100% Arabica? What does that even mean?
There are two main species of coffee, ‘arabica’ (coffea Arabica) of which is commonly agreed as a higher quality coffee, and ‘robusta’ (coffea canephora (Robusta)).
Arabica grows at higher altitudes, while Robusta can also grow in lower altitudes. (See previous post on seasonal coffee, altitude and climate)
Species v varietals v hybrids v cross
Arabica and Robusta are species of coffee that can be further divided into varietals (see diagram 2 below). Bourbon and Typica are varietals of the Arabica species.
Hybrid coffees are a combination of an Arabica and Robusta coffee, AND cross is a combination of 2x Arabica varietals, or 2x robusta varietals.
As an example of a cross, as noted by Federico Bolanos in an recent interview (Read also: Pacamara? What’s so special about it?)
The Pacas is a natural mutation of the Bourbon varietal… The Pacas trees are shorter in size, have tighter internodes and develops a compact foliage, which help it endure tough climate conditions like tough winds, sunlight and water scarcity. It is highly resistant to diseases, adapts to many growing conditions, and provides high production yields.
The Maragogipe is a mutation of the Typica varietal. The Maragogipe trees grow very tall in size and they produce some of the largest coffee seeds. This varietal does not produce high yields but has a great cup quality.
The idea behind the creation of the Pacamara was to derive and combine the best qualities of both varietals. The name, PACAMARA was in reference to the first four letters of each parent varietal.