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A taste of coffee to come

Seems like it’s probably worth recapping the whole new-species-will-save-your-morning-coffee-from-climate-change story that’s been going around.

It all started last year with a paper describing the rediscovery in the wilds of Sierra Leone of a species of coffee that used to be very well liked but then fell out of commercial favour due to low yields. It’s called Coffea stenophylla1 and of course Jeremy did a podcast about it, interviewing one of the authors of said paper, the very engaging Prof. Jeremy Haggar.

Fast forward a year and we now have a follow-up paper assessing the taste of coffee made from beans of C. stenophylla from that (very tiny, alas) wild population in Sierra Leone and also from a (more substantial) CIRAD research stand in La Reunion. And guess what? It’s really good. So of course Jeremy went back to Prof. Haggar for another nice chat.

C. stenophylla grows in hot and humid lowlands, so it’s a little more ready for climate change than your average arabica.2 Still, the yield issue is presumably still there, and no doubt other problems will arise, as they always do. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because I really want to taste the stuff — and boost Sierra Leonean business along the way.

Oh and of course we’ll have to revise the global coffee diversity conservation strategy now…

  1. More on this database of wild coffee here. There is only one entry for C. stenophylla in Genesys, from CATIE, but there are some doubts about it. []
  2. There’s also a video now. []

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