The enigmatic slim-leaved coffee (Coffea stenophylla), a uncommon and runt-known species of untamed coffee from West Africa, has a identical flavor profile to excessive-quality Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica), nonetheless grows and vegetation below the same range of key climatic prerequisites as robusta (Coffea canephora) and Liberica (Coffea liberica) coffee, in accordance with fresh be taught led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Coffea stenophylla, cultivated in Trinidad Botanical Backyard, with Demerara sugarcanes, photograph taken around 1900. The particular person in the photograph is 1.72 m sizable. Image credit: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew / Davis et al., doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00616.
Espresso is a ubiquitous beverage that drives a multibillion greenback global trade, supports the economy of just a few tropical international locations and offers livelihoods for over 100 million coffee farmers.
No matter its global success, the coffee supply chain is beset with challenges, collectively with cyclic designate volatility, coarse climate occasions, will increase in the prevalence, severity of pests and diseases, and even sleek-day slavery.
Along with those points, and compounding them, are the detrimental influences of accelerated climate swap.
Development on breeding climate-resilient coffee prick vegetation is at an early stage, with attention targeted on the 2 main coffee prick species: Arabica and robusta.
In 2019-2020, Arabica coffee contributed about 56% of world production, robusta 43% and Liberica coffee lower than 1%.
Arabica is a fab-tropical plant, originating from the highlands (1,000-2,200 m) of Ethiopia and South Sudan. Within the wild and in cultivation, it has an optimum point out temperature range of 18-22 degrees Celsius.
Robusta coffee is a predominately low-elevation species (50-1,500 m), taking place naturally across grand of moist-tropical Africa and is customized to greater point out temperatures of 24-26 degrees Celsius or presumably even greater to 30 degrees Celsius.
There is a neatly-outlined designate distinction between the 2 species, with Arabica reaching greater prices 10 due to the its superior style.
Robusta and Liberica are excluded from the greater cost strong level coffee sector, which is in the purpose out time the sole preserve of Arabica.
Coffea eugenioides, a truly minor prick species, has an very excellent flavor and has began to execute attention as a enviornment of interest-market, excessive-conclude coffee nonetheless its seeds are limited and yields are low.
Amongst the a quantity of 120 coffee species, there are many species in a local to grow in hotter and drier environments relative to Arabica, robusta and Liberica and a few markedly so.
To this level, then again, none of them has demonstrated the necessary flavor and agronomic attributes for wide-scale industrial success.
On this appreciate, Coffea stenophylla, a species endemic to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Flit, is of appreciable hobby.
Within the wild, this species grows in hot-tropical prerequisites at low elevations, and is reported to be drought tolerant and partially proof against coffee leaf rust.
Lots of historical references point out that Coffea stenophylla has an very excellent flavor, nonetheless no sensory records about the species has been printed for the rationale that 1920s.
Coffea stenophylla in fruit at Centre National de Recherche Agronomique in Ivory Flit. Image credit: Charles Denison / Davis et al., doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00616.
Following the rediscovery of untamed Coffea stenophylla in Sierra Leone in 2019, and the production of a exiguous prick on the Mascarene island of Reunion (originally from Ivory Flit) in 2020, Dr. Aaron Davis from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, obtained samples of Coffea stenophylla beans.
The researchers performed standardized sensory critiques to overview the style of the uncommon wild coffee to two Arabica samples and one robusta sample.
They realized that Coffea stenophylla had a identical flavor profile to excessive-quality Arabica coffee.
The scientists moreover modeled climate records for Coffea stenophylla, which point out that it grows below identical climatic — or a runt hotter — prerequisites to robusta and Liberica coffee.
The species moreover can potentially tolerate a grand greater point out annual temperature (24.9 degrees Celsius), which is never any longer lower than 6 degrees Celsius greater than Arabica.
“Coffea stenophylla substantially broadens the climate envelope for excessive-quality coffee and may perchance well perchance mute provide a necessary handy resource for the enchancment of climate-resilient coffee prick vegetation,” the authors mentioned.
“Efforts wants to be taken to safeguard it in the wild and to further look for its attainable as a climate-resilient, excessive-quality prick species and breeding handy resource.”
The findings seem in the journal Nature Flora.
A.P. Davis et al. 2021. Arabica-love flavour in a warmth-tolerant wild coffee species. Nat. Flora 7: 413-418; doi: 10.1038/s41477-021-00891-4