What is Vietnam's Catimor Coffee? The Taste and History of The Catimor Bean
If you’ve spent a lot of time hanging out in artisanal coffee shops or reading up on basic coffee history and coffee culture, you might be aware that Vietnam is known around the coffee industry as being the number one producer of robusta coffee beans in the world. (Robusta coffee beans are known for their unique flavor notes and high caffeine content.) However, Vietnam also produces lots of arabica coffee beans. Not only that, they produce several specific kinds of arabica coffee varietals and arabica coffee cultivars, including the famous Catimor coffee beans.
The Catimor coffee cultivar is an increasingly popular varietal among farmers, producers, and consumers alike. It was originally developed by agricultural scientists Portugal in 1959 with the goal of cultivating a breed of coffee bean that had a high yield and that was easy to grow. To genetically engineer Catimor coffee beans, the Portugese scientists used a hybrid of the Timor coffee bean varietal and the Caturra coffee bean cultivar.
By cross-breeding the two plants, the Catimor coffee bean varietal inherited traits from both — specifically, a resistance to coffee leaf rust (due to its robusta bean genetics) and a small, compact size that made large scale farming much easier. These hearty characteristics are what drew Vietnamese coffee farmers to the strain in the first place, and is why more and more coffee plantations in Vietnam are beginning to grow the Catimor varietal.
In terms of tasting notes, Coffee made from the Catimor varietal gives off nutty and herbal aromas, and has distinct cherry and berry notes upon tasting. Distinct flavor notes that we notice include bright, lively fruit flavors, a hint of acidity and sweetness, a smooth body, and a long and rich finish lasting until the next sip.
Shop our Vietnamese Coffee Starter Kit here.
Learn the history of Vietnamese coffee here.
Read about coffee processing here.