The interest in robusta has been on the rise among high-end and specialty coffee circles for years now. Arabica’s more resilient sister species has been steadily gaining popularity as more and more farmers look to heartier crops to combat the effects of climate change and now makes up 40% of global coffee production. But much like Arabica, not all robusta varieties are created equal. That’s why World Coffee Research has released their first ever Robusta Variety Catalog. Available in English and Spanish, the new RVC collects into one interactive website information producers can to use determine which varieties they should consider planting.
Announced last week, the Robusta Variety Catalog works alongside WCR’s Arabica Variety Catalog first released back in 2016. The RVC comes out of the gate with information on 47 different varieties of C. Canephora of multiple origins, including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Uganda, Mexico, and Vietnam. There is information on each variety across over 20 different matrices, including “yield potential, stature, bean size, nutrition requirements, lineage, susceptibility to pests/diseases, and many more.”
“Since our founding over ten years ago, WCR has worked to empower farmers by making tools available to choose the right varieties for their farms and their markets—varieties that deliver high yield and better-tasting coffee in the long term,” said WCR’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jennifer “Vern” Long. “And, now that robusta comprises 40% of the coffee produced and marketed globally, we saw the need to support farmers by creating this tool.”
With the Robusta Variety Catalog, WCR hopes to provide “direct information to enable farmers and other planting decision-makers to make an informed choice about what varieties will grow best in particular environments.” Until now, there hasn’t been much in the way of a transparent guide to robusta varieties, making its farming—which requires multiple complimentary varieties in order to pollinate—even more difficult. The difference between high and low yields can be a matter of picking the right clone varieties; over the course of the 20-30 year lifecycle of the plants, choosing the right varieties can have a long-term impact.
It’s robusta’s world, and we’re just living in it. And with World Coffee Research’s Robusta Variety Catalog, that world may be sweeter than ever. For more information, visit World Coffee Research’s official website.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.