Sidra is a hybrid variety, the crossing of two of the biggest varieties in the coffee industry, Red Bourbon and Typica. The idea is to cherry-pick the best parts of both coffees, combining the rich sweetness of Bourbon and the bright acidity of Typica.
Crossing coffee varieties is not a new practice. Farmers and labs have been doing so for many years, but generally focus their efforts on how the coffee performs as a crop. They might want to combine the disease resistance of one variety with the high yield of another, producing a reliable, economical hybrid.
However, the process isn’t always the work of scientists in white lab coats. Nature has been crossing and recrossing species for centuries, to the point that the vast majority of species are not catalogued, and it is impossible to say for sure where they came from. Countries like Ethiopia, where coffee has been growing in the wild for milenia, have a vast trove of genetic diversity which would be almost impossible to catalogue entirely.
Sidra is one of those varieties. It probably first appeared in Ecuador, and through chance combines the best traits of Red Bourbon and Typica. It generally has a rich, heavy sweetness that is balanced off with a crisp acidity inherited from its Typica ancestors. This balance makes Sidra a highly prized coffee, and as such has seen success in Barista competitions.