Opportunity For Robusta Specialty Coffee: Specialty coffees are commonly associated with Arabica beans, while C. canephora (or Robusta) beans are typically linked to commercial, instant, or low-quality blended coffees.
Arabica’s reputation for delivering taste profiles that meet Specialty Coffee standards is partially due to the concentrated focus on its production and processing and the resources and research dedicated to promoting high-quality coffee. This implies that giving the same attention to Robusta could enhance its quality.
The term “robust” signifies strength, and Robusta lives up to its name with a rich flavor and high caffeine content. Furthermore, Robusta has gained popularity across the coffee-growing world for its low maintenance and strong resistance to diseases. However, this status quo could change with a shift in focus toward improving Robusta’s quality.
Robusta is not really “Robust.”
The estimated mean annual temperature range for Robusta production is between 22-30°C. This estimate is based on climatic conditions in the species’ native range in the Congo Basin, Central Africa – Cai cradle of C. canephora.
An international team of researchers from Australia, Vietnam, and Colombia used a rich set of agricultural yield data to quantify the optimal temperature range of Robusta coffee in cultivation and its sensitivity to temperature change. The authors of the study, published in the journal Global Change Biology and accredited by the SCA, have shown that Robusta is much more sensitive to temperature than previously thought.
With results based on ten years of field observations at 798 farms across Southeast Asia, the study found that Robusta has an optimal temperature below 20.5°C (or min/max mean ≤16.2). / 24.1 ° C). A number that is “distinctly” lower than the optimal temperature has been suggested in previous studies. Worryingly, the study also showed that for every one-degree increase in this optimum temperature, yield decreased by 14%.
The researchers note that within Robusta’s currently assumed optimal temperature range (average annual temperature above 25.1°C), coffee yields are 50% below optimal, the researchers note. ≤20.5°C (according to food navigation).
“Our results show that C. canephora is much more sensitive to temperature than previously thought. “Its potential yield could drop dramatically as temperatures rise with climate change, jeopardizing the billion-dollar coffee industry and the livelihoods of millions of farmers.” The authors said.
New interest in a coffee variety
Whether through World Coffee Research’s effort to map the coffee genome or the competitive pressures of producers interested in different types of coffee. It all boils down to one idea: Global warming could provide an opportunity for C. canephora to break into the specialty coffee sector.
Although some researchers say that C. canephora may not have adapted well to the conditions of a warmer planet, there are quite a few success stories of quality low-altitude C. arabica farms. Medium. Often switch to C. canephora and give higher quality. Agriculture. From the farmer’s point of view, it is better to produce “good” C. canephora than bad C. arabica.
C. canephora – Father of all coffee varieties
Coffea canephora is, in fact, the parent species of Coffea arabica, which, together with Coffea Eugenides, gave rise to the present-day C. arabica coffee plant. As such, C. canephora has much wider genetic diversity than C. arabica.
C. canephora has been found as a native species in various habitats, from the Atlantic coast of equatorial Africa to the highlands around Lake Victoria, at about 1,000 meters above water level Sea. This huge gene bank certainly holds many surprises in taste and quality. However, C. canephora coffee has only been bred for commercial production, instant coffee yield, and pest resistance throughout history!
Dr. Mario Fernandez, Technical Director of CQI, said, “Robusta has several properties that make it more appealing than Arabica to some farmers, roasters, and consumers. Many people in the specialty coffee world do not misunderstand when comparing Arabica and Robusta in terms of quality. They are two species of the same genus, like donkeys and horses. Donkeys and horses are valuable resources for humans, but each species has different names and serves different purposes. There is suitable land for Arabica plants and suitable land for plants. wow.”
Why is Arabica better than Robusta?
Let’s clarify: why is it that when it comes to taste and aroma, Arabica is more complex than Robusta? This is partly due to the chemical content of the genetic code of the two species, C. arabica and C. canephora.
Arabica has lower caffeine, amino acid, and chlorogenic acid content than Robusta, but 60% more oil in total. Chlorogenic acid contributes to the astringency of nodules, so the low acidity helps Arabica significantly increase its final quality. In contrast, many volatile aromatic compounds are dissolved (and retained) in the oil droplets before preparation release. The high oil content may explain some of the differences in flavor quality. Taste. Between Arabica and Robusta, especially in Espresso. Andrea Illy and Rinantonio Viani in Espresso Coffee: The Science of Quality.
