Updated: Jun 12
Vietnam cultivates several varieties of coffee plants, with the two main types being Robusta coffee and Arabica coffee. Let's explore the different coffee plant varieties grown in Vietnam:
Robusta coffee is the predominant variety grown in Vietnam and accounts for the majority of the country's coffee production. It is known for its robust nature, high caffeine content, and resistance to pests and diseases. Robusta coffee plants thrive in lower altitudes and warmer climates. The coffee beans produced by Robusta plants have a stronger and more bitter taste compared to Arabica, with higher acidity and a heavier body.
Arabica coffee is grown in select regions of Vietnam, particularly in the Northern Mountains, where higher altitudes and cooler temperatures create suitable conditions for its cultivation. Arabica coffee plants are more delicate and require specific growing conditions, including altitudes between 800 to 1,500 meters, well-drained soil, and a subtropical climate. Arabica coffee is known for its complex flavors, pleasant acidity, and aromatic qualities.
Excelsa coffee, although less common, is also grown in Vietnam. It belongs to the same genus as Arabica and Robusta, but its flavor profile is distinct. Excelsa coffee beans are often used in blends to enhance the overall flavor and complexity. The coffee plants are relatively hardy and can tolerate a wider range of growing conditions compared to Arabica.
Catimor and Catuai Hybrids
In addition to the main varieties, Vietnam also cultivates hybrid coffee plants that are developed by cross-breeding different species. Catimor and Catuai hybrids are examples of coffee varieties that have been bred to combine the desirable traits of both Robusta and Arabica. These hybrids aim to enhance disease resistance, yield, and flavor profiles, allowing farmers to diversify their coffee cultivation and produce unique blends.
It's important to note that while Robusta coffee dominates the coffee production in Vietnam, there has been an increasing focus on growing higher-quality Arabica beans and exploring specialty coffee production. As a result, the country is gradually expanding its range of coffee plant varieties and diversifying its offerings to cater to the evolving preferences of coffee consumers.