Australian Subtropical Coffee Association’s Rebecca Zentveld on how to keep Australia’s coffee growing industry pest and disease free.
Thanks to Australia’s geographical isolation, it is the only coffee-producing nation in the world that is free of coffee leaf rust and the coffee berry borer pest.
It’s also thanks to Australia’s rust-resistant cultivars that Australian coffee growers enjoy the unique position of being able to grow naturally spray-free coffee in a cooler, subtropical climate.
However, with such isolation comes a degree of vulnerability, and we are always at risk of introduced pests and diseases.
If coffee pests such as the berry borer or leaf rust were to arrive on our plantations, the Australian coffee growing industry could be wiped out.
Farmers can only do so much to ensure that Australia’s coffee crops remain free of pests and disease. We also rely on the people visiting and working with international origins to be on the lookout, such as baristas and roasters, the ones who could accidentally introduce these pests to the country.
To avoid introducing pests and diseases to Australia, be aware of the following risks and rules.
When returning from visiting origin plantations, you could inadvertently bring back coffee leaf rust spores on your clothes and shoes. Spores aren’t visible, but cling easily to clothing and textured material. The berry borer beetle can easily get caught up in folded clothing, or in a backpack or camera bag. Shake your clothes out thoroughly for any little critters.
Never bring home hessian or jute coffee bags from origin. Also avoid bringing back small samples of green bean. If you do bring back small samples, treat them like the biosecurity hazard that they are and keep them isolated. Leave hessian bags at your roastery, and above all else, do not place anywhere near a coffee tree — even if in a garden or a pot. Leaf rust spores can last for weeks on hessian bags, and become active under the right conditions.
Only use green beans for roasting. Do not germinate green beans yourself, or contract a local nursery to do so. This is illegal because the biosecurity risk is immense. The biosecurity protocols for importing coffee for roasting do not cover the purposes of growing coffee, which is far more stringent. Australia’s legitimate, law abiding coffee importing companies know and strictly communicate that any green bean they sell is for the purposes of roasting, not growing.
Back on home soil, there are, however, a few simple steps you can take to ensure Australia’s coffee production remains fruitful.
At the roaster: Keep hessian bags separate from everything else and dispose of hessian bags responsibly. Thoughtfully repurposing for art or craft work is ideal.
When returning from origin: At international arrivals, do the right thing and declare your coffee farm visit to the quarantine officers and get your shoes sprayed by the biosecurity officer. It only takes a few minutes. Also, wash all clothes, boots, jackets, and bags soon after returning home.
When visiting an Australian coffee plantation: Either soon after returning from origin or after being in your roastery, tell the plantation staff where you have been and be sure not to have the same bags, boots or clothes.
If we all take biosecurity seriously, we can help prevent any breakout or transference of the dreaded coffee pests and diseases, and Australia’s coffee growing industry can bloom without fearing the future.
Comments Off on Protecting Australian coffee’s borders 55
Cofi-Com’s John Russell Storey explores Tanzania’s countryside that reveals committed farmers, impressive coffees and a real life animal kingdom.
Arriving in Tanzania was a world away from the bustling, crazy capital city experience of Kampala. Kilimanjaro Airport is bang in the middle of the countryside, with the nearest major town well over an hour’s drive away.
Most arriving passengers are whisked away by tour operators heading off to big parks like Serengeti. For us, it was a short drive to a nearby lodge for an afternoon of R&R before driving almost two hours the next day through arid scrub and acacia trees to Burka and Mondul Estates.Read more
Pedro Gabarra Teixeira is a sixth-generation Brazilian coffee farmer committed to protecting the natural habitats around his farms and educating the community on the importance of preservation.
Despite Pedro Gabarra Teixeira’s family having more than 150 years of coffee farming behind them, his first taste of the coffee industry came further down the supply chain.
“I am a sixth-generation coffee farmer, but I wasn’t actually raised on the farms. My relationship with coffee actually started in 2001, when I was at university and started to roast,” Pedro tells BeanScene.
“The idea behind the roaster was to give Brazil the best coffees of Brazil, not necessarily exporting everything good. That’s how I got into coffee.” Read more
Comments Off on Pedro Gabarra Teixeira’s good nature 275
When people ask: “How was your origin trip?” I struggle to find the right words to capture everything and do the country justice.
However, if I had to summarise Uganda in just one word, it would be “industriousness”. Kampala, the country’s capital and largest city, buzzes with insane motorcycle taxis that operate on adrenaline and blind luck. Main roads are lined on both sides by a myriad of small businesses selling everything from luscious fruits to massive bedsteads and intricate wooden coffins. In some areas it’s a contrast between sophisticated restaurants and people living in corrugated iron shacks tens of metres away. Outside the cities and towns, the pace is slower but it felt like everyone was doing something or going somewhere. Read more
Minas Hill Coffee Founder Marcelo Brussi says his admiration for coffee farmers comes from his relationship with his grandfather, Francisco Brussi, who grew up working on coffee farms.
Francisco’s parents migrated from Italy to Brazil to work in coffee farms before he was born. After his father left the family when Francisco was 10, he, his mother and brother, moved to Sao Paulo. When Francisco was an adult, the State Department of Agriculture hired him to monitor coffee exports, due to his knowledge as a coffee picker and worker. Read more
Comments Off on Minas Hill Coffee: Our farmers, our heroes 207
Every producer thinks their farm is special, but in Gabriel Oliveira’s opinion, owning Bom Jesus is a matter of luck and merit.
Located at Alta Mogiana biome in Brazil, Bom Jesus is a picture perfect postcard of lush terrain, symmetrical rows of coffee trees, and natural vegetation.
As a child, Gabriel recalls playing among the drying coffee on his grandparent’s farm. He grew up with first-hand appreciation that coffee production was arduous, detailed, and extremely passionate work, but it was work that fascinated him. Read more
Comments Off on Gabriel Oliveira of Bom Jesus shares his gift 339
Over more than 30 years importing coffee to Australia from around the world, Cofi-Com has developed strong ties with its Volcafe sister companies that operate in most growing origins.
These relationships give Cofi-Com an in-depth knowledge of the requirements and capabilities of farmers in these areas. It is this on-the-ground presence that gives the trader the ability to provide a range of coffees, from commercial blends to high-end speciality, to its roasting customers. Read more
When Sasa Sestic first introduced carbonic maceration (CM) to the global coffee community on the 2015 World Barista Championship (WBC) stage, the industry saw the value the new processing method could offer in terms of taste and coffee quality.
CM sees farmers ferment coffee in a controlled setting, allowing them to bring out complex flavours and ensure greater consistency. Read more
Comments Off on Project Origin raises reputations 340
There’s an unusual scene in the large Chinese cities of Shanghai, Chongqing, Beijing, and Guangzhou. Rather than occupying stores selling Sinkiang Black Beer, green tea, or pearl milk tea, city goers are flooding coffee shops for a daily caffeine hit.
“Coffee drinking in China is a fashion, not a habit,” says Shirley Liu, Yunnan Volcafe General Manager. “Five years ago, you wouldn’t have seen any coffee shops in the city. Now they’re everywhere.”