‘A really important little plant’: climate-proof beans brewing future of coffee

This is Coffea stenophylla

a species of bean not seen in the wild for decades

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DOCTOR AARON DAVIS, BOTANIST, SAYING: "We think we have a really important discovery because we've found a coffee that grows at higher temperatures but also has those qualities that the consumer requires from coffee i.e. a fantastic taste. So if we are interested in generating the coffees of the future this is a really important little plant."

Arabica and robusta make up 99 percent of coffee consumption

But many farmers throughout the world’s coffee-growing belt

are already experiencing negative effects from climate change

leaving some coffee purveyors optimistic about stenophylla’s future

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY TORZ, CO-FOUNDER OF UNION HAND-ROASTED COFFEE SAYING: "And over previous years other varieties have been explored but none have had the potential quality in the cup that stenophylla offered us at that first tasting. And without doing very careful screening and grading of a sample that I would normally taste it's actually quite remarkable to see the level of clarity and quality in what we have already, so yes I think we're hugely optimistic for the future that stenophylla can bring."

Video Transcript

[SHUFFLING]

- We think we have a really important discovery because we found a coffee that grows at higher temperatures, but also has those qualities that the consumer requires for coffee, i.e. a fantastic taste. If we're interested in generating the coffees of the future, this is a really important little plant.

- And over previous years, other varieties have been explored, but none have had the potential quality in the cup that stenophylla offered us at that first tasting. And without doing very careful screening and grading of a sample that I would normally taste, it's actually quite remarkable to see the level of clarity and quality in what we have already. So, yes, I think we're hugely optimistic for the future that stenophylla can bring.