Catuaí is a hybrid of Mundo Novo and Yellow Caturra developed by the Campinas Agronomic Institute (ICA) in Brazil in 1949. Arising in both yellow and red varieties, the cultivar is a high yielding, vigorous plant. Today, Catuaí forms the backbone of 50% of all the coffee varieties grown within Brazil. The name reportedly means ‘Very Good’ in Tupi-Guarani language.
The plants are low in height and can be planted at a high density but need sufficient and correct fertilisation and care in order to maintain yields and plant health in such settings. Secondary branches tend to form short angles with the main trunk, and the tree is very resistant towards elemental forces like strong wind and rain, as its berries will not drop easily.
Today, Catuaí is widely spread in Latin America. It is a common opinion that there is no difference in taste of the seeds from yellow and red berries, but some sources claim to prefer Red Catuaí. At Mercanta, this isn’t something that we’ve noticed despite cupping many examples of both. However, some reports claim that yellow cherries when ripe are more susceptible to rain damage, which could account for this perceived difference in cup quality.
The most stable taste quality of Catuaí is its sweetness, which is mainly dependent on adequate fertilization. Natural compost also intensifies the sweetness of the coffee and improves its overall taste.