If you take a look at our coffee shelves, you'll come across many well-sounding varieties such as the red Bourbon, Catuaí, Caturra and, of course, the Geishas. But not all varieties are lucky enough to have gotten a tasty name. But that doesn't mean they aren't delicious! Take variety 74110 - what sounds like a zip code is actually an exciting variety from Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of wild Arabica coffee (Coffea Arabica) and has a long and complex history when it comes to the different varieties - called varietals. Originally, coffee was harvested from wild trees rather than plantations, and coffees were classified either by their region or, in some cases, by the "mother tree" from which their seeds came. Wild cultivation led to unrestricted cross-pollination, so that exact delineation of varieties was simply impossible. Therefore, even today, many Ethiopian coffees are simply called "heirloom" coffees.
Efforts are now being made to better identify and track the different varieties. In the 1960s, a coffee cherry disease spread through Ethiopia, causing devastating losses to farmers and drastically reducing yields. In response, the government established the Jimma Agricultural Research Centre (JARC), which began cataloging the different varieties and their characteristics so farmers could better plan what to grow.
In the 1970s, JARC conducted research on hardiness, and one variety - 74110 - was selected from a mother tree in the village of Bishari in Illubabor in western Ethiopia. The name refers to 1974 - the year it was cataloged. It is characterized by resistance to coffee rust and a good yield.
As a rule, disease-resistant, highly productive plants are attractive from an agricultural point of view, but have a lower cup quality and therefore tend to get a lower price. This is where 74110's strength lies; not only is it a reliable and highly productive variety, but it is also a variety that can achieve high cupping scores. The lot we bought for you this year was awarded the Cup of Excellence in 2021. It is a fantastic example of the variety and features fruity notes of raspberry, red currant and blood orange.