Colombia invests far more than many coffee producing countries in scientific coffee research due to the importance of the crop to the country’s economy. Colombia’s National Centre for Coffee Investigation (Cenicafe) – operated by the National Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) – is one of the world’s foremost researchers in developing coffee cultivars developed to improve farmers’ well-being while also retaining cup quality. The research centre is responsible for many of the cultivars developed within the country over the last 60 years.
At least from the 1950s onward, Caturra was a highly common cultivar across Colombia, introduced because of its productivity over traditional Typica or Bourbon. Caturra, however, while granting more yields, is equally susceptible to coffee leaf rust and other diseases.
Developed over five generations by Cenicafe between 1968 and 1982, the Colombia variety (Variedad Colombia) was the result of successful hybridization of Caturra with the Timor Hybrid. Colombia was developed in advance of Colombia’s first coffee leaf rust outbreak, which hit the country in 1983, and arguably helped saved the country’s coffee industry.
This variety has been improved over the years and has been the breeding base for different sub-varieties, including the Tabi and the Castillo cultivars.
Variedad Colombia come in both red and yellow form and can be planted in high densities due to its relatively small size.