Saving Coffee

National News

A customer carries a cup of coffee to her table in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

Brace yourself…because your morning cup of joe could be in jeopardy as climate change threatens coffee plants around the globe.

But perk up, because British researchers think they’ve found a solution.

Not any old coffee bean can make a good cup. But the industries’ best beans are under threat as climate change leaves a bitter taste.

“We’re seeing, throughout the tropical coffee belt, increasing temperatures but also more erratic rainfall and increased drought,” said Dr. Aaron Davis, a botanist at Royal Botanic Gardens.

Arabica beans make up more than half of the world’s coffee, but scientists predict production could shrink by 50 percent in 30 years. So the search is on for a future proof plant.

“What we want is a tree that’s relatively compact, that is drought resistant, that is climate tolerant and can give us a good yield with good flavour attributes,” said Jeremy Torz, co-founder of Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.

In the dense tropical rainforests of West Africa, the coffee crisis may have found its savior.

These little black berries of the rare stenophylla plant…

“Importantly, stenophylla can grow and can crop under much higher temperatures than arabica coffee,” said Dr. Davis.

The crucial coffee test, is, of course, will it keep you going, but also it’s gotta taste good.
Researchers say stenophylla delivered.

“It tasted fantastic. It had a good body, a good aroma, it had sweetness, it had complexity,” said Dr. Davis.

Apart from robust flavors, it’s crucially a robust plant.

“So if we are interested in generating the coffees of the future this is a really important little plant,” said Dr. Davis.

With an important bean, to help keep the caffeinated world spinning.

According to the National Coffee Association, 6 out of 10 Americans drink coffee every day, with most enjoying more than three cups.

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