimor variety in 1959 (1) by using a cross-breeding process. The Catimor variety combines two varieties of coffee beans: a Robusta hybrid (Timor) and an Arabica mutation (Caturra).
As a result, we get a Catimor F1 coffee, which is considered as a hybrid. In essence, F1 coffees are created from two parent plants to create the first generation of human-influenced coffee. Catimor is one such F1 hybrid created to combat leaf rust and other coffee plant diseases.
Furthermore, within the Catimor variety, there are a handful of sub-varieties. In Central America, for example, Catimor is known as T8667 (2), which has a short stem and average bean size. There is also T5269, which is best suited for lower elevation and higher rainfall areas. Lastly, T5175 is a high-yield plant that needs a medium elevation.
Catimor coffee beans are a critical aspect of fighting diseases that ravage coffee crops.
Hybrid F1 coffees are an essential part of the coffee world’s expansion and fight against diseases that affect coffee plants (3). Coffee leaf rust is crucial, and creating coffee varieties naturally resistant to this disease encourage farmers to diversify crops and improve coffee quality. This is important in places like El Salvador with Tekisic and other highly resistant Bourbon varieties.
Where Did Catimor Coffee Beans Come From?
Although coffee experts and scientists created the initial Catimor variety in Portugal in 1959, it wasn’t until 1967 (4) that the variety was introduced to Brazil. In the following decade, coffee breeders in Central America developed their strain of Catimor coffee, hoping it would help fight the coffee leaf rust issue. Today, you can find Catimor in Vietnam and Indonesia, which is becoming more common in higher elevations like Peru and Mexico.
The fact that the Catimor coffee bean has ancestry in Robusta coffee means two things:
- It’s highly resistant to coffee leaf rust
- It doesn’t taste as good as fully Arabica coffee
However, many researchers and breeders use Catimor as a base for creating other, better-tasting varieties that retain resistance. For example, farmers and researchers in Vietnam are trying to elevate the taste of Catimor coffee.
What Are The Characteristics Of Catimor Coffee?
Catimor coffee is a dwarf plant with bronze-coloured leaf tips, and it produces a high yield for a short time and has a medium-small cherry size.
Catimors coffees grow best at a medium elevation. These coffee beans are more rounded than other varieties. And they typically have a little bit less caffeine. The leaves of the tree act as a canopy that helps protect the trunk, which adds to Catimor’s pest resistance.
What Does Catimor Coffee Varietal Taste Like?
Catimor coffee is getting tastier and tastier the more work goes into breeding better strains. Right now, the best Catimor cups have a slight sweetness and mild acidity. In general, Catimor varieties have bigger bodies with woody, earthy, or rubbery notes.
One predominant feature of the profile is a touch of a sourness after an initial bitter flavour. This is typical of Catimor coffees, regardless of the exact strain.
Catimor varietal gives off nutty and herbal aromas and has distinct cherry and berry notes.
In Vietnam, however, Catimor cultivation has led to quality improvements (5). These coffee beans grow well at medium-high elevations in acidic soil, so Vietnam is a great option. Vietnamese Catimors are starting to score higher on tasting grades. They have brighter and fruitier acidity with woody and nutty notes.
Catimor coffee is a cross between Caturra and Timor coffee varietals. As a result of its Robusta characteristics, Catimor is a highly resistant coffee bean. Hence, it is an excellent solution for preventing rust on coffee leaves and creating tasty hybrids.
You might not find Catimor coffee on the list of best-tasting coffees worldwide, but it still plays an important role in coffee production. And with so much work going into breeding better and better Catimor strains, the flavour profile will only get tastier in the future!
No, not all Catimor plants have the same characteristics. There are a handful of Catimor strains that are all slightly different. For example, the T8667 strain has a bigger and rounder seed. And the T5269 strain grows best at lower elevations.
A coffee cultivar definition refers to any artificially grown or developed coffee variety. Coffee varieties are either natural mutations of pre-existing plants or are bred explicitly for favourable characteristics, and the coffee plants that are bred are called cultivars.
A cappuccino is the best coffee to brew with the Catimor variety. Cappuccinos are espresso-based drinks that work well with bold, rich, and earthier coffees like Catimor. You’ll find a pleasantly balanced flavour and good texture when using Catimor espresso for your cappuccinos.
- Nguyen Coffee Supply. (n.d.). What is Vietnam’s Catimor Coffee? the taste and history of the Catimor Bean. Nguyen Coffee Supply. https://nguyencoffeesupply.com/blogs/news/what-is-vietnams-catimor-coffee-the-taste-and-history-of-the-catimor-bean
- T8667. World Coffee Research. (n.d.). https://varieties.worldcoffeeresearch.org/varieties/t8667
- Author (2022, November 12) What is F1 hybrid coffee? F1 hybrids in Vietnam. https://www.helenacoffee.vn/what-is-f1-hybrid-coffee-f1-hybrids-in-vietnam/
- Kornman, C. (2019, September 30). The coffee roaster’s complete guide to coffee varieties and cultivars. Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/02/07/the-coffee-roasters-complete-guide-to-coffee-varieties-and-cultivars/
- Staff, S. (2023, April 14). Improving Vietnam’s coffee quality, one variety at a time. Sprudge Coffee. https://sprudge.com/improving-vietnams-coffee-quality-one-variety-at-a-time-133012.html