Deccan Coffee 101 | Arabica Coffee Varietals
Arabica coffee is a tree in its original habitat but becomes a shrub or even a bush when trained. Arabica produces superior quality coffee but is susceptible to diseases like leaf rust and berry borer. Since the establishment of CCRI (Central Coffee Research Institute) constant efforts in this direction have been paved for development and release of thirteen Arabica selections/ hybrid for commercial cultivation. A brief description of some important varietals follows.
Selection. 1 (S.288)
This was the first selection released during 1936-37. It was superior to varietals like ‘Chiks’ and ‘Kents’ under cultivation then, by showing resistance to leaf rust S.288 was developed from a pure line selection of a ‘Chicks’ mother plant and Arabica C liberica. This selection is known for its general adaptability and is a moderate yielder. But, it produces a high percentage of defective beans.
Selection. 3 (S.795)Photo credits : Google
Released during 1945-46, this is the most widely adaptable and cultivated variety. This variety is delivered from crossing A.288 to a ‘Kents’ coffee. S.795 is vigorous wide spreading with profuse growth and high yield potential of 2000 Kg/ Hectare. The green beans are oblong, bold with good cup quality. It is resistant to then common rust races.
Photo credits : Google
This includes two separate families of cross bred lines between Devamachy X S.881 (Wild Arabica Rume Sudan). Devamachy is spontaneous Robusta X Arabica hybrid. The progeny of Devamachy shows vigorous vegetative growth with thick, small, oblong and leathery leaves and shows resistance to leaf rust. It’s a moderate yielder and produces 40% B grade beans.
Devamachy is characterized by uniform, medium size, semi drooping plants. These plants also exhibit higher resistance to leaf rust. Fruits are bold and have the yield potential of 1500 Kg/ Hectare. Both the lines produce good cup quality.Photo Credit : Deccan Coffee
This selection includes crosses of HDT with other ababicas such as Tafariela, S.795, Geisha, S.12 Kaffa, Burbon, etc. Among this HDT X Tafariela is more resistant to leaf rust under normal conditions and on an average 20 year yielded 1700 Kg / Hectare. Hence this selection has been given as Selection. 9 for commercial cultivation. Besides this, these plants are drought hardy and widely adaptable and hence gained popularity among growers. Beans are bold with 65% A grade beans with great cup quality.
Selection. 10 (Caturra)
Caturra is a semi dwarf varietal of Arabica. It has high yielding potential but highly susceptible to rust. Hence, it was crossed with Cioccie and S3795. These respective strains were again double crossed to evolve the Hybrid Selection. 10. The plants are compact and semi dwarf in nature with profouse bearing habits and exhibit resistance to common rust races. The coffee fruits are bold and produce nearly 65% A grade beans. The cup quality is similar to S.795.
Selection.12 (Cauvery / Catimore)
This is a semi dwarf hybrid derived from a cross between Caturra and HDT released for commercial cultivation during 1985. The Bushes are compact with vigorous vegetative growth and thus suitable for high density planting. Early bearer and exhibited high resistance to leaf rust in the initial years. The hybrid has the potential to yield an average of 2000Kg / Hectare. This variety produces 64% A grade beans and possesses good cup quality.
Selection. 13 (Chandragiri)
The varietal Chandragiri is a cross between Villa Sarchi and HDT released during 2007. The plants are large drooping type with broad leaved, elongated fruits in loose clusters. The terminal leaves are light green in color. This variety showed high resistance to leaf rust. This is the best suitable for cultivation at higher elevations (3300 ft and above). This has given and average yield of 1200 to 1800 Kg/ Hectare from the 5-8 year plant. The varietal produced 25% of MNEB (Mysore Nugget Extra Bold), 27% AA and 35% A grade beans with great cup quality.