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New Coffee Variations in Colombia

New Coffee Variations in Colombia

Considering that the world’s population is increasing daily and that we must adapt to the climatic conditions that may arise, our crops should also be altered to be highly productive, profitable, and friendly with nature. In addition, they should facilitate the growers’ work.

In the case of Colombian coffee, work has been carried out since the late 1960s in the genetic improvement program of Cenicafé. Their goal is to search for varieties that are resistant to coffee rust, offer high productivity, preserve the cup profile of Colombian coffee, have low growth, possess phenotypic uniformity and adaptability to the coffee-growing zones of the country.

Colombian coffee culture has evolved through the years by switching from high bearing varieties with low productivity and susceptible to rust, such as Arabica and Bourbon, to more productive varieties with low bearing such as the Caturra. Later, they would develop varieties with the same characteristics but with rust resistance and high productivity, such as the Colombia variety. 

Cenicafé 1 Variety

The National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) delivered the new variety Cenicafé 1. This has an average height of 140 cm at 24 months, which is equal to the height of the Caturra variety but less than the Castillo variety. It also produces around 18 kilograms of cherry coffee per tree in a cycle of four harvests. 

Quality of the variety

Let us remember that the quality of the beverage in coffee is a complex character that depends on several factors such as the species and variety cultivated, the environmental conditions of the crop, the agronomic practices, the processing method employed, the storage conditions of the bean, the industrial processing, the preparation of the beverage and the preferences of the consumers. 

Taking this into account, the Cenicafé 1 variety presents more supreme coffee than the Caturra variety. As for the cup, the cupping was done based on the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) scale between the Cenicafé 1 variety and comparing it with high-quality coffees, such as the Caturra, and low-quality coffees, such as the C. canephora. The results of the cup quality tests indicate that the beverage quality of the Cenicafé 1 variety is described as very good and is classified as specialty coffee.

Resistance to coffee rust and coffee cherry disease

Several evaluations were carried out on the Cenicafé 1 variety where it was found that the rust colonization and sporulation process is reduced and delayed. This may affect the field, but will not cause economic damage. As for the coffee cherry disease, which fortunately has not yet arrived in Colombia, the Cenicafé 1 variety will keep the plants protected.

Agronomic Characteristics

Cenicafé 1 requires adequate agronomic management in the different stages of development to guarantee the permanence of the production system, with a minimum duration of 20 years. The new Cenicafé 1 variety, recommended for the entire coffee-growing country, has excellent agronomic attributes such as low growth habit, high productive potential, resistance to rust and CBD, excellent cup quality, and a higher proportion of supreme grain than current varieties. However, it is fundamental to accompany it with good agronomic management to obtain the desired profitability in its cultivation.

Castillo Variety

The Castillo variety is one of the new varieties of Colombian coffee that is resistant to coffee rust. It stands out for its smoothness, aroma, and citric acidity. The Castillo variety was launched for production in 2005 and is the result of many years of research and selection in different environments of the coffee-growing regions of the country. 

Main Characteristics

It is dynamic and according to the appearance of new breeds, it changes its composition, incorporating new lines and withdrawing those that begin to show serious damage due to rust. The Castillo variety comes from the cross between two plants: Caturra and Timor Hybrid. Its production depends on the altitude and temperature of the site. The first flowers appear about 11 months after planting in the field. In fact, production will occur approximately a year and a half later and the number of harvests will depend on the location of the farm and the planting distance.

Resistance to coffee rust

Coffee rust is one of the greatest threats to this type of crop. This disease affects the leaves of coffee plants, appearing in the form of yellow and orange spots. Because the leaves are where photosynthesis occurs, when leaf rust strikes, the plants are less able to produce energy. In fact, in the worst-case scenario, the leaves fall off the tree and the tree is then unable to generate coffee cherries. Thus, under the challenge of creating a variety resistant to rust and with a good cup profile, Cenicafé began a genetic improvement program in 1968. It was then that the Castillo variety was created, which, together with the Caturra and the Típica, has been planted as part of the renovation programs of coffee plantations susceptible to this disease. 

Agronomic Characteristics

The beverage presents body and mild bitterness, as well as a pronounced aroma and acidity for medium roasting degrees. The quality of the cup is similar to the Típica, Tabi, Borbón, Caturra, and Colombia varieties, forming homogeneous groups of similarity due to its quality attributes. In addition, it facilitates the clean production of coffee, since it does not require the application of fungicides for the chemical management of coffee rust. Finally, its beans have a size superior to 80% of supreme coffee, which allows it to access international markets.


Every day, experts continue to work hard to obtain varieties that adapt to climatic and biological challenges. In addition, they must make sure to obtain a product that delights the palates of their clients. In El Dorado Café you will be able to find different profiles to suit your tastes. What are you waiting to try Colombian Coffee?


  1. How long does it take to introduce a new variety of coffee? 

Between 15 and 20 years. The new coffee plant needs to adapt to the climate, survive the pathogens in the environment and produce fruits of excellent quality. All of this takes time, especially considering that there are only a few harvesting seasons every year.

  1. How do experts create new coffee variations?

The most common way is to breed different varieties with desired traits. For example, the Castillo variation was created from a crossbreed of Caturra and Híbrido de Timor. It takes trial and error to achieve the perfect outcome.

  1. Is the creation of new variations affecting the taste of coffee?

Of course! Breeding new variations not only affects the ability of the plant to adapt to the environment, it also affects the taste and quality of coffee. Because of this, experts must be careful to not sacrifice the quality of flavor for production benefits.

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