Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Exploring the World Coffee Research Varieties Catalog



BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Photos courtesy of World Coffee Research 

In the realm of coffee-industry research, World Coffee Research (WCR), a leading organization dedicated to advancing coffee science and sustainability, has made significant strides this year. In May, they launched an expanded Robusta Variety Catalog, building on the success of their Arabica Variety Catalog.  

Additionally, they have recently unveiled a visually engaging poster offering insights into the genetic relationships among various coffee varieties. Read on to discover how these resources contribute to mitigating risks in coffee farming, empowering producers with accessible knowledge. 

The lifespan of coffee trees, ranging from 20 to 30 years, underscores the importance of informed decisions using WCR’s resources.

Evolving the Catalog to Include Robusta 

Building on the success of their Arabica Variety Catalog launched in 2016, WCR introduced the expanded Robusta Variety Catalog in May 2023. The Arabica Variety Catalog, a pioneering resource at its release, profiles arabica varieties worldwide. Both catalogs provide helpful information on available coffee varieties for farmers, buyers, and roasters. 

Similar to the arabica catalog, the robusta catalog is available in both English and Spanish. The robusta guide features detailed profiles of 47 robusta varieties. Hailing from diverse origins such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Uganda, Mexico, and Vietnam, these varieties are analyzed based on over 20 variables, including characteristics like yield potential, stature, bean size, nutrition requirements, lineage, susceptibility to pests and diseases, and more. 

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These two catalogs have combined to form the comprehensive World Coffee Research Coffee Varieties Catalog, providing an extensive overview of both arabica and robusta varieties. 

The visually engaging poster by WebDNA showcasing the rich genetic relationships between various coffee varieties. 

Visualizing Coffee Diversity: Insights from the WCR Poster 

Designed by WebDNA, a UK-based agency, the recently published poster offers a visualization of the genetic relationships between coffee varieties from the catalog. These visuals provide valuable insights into the diversity and interconnections within the world of coffee. The poster represents various coffee varieties, highlighting more than 100 types from 22 countries.  

The poster doesn’t encompass all global coffee varieties, but provides a glimpse into the diverse foundation of the coffee industry. It serves as a tool for coffee producers, showcasing the rich tapestry of coffee diversity worldwide. WCR has also released an explanatory document to accompany the poster, guiding readers through interpreting the poster’s elements such as species groups and genetic relationships within species, as well as tracing the lineage and parentage of different varieties. 

Farmers and decision-makers may utilize WCR’s catalog and poster to navigate the complexities of coffee variety selection. 

WCR’s Catalog and Poster Guide Coffee Variety Decisions 

These resources address a critical need for coffee farmers. They provide accessible information to assist them in choosing the most suitable coffee varieties for their specific conditions. This includes essential agronomic data such as expected yield, nutrition requirements, optimal altitude, and resistance to diseases and pests.  

The lifespan of a coffee tree ranges from 20 to 30 years. Consequently, decisions made by farmers regarding which varieties they use have far-reaching consequences, impacting future generations. Farmers’ livelihoods depend on reliable information about their crop. The absence of transparent information on available varieties and their differences puts coffee farmers at risk of making uninformed decisions.

WCR’s mission is to cultivate excellence in coffee farming through accessible knowledge and informed decision-making. 

The primary goal of the catalog is to mitigate the risks associated with coffee farming by providing direct and detailed information to farmers and decision-makers involved in renovation or planting. This empowers them to make informed choices about the best-suited variety for their circumstances, facilitating the selection of varieties that align with their goals and needs. This in turn minimizes losses, increasing production volume and enhancing overall quality. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.

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