In 2016, our fifth year, World Coffee Research delivered results that address coffee’s most pressing problems. We believe coffee needs system-wide changes to make coffee farming more profitable for farmers, and more sustainable for industry. From the creation of new F1 hybrid varieties in Central America, to the publication of of the first-ever coffee varieties catalog, to the launch of a global network of farmer field trials and the world’s first nursery and seedling certification program, we advanced the applied research that coffee needs in 2016
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While Washington debates whether climate change is a hoax or an imminent threat, the world coffee industry is not waiting for the American government to take action to protect its business. Coffee crops are under siege from deforestation, abnormally high temperatures, a lack of precipitation, and disease. The global market is heading for its fourth straight year of deficit, according to estimates from Rabobank International. At the same time, global demand for the beloved beverage is expected to reach an all-time high this year, led by demand from younger American consumers. Production will need to increase at least 50 percent by the middle of this century to keep pace with the demand, says Conservation International, an environmental organization. To cope, the industry is rushing to develop plants that can adapt with the changing environment.

The specialty coffee industry relies heavily upon the trained and calibrated palates of certified Q-graders and professional tasters, while sensory experts have made important gains in recent years in attempting to unify the language used to describe coffee and its complex, interwoven qualities of flavor, aroma, feel and finish. The extent to which the coffee world’s largest commodity-grade goliaths depend on these very human methods is hard to know, though we do know that it’s not solely a legion of experienced, pink tongues that they depend upon. At the upcoming SCA Expo event in Seattle, the U.S. specialty coffee industry will get its first glimpse at one of the more advanced solutions applicable to massive-scale coffee blend production and quality assurance: The Insent TS-5000Z Taste Sensing System, also known in the sensory analysis world as an electronic tongue, or e-tongue for short.
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Weather is to take centre stage in coffee markets, which will “likely” be marked by increasing volatility, as investors balance thin short-term supplies with the potential for a “monstrous” Brazilian harvest next year, Rabobank said. The bank hiked by 2.8m tonnes to 2.5m tonnes its forecast for the world coffee production deficit in 2017-18, citing an increased estimate for global consumption, and reduced estimates for output in Brazil, following a recent crop tour, and Indonesia, after heavy rains.