Hybridization has produced other cultivars
which are propagated from cuttings rather than seeds, such as the more
successful arabusta, developed by the French Coffee and Cocoa Institute
in the 1960s and exported to many parts of the world from the Ivory
The goal of most
hybridization is to combine the best qualities of arabica, robusta, and
perhaps of some of the better natural mutants, with the hope of possibly
improving all. The natural hibrido de Timor, the dwarf Ruiru
Eleven from Kenya, the rust-resistance catimor, and the
icatu hybrids are names of some strains involved in, or resulting
from, experiments in hybridization.
There are many reasons why the
development of new coffee hybrids is the object of so much activity
around the globe. In various cases, these efforts have pursued higher
crop yields, larger beans or uniformity in bean size, better cup
flavors, drought-resistant trees, adaptability to specific soil, and
variants in caffeine content, to name but a few sought-after results.
Almost no factors, however, present a
greater challenge to coffee researchers than the two biggest enemies of
the coffee plant: insects and diseases.