When it comes to specialty coffee, one of the things that cannot be left out to talk about is caturra. Naturally, caturra is a varietal of the bourbon coffee plant which is known to be sweet, complex, and crisp. The bourbon coffee plant itself is part of the arabica species. Although arabica originated from Ethiopia (as the name suggests), caturra was first found a thousand miles away - in Brazil. It adapts well to most coffee growing environments, but does best between 1200 to 2000 meters above sea level with annual precipitation between 2500 to 3500 mm.
At this point, you probably wonder why it is called “caturra”. Well, it is said that caturra in Portuguese refers to a species of parrot, so it probably refers to domestic birds of the cockatiel species.
Nowadays, caturra is less common in Brazil, but can be easily found in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Some of the most common variations of caturra include yellow caturra and red caturra which can also be found in Indonesia, dating back to the Dutch colonization era. Back then, the Dutch East Indies government had caturra coffee plantations in West Java, East Java, and East Nusa Tenggara. The plantations became forgotten once the Republic of Indonesia gained its independence, but the variety slowly made its way back to the top due to the rising popularity of coffee as a daily drink.
Yellow Caturra in Indonesia
Legend has it that there are less than 1000 yellow caturra coffee plants in Indonesia, an extremely small number for coffee plantations. The characteristic stays true to its name: it will become yellow once it’s fully ripe. Although the seed itself is rather small in size, the texture is hard. Yellow caturra also has a strong smell with a hint of fruity or floral sweetness, but the acidity is not over powering.
Red Caturra in Indonesia
Red Caturra in Indonesia
If you have been to Dieng Plateau previously, then you have been to where red caturra is mostly planted. Back in the Dutch colonization era, Dieng Plateau was one of the more (if not most) preferred areas for coffee plantations. Unlike its twin, but still stays true to its name, it will become red once it’s fully ripe - like any other coffee. However, there is a subtle hint of groundnut in its taste which is another major difference from its yellow counterpart.
Due to the rarity and the evergreen economic principle, both yellow caturra and red caturra are relatively high in price. Rest assured, the taste that you get to experience is definitely worth the price. That said, if you have the means and the opportunity to get your hands on them, make sure to grab them.