Competitions shape the trends.

Discover Coffee

Competitions shape the trends.



The World of Coffee 011

When Kentaro Maruyama first ventured into specialty coffees around the year 2000,
the most popular cultivars were the bourbon and typica varieties: two of the oldest, most traditional arabica breeds. Back then, the prevailing preferences were for top-notch acidity and clear, smooth flavors.

Bourbon and typica may have boasted enormous popularity, but they were also susceptible to disease. To help mitigate that considerable risk, growers diversified their operations into different cultivars.

Soon, a new cultivar started to bump elbows with the old mainstays.
Emerging victorious from a 2005 competition in Panama was the geisha variety, whose citrusy, floral aromas and distinctive hints of almost tea-like flavors captured the world’s attention and fueled a rise in popularity that remains strong to this day.

The geisha cultivar’s big splash helped whet the industry’s palate for new tastes.
The pacamara variety won a 2007 competition in El Salvador, with its bright, exotic flavors capturing the spotlight, and parainema—a hybrid cultivar—has made waves in the market since claiming a victory at a Honduran competition in 2017.

With growers now more eager than ever to experiment with a diverse range of new cultivars, buyers are just as excited about new debuts with competition-winning potential. What exciting flavors await? It won’t be long before another cultivar takes the stage and shapes a new trend.