A first-generation (F1) hybrid originating from a cross between Caturra and an Ethiopian landrace from the CATIE collection (accession E531).
The variety was part of the first wave of F1 hybrid varieties created by a consortium including French research institute CIRAD, a regional network of national coffee institutes in Central America (PROMECAFE), and CATIE. H3 was not part of the final round of selection after 2000 because it showed some susceptibility to rust. However, the cup quality was exceptional and some farmers in the region involved in early tests opted to continue to cultivate the variety.
F1 hybrids in Central America are part of an effort by breeders to increase the genetic diversity of varieties in the region since the traditional American varieties are severely genetically constricted.
Typically, F1 hybrid parents are chosen to be genetically distant from one another; this distance maximizes hybrid vigor, which translates into high yields and overall vigor (for example, tolerance to frost), without losses in cup quality or disease resistance. There are only a handful of F1 hybrid coffee varieties in the world, most developed in the last 10 years, and only recently commercially available to farmers.