Several days ago a conversation broke out on Twitter between a few coffee industry heavy-weights talking about the relative impact of variety (and cultivar, both of which are often confused with the term varietal) in the taste of a particular coffee. You’ve probably seen the words (Typica, Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon, SL28, Pacamara, and so on) on coffee bags with little explanation as to their meaning or import. If you were ever curious to learn more, you should check out the blog that emerged from that Twitter conversation:

Within the coffee industry, how coffee varieties impact taste is a relatively marginalized topic; among most coffee drinkers, it’s hardly a consideration. Most identify coffee by origin – the country, or region, or farm – rather than variety.

Should we pay closer attention to varieties? What is the impact on flavor? A spirited exchange followed on Twitter, and after some discussion it was decided to move the conversation to Tumblr, where the character counts aren’t limited and where the dialogue, hopefully, will be easier to follow.

I’m glad the conversation has shifted to a space that’s easier to follow and reference in the future. If this piques your interest, head over to read more at Wet Mill. So far only Peter Giuliano of Counter Culture, and James Hoffman of Square Mile have chimed in, but if people are reading, perhaps it will spur a more interesting dialog between the many participants. You can also make use of the Tumblr “Ask me a question” feature if you have any ideas or questions of your own.

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