Mine’s a decaff

We’re always on the look-out for examples of the financial value of germplasm collections which don’t involve some obscure and faraway disease, however nasty. So it was really nice to come across a great story about the search for naturally low-caffeine coffee, and in the Wall Street Journal no less. Coincidentally, there was also a blog post yesterday about the wild coffees of Madagascar.1 Some of the many species found on that island are known to have low caffeine levels, but “[a]ttempts to transfer the caffeine-free property from wild coffee species of Madagascar, which produce an inferior beverage, to C. arabica have failed owing to a strong genetic barrier.”

LATER: I wonder if the recent Korean “land-grab” in Madagascar will have an effect on wild coffees and other interesting endemics.

  1. Yes, dear reader, we nibbled both these things yesterday, but I thought, on reflection, that they were worth a bit more than that. []

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