HISTORY OF COFFEE
Vietnam coffee varieties is very multiform flavour. This is:
1. Arabica: Catimor, Typica, Bourbon, Catuai.
Varieties of delicious Arabica coffee include Bourbon and Typica. These coffee varieties have been in this world since early times. However, they were very difficult to grow because of low productivity, susceptibility to pests, and gradually had to be removed from coffee farms. They were eventually replaced by Catimor – a variety developed in Portugal in 1959, which is a hybrid of Caturra and Timor (Timor is a hybrid of robusta and arabica). This variety is easy to grow, has high-yield and is pest resistant. Today, for Arabica in Vietnam, Catimor is widely grown in most parts of coffee land in the country Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Quang Tri, Nghe An and Son La. One other coffee variety is “Moka”, which is planted in Cau Dat, Xuan Truong, Da Lat. This coffee is especially known to be delicious and tasty so coffeehouses often use this to promote their roasted coffee.
Typica production in the Cau Dat district, including Tram Hanh and Xuan Truong is approximately 2.5 to 3 tons each year. Before 1988, there was only Typica and Bourbon in this area. In the 1990s, other coffee varieties such as Catimor and Catuai were introduced into the area until 2001. Then, when prices were extremely low, people began to grow Catimor instead of Typica. There is no classification in wholesale, so Typica is sold for export along with Catimor, and people gradually replaced it with the high-yielding Catimor variety, more than 2-3 times compared with Typica. Catimor is exported but in the form of green beans and is used to mix with other varieties. Meanwhile, Typica has disappeared and production limited.
Arabica Bourbon – also known as Moka – is a well known coffee variety in Vietnam. It’s quality and taste is well known not only in Vietnam, but throughout the world. Arabica Bourbon (Moka) came from the port of Mocha, Yemen in the 13th century. It was introduced to the island of Bourbon (now called Reunion), a small island belonging to France, located in the Indian Ocean, 700km east to Madagascar and 200 kilometers southwest to Mauritius. These Arabica Bourbon varieties were brought to Vietnam by the French in 1875. The French established a few coffee plantations to cultivate Moka. After Moka was harvested and processed, it was marketed under the brand name “Arabica du Tonkin.” It was known to be extremely tasty luxury so only the elite could enjoy it. “Arabica du Tonkin” was imported to France to cater to the high class. These beans have an acidic taste with a wine aroma and a sweet finish. Moka Cau Dat was considered the Queen of the coffee because of its attractive aroma, smooth, gentle and nostalgic flavor. Moka has long been planted and grown well in Xuan Tho and Xuan Truong of Cau Dat, Da Lat.
Catuai is cross breed created in the 1940s between Caturra coffee (named after a town in Brazil), a variant of Bourbon (pure Arabica) with Mundo Novo (a hybrid between two pure Arabica varieties: Bourbon and Typica).
Catuai, along with Catimor, was imported into Vietnam from Cuba during the 1980s, and was grown in Phu Quy, Nghe An and spread further to Quang Tri. Catuai is high yielding but is susceptible to pests and frost, possibly due to its genetic characteristics from Caturra, which is known for its poor antibodies. For this reason, Catuai was not spread further. It is only grown on a few plantations, but even so the proportion of it is still high. People harvest and sell together with Catimor.
Unlike the red Catimor, ripe Catuai is yellow. The majority of Catuai beans are round like Catimor’s but the ratio of long bean is more. This may be because Catuai gardens in the area are no longer homogeneous.
The finest Robusta from the Highland region comes from fields of different provinces in the Highland region. In Dak Lak, there is Robusta coffee in Buon Ho. In Dak Nong, coffee is grown in Dak Mil. In Dak Ha, delicious Robusta coffee is in Kon Tum. In Gia Lai, there’s Chu Se, and Lam Dong has Di Linh. Robusta from each region brings a different flavor which is very delicate and unique compared to another. In lower south and southeast areas like Binh Phuoc and Dong Nai there is also a large amount of Robusta coffee production, but the quality is somewhat less than Robusta coffee planted in the Highlands.
Cherry, also known as jackfruit coffee, includes 2 coffee varieties Liberica and Exelsa.
Jackfruit coffee is not high-yielding. Its core is large, slender, long and white. These plants are high and are used as a windbreaker for robusta coffee plantations. They are often planted in rows with a distance of 5-7m a tree.
Due to its drought and pest resistance ability, jackfruit coffee is used as rootstock for other kinds of more favorable coffee varieties.
Jackfruit coffee beans are usually mixed with the Robusta coffee and Arabica coffee during roasting to produce other flavors.