Bourbon is one of the two most genetically important Arabica coffees. Similar to Typica, this varietal originated from Ethiopia and was cultivated as crop in Yemen.
Records show that a small number of Bourbon plants were grown by the French in Bourbon Island (now Réunion) in the Indian Ocean and underwent natural mutation.
The Bourbon varietal grows best at heights between 1,100m and 2,000m. The tree gives a 20-30% higher yield than Typica, but produces a similar quality of coffee. It has a commercially viable level of yield potential and growth habit. However, it requires significant space and care, is disease-prone, and its trees, which take longer to bear fruit, have a short life cycle.
Given the rather demanding characteristics of the Bourbon, it is considered by many as the varietal that produces one of the world’s best quality coffee.