Hibrido de Timor - resistance at all levels

Hybrido de Timor is next to S795 another Arabicoid, a cross between the species C. Arabica and C. Canephora. It forms the basis of the largest Arabicoid group, which now consists of numerous lines and hybrids. Presumably, it is currently the largest genetic potential for adapting coffee production to the current climate change with increased occurrence of coffee rust (CLR) and other world-wide spreading diseases of coffee plants. The first "Híbrido de Timor" (HT or HdT) plant was discovered and described in 1917 on the island of Timor in Indonesia (Bettencourt 1973), and registered as HT CIFC 4106. The plant is said to be a spontaneous hybrid of Coffea arabica var. Tipica (4x = 44) and Coffea canephora (2x = 22). From HT CIFC 4106, various other HT lines have been developed.

Through resistance genes (especially the SH3 gene) to coffee rust ("Coffee Leaf Rust" (CLR)), hybrids derived from HdT are significantly more resistant to the different types of coffee rust than other Arabica varieties. In addition, only the S795 Arabicoids (from C. Arabica and C. Liberica) form a similar resistance. Due to their higher biodiversity, Arabicoids offer more defense power than the less differentiated Tipica or Bourbon lines.

In addition to the high resistance to coffee rust, HdT cultivars have a higher resistance to Coffee Berry Disease (CBD) caused by "Colletotrichum coffeanum", root nodule nematodes (Meloidogyne exigua, M. incognita, M. coffeicola, Pratylenchus brachyurus) and coffee bacteriosis caused by " Pseudomanas syringae pv. Garcae "- a lot of resistance - based on extended genetic diversity.

The first HdT cultivars were released for cultivation in Kenya, Brazil (1976), Colombia and Costa Rica. The seed for cultivation came from the research centers of CIFC (Centro da Investigação de Ferrugem do Café, Portugal), IIAA (Instituto Investigação Agronomia de Angola) and ERU (Estação Regional de Uige) (Pereira et al., 2002).

The HdT group can be simplified into some big lines:

Catimor line (HdT x Caturra), Sarchimore line (HdT x Villa Sarchi), Cavimor line (HdT x Catuaí), Icatú line (HdT x Mundo Novo), the SLN9 line (HdT x Tafarikela) and Ruiru Line (HdT x Rume Sudan). All are subdivided into numerous locally adapted hybrids.

In the taste profile they convince by fine stone fruit notes, with tones of apricot, peach, cherry, mango and plums. Far too rarely cultivated and largely unknown and underestimated during tastings in the coffee industry, they eke out an existence as formerly the Dornfelder, which was initially used only as "colouring wine" for the mostly colourless Swabian Lemberger. His potential as a varietal wine was discovered late. In the meantime, the Dornfelder has advanced to a very popular with connoisseurs red wine.

Due to the high resistance the HdT-lines are wrongly assumed to have a bad flavour profile, which led to the fact that these coffees were almost never cultivated by speciality coffee farmers and therefore are only accessible to the specialty market to a limited extent. Alone, the genetics of many of these lines with African roots on the SLN9 and Ruiru-11 should make you wonder if the "bad" taste is always used against the cultivation of these coffees. So these are to 50% of half wild Ethiopian and Sudanese varieties, which are among the finest coffees.

To this day, persistent prejudices against HdT and the lines developed from it. Coffee plants, which possess such a high resistance, must nevertheless possess the defects of bad taste. However, one tasting is enough to convince most professionals and coffee connoisseurs of the exceptional taste and the unique breadth of flavour of these coffees.

The most completely devised negative taste descriptions certainly contributed significantly to hindering the spread of the HdT lines - the chemical industry with its large pesticide sector will certainly have been pleased about it. Meanwhile, the treatment of high-priced Tipica and Bourbon plantations against coffee rust is devouring millions and many farmers in Central America are facing financial difficulties. Also this point shows a similarity to the other large Arabicoid group, the S795 line, which also unknowingly conceived bad taste properties.

Thanks to its balanced acidity, HdT coffees are ideal for wet processing with fermentation (fully washed) to present peach notes. Due to the high sweetness of the "pulped natural" and the dry preparation "natural", tones are created that are reminiscent of dried apricots and ripe mango. In addition, the coffees develop fine vanilla and caramel flavours and nut notes.

The HdT hybrids are therefore suitable as coffees in lighter roast as well as espresso roasting without overriding with the acid, as this can easily occur especially in the Bourbon lines but also in the Tipica. There are only a few coffee varieties that provide such a balanced flavour profile. Again, this is due to the large genetic bandwidth.

Light roasted coffees - prepared as cold brew - offer fine cherry notes and apple notes. Depending on the type of soil, these range from green apples to red dried apples.

Striking is the strong "representing" of the growing heights - the coffee gain especially at lower altitudes in the area of the body, which then turns out very pronounced. Icatú hybrids around 1,000m are therefore unique coffees for lighter espresso roasts, without offering too little body. Unfortunately, these coffees are far too rare - they meet the expectations of the "coffee experts" neither in cultivation height nor in variety. The Icatú (especially the yellow cherry) is one of the most popular coffees in the Japanese specialty coffee market.

I remember my first tasting of an Icatú amarelo of the Fazendas Dutra in Brazil - a coffee that still fascinates me with its body and the balanced fruit tones again and again. It is a rare coffee, which is grown mostly in Brazil, but also in Hawaii (there also in a purple-coloured sub-variety).

Both volcanic and ferralsolic soil (high iron oxide and aluminum content) give the coffee ideal conditions - the former for nutty, caramel tones, the ferrous for fruity notes. The high genetic bandwidths of these coffees allow a strong adaptation to the particular terroir of these plants, which leads to improved flavour profiles with increasing age of the plants. Thus, the HdT lines are in contrast to Tipica or Bourbon lines, which gradually lose their taste characteristics in many growing regions without ideal growth conditions of the terroir factors.

It is to be expected that some top coffee will emerge from these lines in the next few years. Many international tastings have won the varieties - unfortunately without much public awareness. In India the SLN9, Obatá, Tupí and Icatú in Brazil, Sarchimore hybrids in El Salvador, Mexico, Costa Rica, ...

My meeting with an Obatá from O'coffee from Riberao Preto at Octavio Café in Sao Paulo - this time prepared as a filter coffee was also an impressive taste event. The SLN-9 from Badra Estates in India is one of the world's highest awarded coffees - and rightfully so.

In our coffee collection are now numerous HdT coffees from different countries and farms: India, Mexico and Brazil. The only question now is when these coffees will finally receive the recognition and esteem in the breadth of the "coffee society" that they are entitled to by taste.