Lesser-Known Coffee Varieties

Lesser-Known Coffee Varieties

Posted by Meera Nair on

One of the oldest posts we’d published on this website was about the difference between a coffee varietal & a variety, and highlighting the main coffee varieties that are typically cultivated and distributed.

Understanding coffee varieties has become the need of the hour. With climate change impacting the coffee industry, it is crucial to know which coffee varieties are ideal in terms of yield, resistance to plant diseases, etc.

While you’re probably familiar with varieties such as Bourbon, Gesha, and Catimor, here are some lesser-known and recent additions to the coffee family.


Chiroso has its origins in Antioquia, Colombia. It even won the Cup of Excellence award in 2014, but didn’t garner widespread global attention then.

These coffees can be identified by their characteristic long beans. They are a mutation of the Caturra variety.

coffee cherry harvest

A washed Chiroso tends to have a medium body with a semi-strong acidity. You’ll find floral and citrus tasting notes in coffees brewed with these beans.

One of the most important features of this coffee is that it presents potential for both farmers and roasters alike because of its high quality. Whether it will become more of a common variety is yet to be seen.

Wush Wush

Once ranked as one of the best coffees in the world by Coffee Review, Wush Wush comes from the Heirloom variety.

It gets its name from the Wushwush region of Ethiopia. But today, these coffees can be found in different parts of South America too.

They require fertile and elevated lands to support optimal growth. Wush Wush coffee cherries contain coffee beans that are relatively smaller in size.

Brew yourself a coffee with Wush Wush, and you’ll be surprised by the delicate flavour profile it has. With floral and fruity notes, each batch of Wush Wush can vary depending on the farm and the processing method used. But be prepared to experience a sweetness that is quite unlike most coffees you’d have come across.


If you are into rare and exquisite coffees, you might want to turn your attention to this variety.

Papayo is found in the Huila region of Colombia, and you’re unlikely to find it commonly in other parts of the world.

Grown at high altitudes of 1500 masl, Papayo is said to be related to the Ethiopian Landraces. It gets its name from the shape of the coffee cherries that resemble a bunch of small papayas. The cherries are orange in colour.

Papayo coffees have an overall sweet flavour profile with notes of chocolate, sugarcane, and jasmine.


At even higher altitudes of 1700 masl, the Sidra coffee variety grows. It has been featured in the World Coffee Championship.

ecudaor coffee farms

These coffees belong to the Pichincha province in Ecuador. With cherries that are rounder and beans that are more elongated than other arabica varieties, Sidra promises high yields. 

However, one of the main concerns with growing this coffee plant is that despite being resistant to pests, it is susceptible to leaf rust. 

A Sidra coffee carries stone fruit flavour notes, has a mild wine-like acidity, and a smooth body. 

Pink Bourbon

On the one hand, it is said to be a natural mutation of the Red and Yellow Bourbon varieties. On the other, reports suggest that this coffee has its roots in the Ethiopian landraces.

Pink Bourbon is highly resistant to leaf rust disease and leads to higher yields.

Due to the high concentration of sugar in the coffee beans, coffee brewed with Pink Bourbon beans results in a brew that has a silky mouthfeel. It has an intricate flavour profile with pronounced notes of citrus fruits balanced with floral and sweet notes.

The fact that it's an exclusive coffee variety stems from the complexity of cultivating and harvesting this coffee.

Coffee varieties can occur as a result of natural mutation, i.e. new varieties growing in the wild or through selective cultivation. 

How much do you consider variety when buying coffee for your regular consumption?

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