Coffee is a fruit. Like any fruit, different trees will produce slightly different coffees. The way these differences are identified is by species and variety.
Most coffee drinkers are aware that Coffea Arabica is the default gourmet species. This is due to the higher degree of natural sweetness, interesting acidity, and overall balance associated with it. It is also considered more difficult to grow.
Varieties, however, are where things get interesting. A variety is a naturally-occurring twist on the original species. These twists reveal secrets bound up in coffee’s DNA and can be quite dramatic. The most exciting examples will be intentionally curated, resulting in a cultivated variety or "cultivar."
If a variety is classified as heirloom, this simply means it is from the part of the world where coffee was first discovered –– namely Ethiopia or Yemen. Certain cultivars, meanwhile, are grown to resist the various challenges which may be presented by the crop's surroundings, which will always be on or near the equator in a tropical climate.
Cartel cares deeply about coffee genetics, including the names of each coffee's respective varieties and cultivars on our bags as a means of emphasizing an often understated dimension of the process.