Story at a glance:

  • Traditional coffee, which comes from Arabica beans, is becoming harder to produce due to climate change.
    • Stenophylla may serve as an alternative to Arabica..
    • Stenophylla tastes great and can tolerate drought seasons.

A rare wild coffee rediscovered in West Africa is not only hope for enjoying coffee in a changing world, but it is arguably the best tasting coffee available.

According to the BBC, due to climate change, by 2050, the rise of a warmer climate will make half of the land that is used to grow and harvest high-quality coffee, such as Arabica, unproductive.


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Arabica is the most widely grown coffee plant that grows in the mountains and accounts for more than 60 percent of the world's coffee production.

However, Stenophylla, found in Sierra Leone, can grow in hotter temperatures and tastes the same, if not better, than Arabica.

Coffea Stenophylla is said to taste great and can tolerate drought seasons, "[making it] the holy grail of coffee breeding," Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said. "Being somebody who's tasted a lot of wild coffees they're not great, they don't taste like Arabica so our expectations were pretty low."

"And we were completely blown away by the fact that this coffee tasted amazing. It has these other attributes related to its climate tolerance: it will grow and crop under much warmer conditions than Arabica coffee," he continued.

In a blind taste test, 80 percent of coffee connoisseurs could not tell Stenophylla and Arabica apart.


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Published on Apr 21, 2021