top of page


Lemon and Floral Notes and A Sweet Aftertaste.


By the late 1600s, coffee trees had left Yemen and were growing in India. These seeds gave rise to coffee plantations in the Mysore region known as Malabar at that time. Recent genetic fingerprinting results indicate that both Typica- and Bourbon-like varieties were included in this introduction from Yemen to India.

The Typica branch likely separated from Bourbon when the Dutch sent seeds in 1696 and 1699 from Malabar coast of India to Batavia, today called Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, located on the populous island of Java. The Dutch had attempted to introduce seeds from Yemen directly to Batavia in 1690, however, the resulting plants died in 1699 after an earthquake. In other words, the isolation of the Typica branch and its subsequent movement around the world likely originated when the seeds came to Indonesia from India, not directly from Yemen as is often told.

From this Typica group introduced in Indonesia, a single coffee plant was taken in 1706 from Java to Amsterdam and given a home in the botanical gardens. This single plant gave rise to the Typica variety that colonized the Americas during the 18th century. In 1714, after the Utrecht peace treaty between the Netherlands and France was signed, the mayor of Amsterdam offered a coffee plant to King Louis XIV; it was planted in the greenhouse of the Jardin des Plantes and quickly produced seeds (Chevalier and Dagron, 1928).

From the Netherlands, plants were sent in 1719 on colonial trade routes to Dutch Guiana (now Suriname) and then on to Cayenne (French Guianna) in 1722, and from there to the northern part of Brazil in 1727. It reached southern Brazil between 1760 and 1770.

From Paris, plants were sent to to Martinique in the West Indies in 1723. The English introduced the Typica variety from Martinique to Jamaica in 1730. It reached Santo Domingo in 1735. From Santo Domingo, seeds were sent to Cuba in 1748. Later, Costa Rica (1779) and El Salvador (1840) received seeds from Cuba.

From Brazil, the Typica variety moved to Peru and Paraguay. In the late eighteenth century, cultivation spread to the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo), Mexico and Colombia, and from there across Central America (it was grown in El Salvador as early as 1740). Until the 1940s, most coffee plantations in Central America were planted with Typica. Because this variety is both low yielding and highly susceptible to major coffee diseases, it has gradually been replaced across much of the Americas with Bourbon varieties, but is still widely planted in Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.

bottom of page