In addition, the quality of coffee comes not only from the chemical properties or toxicity of coffee beans but also from human choice. The specialty Arabica we drink today is a gift from nature and the result of centuries of refinement, emphasizing quality-related factors before being put into production—export, processing, roasting, and mixing. More notably, Arabica is invested more time and resources than Robusta in the entire supply chain, which significantly influences the flavor’s final taste.
The vicious cycle of a secondary coffee
It is so difficult to find high-quality C. canephora in the market because it is kept in a vicious cycle of poor quality. Considered by the market as low-quality coffee, prices are limited to floor levels, making C. canephora commercially viable as a differentiated product. Without market power, producers of C. canephora with the potential to obtain a high-quality product are discouraged from doing so. If they are trying to produce high-quality C. canephora, read more. Their fees will go up, but they will still get low prices.
For that reason, producers strive to keep costs to a minimum, resulting in a consistently low-quality product that makes no difference and reinforces the market perception of Robusta as low quality.
It can be said that if C. canephora were cared for and nurtured like Arabica, it could give a higher experience and the species would be more respected. But if we don’t have a market demand for premium Robusta, farmers have little incentive to improve quality at the farm level – perfectdailygrind.com
From the lesson on natural coffee
However, C. canephora may break out of this cycle in the future; We have a precedent for processing dry C. arabica coffee over the past decade. As an alternative to the 20th-century tradition of wet processing (rinsing) coffee – natural processing, C. arabica (natural coffee) is engulfed in the same vicious cycle of low quality that we just finished describing for C. canephora. However, between 2008 and 2018, Arabica coffee escaped that cycle, and today all-natural dry-processed coffee is popping up in third-wave coffee shops worldwide. Usually, everyday, ordinary.
Breaking out of the cycle is not easy. It requires significant concerted efforts by multiple chains in many producing and consuming countries to raise awareness about organic coffee; It’s been years of scientific research in Brazil, Germany, and New Zealand, .. Includes Q Grader Course, training curated natural coffee reviews. This includes the inclusion of wild coffee in the World Barista Competition and replication of the coffee-making process of the Panama Geisha coffee producers.
In short, the approval of “natural coffee” did not come naturally and did not happen overnight. Still, it does happen for specialty coffees offers a similar opportunity for C. canephora specialty coffee. Raising awareness, developing standards, increasing research, and increasing education about C. canephora seems to be the way forward for Robusta specialties worldwide.
The unique qualities of C. canephora
So can C. canephora be specialty coffee? If you are determined to delve into the problem of what specialty coffee is, you will find that the Cambridge dictionary defines specialty as “an extremely delicious product in a particular place” – in that sense, whatever. Any agricultural product, and exceptionally complex products such as wine, tea, and coffee, have the potential to be “extremely good in a particular place” and thus become a specialty.
This is undoubtedly true of C. canephora, no doubt. However, how do we know canephora is “extremely good”? Using the same quality criteria we use for C. arabica would be like “a donkey run test.” Although C. canephora and C. arabica belong to the same genus but the same coffee variety, they are different species, and quality criteria – such as plums and peaches – need to be specified for C. canephora. Instead of sharing it all.
Start with a new protocol for specialty coffee.
Robusta has begun to gain recognition in the specialty coffee world. In 2010, the International Coffee Quality Institute ( CQI ) published the official Robusta Standards and Procedures – adapted from the Specialty Coffee Association Arabica grading method. Real. These protocols have helped the industry distinguish good Robusta from bad Robusta.
Robusta specialties may not be as well known as Arabica specialties, but this may change in the future thanks to producers’ efforts. However, for coffee to find new markets, coffee buyers need to appreciate it as their product – not compare it to Arabica. Understanding “C. “Canephora” has something unique to offer consumers, who can help introduce it to the market as a new way to experience coffee, not as a substitute for Arabica.
As we begin to understand and define the quality of C. canephora cups, we can start to find and develop varieties with better flavors, but at the same time, we will also need to learn how to cook roast. And the most suitable concoction for this species. Learning how to use C. canephora for specialty coffees won’t be short or easy, but it can add new flavors to our coffee industry and – at the same time – help solve a problem. Current problems that C. arabica is facing.