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World Coffee Research

Our Strategy

The seed is where it all begins. So that’s where we begin, too. The coffee plant is the most important technology in the coffee supply chain—the basis for coffee quality and productivity. To enhance farmer livelihoods and ensure coffee’s future, we conduct essential research on the plant and on the conditions that help it thrive.

We generate cutting-edge knowledge

We invest heavily in research on coffee genetics, coffee chemistry, adapting the coffee plant to climate change, and coffee quality. Understanding the constraints on quality and productivity, such as a plant’s ability to tolerate drought or certain diseases and pests, lays the groundwork for all the other work we do.

We protect and “boost” the use of good technologies

We provide farmers with access to better information about coffee technologies that increase farmer profits, help nurseries ensure healthy and genetically pure plants, and enable the wider distribution of the best varieties, all while working to protect coffee’s genetic diversity.

We create new technologies

We provide farmers with access to better information about coffee technologies that increase farmer profits, help nurseries ensure healthy and genetically pure plants, and enable the wider distribution of the best varieties, all while working to protect coffee’s genetic diversity.

Research in the lab must make its way to farmer fields if it going to have a real impact. We prioritize the “best bang for the buck” solutions and ensure that results get to farmers.
From the field to the cup

By understanding how coffee quality is impacted by genetics, environmental conditions, and processing, we can work to ensure that the highest quality coffees are available for generations to come.

Our Work

Coffee Genetics & Breeding

Today’s best coffee varieties are no match for the environmental threats of the 21st century—changing weather patterns, increased temperatures, and new disease and insect prevalence. This creates a potentially disastrous decline in supply in the coming decades. Focusing on coffee genetic improvement through work in the lab to identify key genes and genetic markers, and in the field to develop new varieties of coffee, is the most efficient way to ensure the future of coffee. This is one of the cornerstone strategies of our work.

Coffee Quality

Quality delivers higher prices for coffee producers and higher value for coffee drinkers; it therefore supports the growth of the specialty market as well as farmer livelihoods. Improving quality ultimately comes down to understanding its molecular and chemical origins. One of the greatest challenges facing the coffee industry is how to improve the quality of coffee as we adapt the coffee plant to climate-affected environments. We are developing better tools to analyze and unravel coffee quality from which we will generate solutions that everyone from farmers to baristas can use.

Coffee Varieties

Deciding which variety to plant is perhaps the most important decision a farmer will make about his or her farm. It represents an investment of at least 10-15 years, often longer. Yet coffee producers often don’t know what varieties that have and therefore plant seeds that are susceptible to disease or don’t perform optimally in their area, leaving them doubly vulnerable. Helping farmers gain access to better varieties and better information about how they perform significantly reduces the risk farmers face.

 

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