Single O and World Coffee Research bring climate-resilient coffee to Australia

Single O has joined with World Coffee Research (WCR) to launch the No Death to Coffee project, will see the roaster introduce three new climate-resilient WCR-bred coffees to Australia.

“We’re passionate about supporting all innovations that will lead to more stability for coffee producers and future-friendly varieties like Starmaya are set to enhance farmer livelihoods. We can’t wait to share it with the Australian coffee community,” Single O Director of Coffee Wendy De Jong says.

WCR created the climate-resilient plants using molecular breeding, which takes half the time of typical plant breeding, a process that usually takes around 25 years.

Molecular breeding sees genetic data around desirable coffee traits paired with leaf samples from baby coffee plants. Rather than waiting for the baby plants to grow up, this provides a very quick way of screening coffee varieties.

WCR’s Greg Meenahan says this kind of research and development is vital considering the demand for coffee is expected to double by the year 2050.

“If nothing is done, more than half of the world’s suitable coffee land will be pushed into unsuitability due to climate change. Without research and development, the coffee sector will need up to 180 million more bags of coffee in 2050 than we are likely to have,” he says.

Australian is also contributing to the development of climate-resilient coffee.

Southern Cross University (SCU) is leading the Australian research into coffee’s future by participating in WCR’s International Multilocation Variety Trial, an effort to facilitate the global exchange of the world’s best coffee varieties.

The trial brings 35 of the world’s best Arabica varieties to 23 countries for rigorous testing and evaluation to see how the plants perform in different climates. The successful varieties and findings from the Australian trial will be shared with coffee producers and farmers around the world.

To date, Graham King, Director of Plant Science, and his team at SCU, are working with almost 1000 plants and testing 20 different coffee varieties. This month marks an important milestone for the research, which will see some of the first climate-resilient coffee trees leave the campus greenhouses to be planted in Australian soil at the Tropical Fruit Research Station in Alstonville, northern New South Wales.

Australian roasters can contribute to WCR’s research through its Check-Off Program, which sees roasters donate anything from half a cent up to 0.20 cents per pound or kilogram of green coffee purchased from participating suppliers to help fund future innovation in coffee agriculture.

“We recognise that the future of coffee is in all of our hands, and are calling on Australian roasters and importers to do their part to fund the critical research and development needed for coffee and farmers alike by signing up to the WCR Checkoff program,” Wendy says.

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