ASTCA’s leading legacies

The Australian Subtropical Coffee Growers Association salutes two trailblazers of the local coffee growing community who dedicated their lives to encouraging quality over quantity. Last year saw the passing of two stalwarts of the Australian subtropical coffee industry: Joan Dibden and John Zentveld. Each, in their own way, contributed to the establishment, development, and expansion of the coffee-growing industry in the Northern Rivers Region of New South Wales. We, as an industry, have benefited from the sound groundwork these modern-day pioneers put in place, and will do so for years to come.
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Protecting Australian coffee’s borders

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.
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Australian Subtropical Coffee Association

Australian Subtropical Coffee Association on shaping the future

Overcoming data free observations on Australia’s coffee production was a big hurdle in the early days.  Research in the subtropics during the 1980s and 1990s was challenged by such beliefs that coffee “must have shade to produce high quality” that “hand-picked coffee is better quality than machine harvested coffee”, or that “high altitude is required to grow the best quality coffee”.
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Australian Subtropical Coffee Association

Australian Subtropical Coffee Association on Australia’s uprising

One of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of Australia’s coffee producing community was the invention of the mechanical harvester. The first successful coffee harvesting machine was built in Brazil in 1979. It was a game changer. It helped remove the biggest impediment to the development of the Australian coffee industry – our high labour costs. 
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Australian Subtropical Coffee Association

Australian Subtropical Coffee Association on Australia’s home-grown history

“You grow coffee in Australia?” I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked this question.  For the record, yes, we do. The first coffee seed arrived with the First Fleet around 1788, but it did not survive in the harsh climate of Port Jackson in Sydney Harbour. However, there were many efforts to establish coffee in the warmer climates of the northern rivers of New South Wales and Queensland. Back in 1889, almost 130 years ago, the North Coast of NSW actually exported 83,066 pounds or 37.71 tonnes of raw and prepared coffee, all picked by hand.
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Cultivating quality coffee in Australia

In January 2017, 72 cultured seedlings of three different coffee varieties arrived from Florida at Southern Cross University (SCU) in Lismore, New South Wales, in sterile tubes.  The carefully facilitated seedling transfer was part of World Coffee Research’s (WCR) International Multi-location Variety Trial, an effort to facilitate the global exchange of the world’s best coffee varieties. WCR gathered 35 top-performing coffee varieties from 11 suppliers around the world and had them replicated in sterile culture by a Florida propagator, The varieties, with about 50,000 plantlets, were distributed to 23 coffee growing countries for planting on more than 60 test plots. One of those countries was Australia.
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Cool climate coffee

It may not seem it when you visit an Australian coffee farm in summer, but most coffee is grown in notably cooler conditions compared to the usual coffee lands in the hotter tropical zones.
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