Exploring Bourbon coffee varieties

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Exploring Bourbon coffee varieties

Exploring Bourbon coffee varieties


It was French missionaries who introduced Bourbon from Yemen to La Réunion. Then, these missionaries gave the name “Bourbon” to this coffee in the 1700s. Before the mid-1900s, the Bourbon variety was unknown to the world. However, the missionaries spread this variety to new, different parts of the world.

Around 1860, bourbon variety was introduced to Brazil. From Brazil, this variety was spread to different parts of South, Central, and North America so fast. Nowadays in Latin America, some varieties that descend from Bourbon, such as, Caturra, Catuai and, Mundo Novo, replaced Bourbon itself. However, bourbon can be found in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru.

Exploring Bourbon coffee varieties

Bourbon variety:

Bourbon is the origin of many coffee varieties. It will cause an excellent balance in the coffee flavor. In addition, it will offer a complex acidity in the cup too. Bourbon plant typically has compact stems, leaves, and fruits and the product yield is average. Its fruits can be red, orange, pink, or yellow color.

This plant gives its first product after four years. Bourbon fruit will be ripe early and does not need too much time to be ready. Its quality potential is very good. Therefore, it is one of the more popular coffee varieties.

Based on regional characteristics and color mutations, Bourbon has variations. In East Africa countries, like Burundi and Rwanda, the Bourbon variety has sweet, full-bodied characteristics, due to the high altitudes, volcanic, nitrogen-rich soil of these countries.

Bourbon coffee varieties:

Some of the Bourbon coffee varieties are as follows:


As it’s been said, Caturra is a variety that is descent from Bourbon. The origin of this variety is Brazil. This variety has a gene mutation and because of that gene, this plant grows smaller than the Bourbon variety. This variety is also called “Nanico”.

Caturra was introduced to Guatemala in the 1940s. Then from there, this variety was introduced to some other South American countries, such as Panama.


Catura was made by Instituto Agronomico (IAC) of Sao Paulo State in Campinas, Brazil. Compared to Bourbon, this variety is highly productive, partly due to its small size. Because of its small shape, it is easy to apply disease treatments.

The name of this variety derives from the Guarani multo mom, it means “very good.” However, Nowadays, Catuai is considered as a good coffee, not a very good one. There are two types of Catuai: yellow-fruited type and red-fruited type.

Mundo Novo:

This variety is the result of a natural cross between the Bourbon and Typica varieties. Mundo Novo was discovered in 1943.

This variety is commercially important in Brazil and other South American countries, such as Peru. Mundo Novo was introduced to Costa Rica in 1952, however, due to its very tall statute, it did not become popular among farmers.  

 Mundo Novo’s plant is productive, but it will be ripe too late. The color of its leaf tips is green or bronze.

Exploring Bourbon coffee varieties

Color differences:

Colombia is the origin of pink Bourbon. In El Salvador, Bourbon coffee varieties are mostly yellow, orange, and red. It is believed that color differences do not affect the flavor; however, it is not completely true.

The main difference between Yellow and Red Bourbon is that the yellow one has a recessive trait; however, the red one has a dominant trait. Nevertheless, there are many open questions when it comes to color differences in the Bourbon variety and even other varieties.

However, mostly color differences will cause different tastes. For example, the yellow variant has a sweet and juicy taste, because it has fructose. However, the pink and red variant has a silkier taste that is because of its glucose.

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Bourbon variety is one of the popular and high-quality coffees. There are many Bourbon coffee varieties and one can choose from them based on their color and taste.

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