Happy holidays from all of us at World Coffee Research. In our third year, we’ve been busier than ever.

Here’s some of what we did and discovered in 2015:

  • We said it loud and proud: Coffee needs research!
  • We published a major study that pinpoints which of the world’s coffee areas are most vulnerable to climate change. (And we were in National Geographic!)
  • We completed a landmark study of the genetic diversity of Arabica coffee, and unfortunately found it’s one of the least genetically diverse crops in the world
  • To help solve the problem of Arabica’s lack of diversity, we created the Core Collection-a group of the 100 most diverse Arabicas-which will be used in future breeding programs, and is now planted on three research farms in Central America, including the brand-new WCR research farm!
  • We’re using the Core Collection to create new F1 hybrids that will be high producing, tasty, and climate resilient.
  • Meanwhile, we’re trying to understand the varieties we already have. Our years-in-the-making International Multilocation Variety Trial got underway this year, with over 35 top-performing varieties shipping to 16 countries around the world for evaluation. We are going to learn a lot.
  • We had some extra coffee plants laying around, so we set up the first coffee plantation in Texas.
  • The Starbucks Foundation funded a $400,000 project to help coffee leaf rust-affected smallholder farmers in Guatemala replant their farms.
  • A coffee renaissance in Africa? We convened a summit in Nairobi in October to put forward a plan to revitalize Africa’s coffee sector based on getting new technologies into the hands of farmers. Read the proceedings here.
  • We are advancing the science of coffee flavor with the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon

    , a rigorous new tool to evaluate coffee’s sensory qualities. It will be published in January.

  • We put the Lexicon to work in the Colombia Sensory Trial, a comparison of the Castillo and Caturra varieties, chronicled in great depth on the wonderful CRS Coffeelands blog, or in this video.

A look ahead at 2016

We couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead next year, and about the two exciting projects coming right off the bat in January:

  • First, we will be launching a new website with more information about our programs.
  • Second, we will be releasing the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon for free as a PDF download. (Look forward to another email about that in a few weeks!

Also ahead will be much more work on climate change, the launch of an international network of on-farm demonstration trials with new varieties, a variety catalog for Central America (with comprehensive evaluations of varieties using the Sensory Lexicon), a pilot program to ensure that coffee nurseries are producing healthy, genetically pure plants, continued work on the International Multilocation Variety Trial, and much more.

We want to take a moment to specially thank our donor-members, who make possible our work to ensure the future of coffee. If you are not a member, you can join anytime.

Thank you for your interest in our work, and of course we welcome your feedback. You can email info@worldcoffeeresearch.org with your questions, comments and feedback.

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