STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 12, Number 4

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24 STiR coffee and tea | 2023 Issue 4 (August / September) R By Melanie Boehme obusta's share of global coffee consumption is just 40%. But high inflation is nudging some consumers to trade down to arabica's cheaper cousin. This shift, in turn, is lifting robusta prices to new record highs in commodity mar- kets. Land under cultivation of Coffea canephora has been expanding, as farmers take advantage of its hardiness, high yield, and resistance to the effects of global heating. Although specialty coffee professionals have long viewed robusta as bitter, earthy, low in quality, and suitable mostly for commodity products, now it is being treated with greater respect. Some roasters and brands are putting new care into making and mar- keting quality blends based around robusta or single-origin robusta roasts. In places like the Philippines and Brazil, producers are applying more diverse post-harvest pro- cesses to the bean. A few are turning out "fine robusta." But to realize the bean's full potential, more industry players will need to study up, experiment, and promote the products. Signs of change have come in places like Central and South America, where robusta is gaining acceptance despite long efforts by many countries to build their national coffee "brand" around exclusive use of arabica, sometimes enforced by law. Now countries like Costa Rica and Colombia allow, even encourage, farming of robusta. These and other themes were discussed by a panel hosted at World Coffee Expo in Portland, Oregon in April. The speakers included experts from Colombia, Guatemala, Germany, India, and the Philippines. Exploring Robusta Amid climate change and inflation, coffee's other bean is getting a rethink up and down the supply chain. "If you grow coffee on a mountain slope, you can use the lower parts for robusta and the upper parts for growing arabica." — Stephany Davila-Hermeling, Founder of Encafe, Guatemala Robusta producers today are putting more emphasis on quality, lifting market potential.

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