World Coffee Research updates Arabica Coffee Catalog

World Coffee Research (WCR) has launched a major update to its Arabica Coffee Catalog.

Released on 16 February, the catalog has expanded to include varieties from six African countries including Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The catalog previously only covered varieties commonly found in and around Central America.

“We’re very proud to be expanding the catalog to include six African countries,” says Christophe Montagnon, WCR Scientific Director and lead author on the catalog. “The catalog is a living document, and as we continue to expand its global reach, we hope it supports more and more farmers in one of the most difficult and important decisions they make for the long-term sustainability of their farms.”

The updated catalog contains 53 total varieties, with expanded histories for many of them.

The updated version introduces the following varieties: Bourbon Mayaguez 139, Bourbon Mayaguez 71, Jackson 2/1257, K7, KP423, SL28, Harrar Rwanda, Mibirizi, Nyasaland, Pop3303/21, SL14, SL34, Catimor 129, Batian, RAB C15, and Ruiru 11.

The catalog presents a breadth of information on each variety, from its appearance and key agronomic traits to its genetic background and intellectual property rights.

The varieties catalog also includes information on which varietals are currently available through the World Coffee Research Verified program, which certifies coffee seed and nursery producers to improve the healthy, traceability and genetic purity of coffee plants.

The expanded catalog also includes revised information on the genetic groups for some varieties, confirmed through WCR DNA fingerprinting. Testing has confirmed that the SL34 and SL14 varieties, which were previously thought to descend from Bourbon, are actually from the Typica genetic group.

DNA fingerprinting has shown that old Indian varieties known as Coorg and Kent are part of the Bourbon genetic group, and not Typica as was thought. This indicates the first seeds sent out of Yemen to India by Baba Budan in 1670 likely included both the Bourbon and Typica groups, and not only Typica as was previously thought. This may mean the Typica branch separated from Bourbon when the Dutch brought seeds in 1696 and 1699 from India.

The catalog supports broader efforts by WCR and its partners in Central America – and now Africa – to reimagine a coffee sector such that all farmers have access to healthy coffee plants and the tools to make good planting decisions in support of their goals.

To create the varieties catalog, WCR worked with coffee experts from across Central America and Africa, with funding from USAid and Utz/Rainforest Alliance. The catalog is the result of visits to 16 countries and interviews with nearly 180 people from more than 100 private and public bodies involved in the national or regional coffee sectors of Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

To download the new catalog online, click here online

World Coffee Research is a nonprofit collaborative research and development program of the global coffee industry to grow, protect, and enhance supplies of quality coffee while improving the livelihoods of the families who produce it.