What does Variety mean in coffee?

Variety in Coffee: Why It Matters

You may have noticed many of your coffee will have a label on it, explaining the variety of the coffee. But what exactly does that mean and why does it matter? When it comes to coffee, the term "variety" refers to the specific type of coffee plant that is used to produce the beans. Just like how there are many different varieties of apples or grapes, there are also many different varieties of coffee plants. And just like how the type of apple or grape can affect the flavour of the final product, the variety of coffee plant can also have a significant impact on the taste of the coffee that is brewed from its beans.

But why does variety matter when it comes to coffee? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Different varieties have different flavour profiles.

Coffee plants grown in different regions, at different altitudes, and in different climates can produce beans with widely varying flavour profiles. For example, Arabica beans are known for their sweeter, more delicate flavours, while Robusta beans are often described as having a stronger, more bitter taste. By choosing beans from a specific variety, roasters and coffee shops can create blends that have a certain desired flavour profile.

  1. Variety can impact the sustainability of coffee production.

Certain varieties of coffee plants are more resistant to diseases and pests, which can make them easier to grow and therefore more sustainable. For example, the Catimor variety, which is a hybrid of Arabica and Robusta plants, is known for its ability to withstand drought and resist diseases like leaf rust. By choosing to source beans from more sustainable varieties, coffee producers can help ensure the long-term viability of their operations.

  1. Variety can affect the price and availability of coffee.

Some varieties of coffee plants are more difficult to grow or are only found in certain regions, which can make them more expensive and harder to obtain. For example, Kona coffee, which is grown in the Kona region of Hawaii, is known for its high quality and can command a higher price due to its limited availability. On the other hand, more common varieties like Arabica and Robusta are more widely available and tend to be less expensive.

In conclusion, variety is an important factor to consider when it comes to coffee. Different varieties have different flavour profiles, can impact the sustainability of production, and can affect the price and availability of the final product. By understanding the role that variety plays in the world of coffee, consumers can make more informed choices about the beans they choose to brew.