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Coffee Gene Opens Up New Possibilities For Coffee

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Traditionally the quest for the perfect cup of coffee has combined a number of distinct factors, from the type of coffee bean and quality of the filter used to the temperature of the water and even, as recent research has suggested, the colour of your mug.

However, there is now a new tool which can be used in the search for the perfect cuppa, a tool which until now has usually been the domain of futuristic science fiction thrillers and high-tech Japanese laboratories.


The Coffee Genome

Earlier this year scientists unlocked what they are calling the ‘coffee genome’ – which they believe will help coffee aficionados around the globe home in on the perfect brew.


World Coffee Research, which is a scientific collaboration formed by the coffee industry and based at Texas A&M University, managed to sequence the genome of Coffea canephora, which is widely referred to as robusta.

This important discovery uncovers many of the genes involved in making caffeine and various aromas.

Indeed, using this information, coffee makers will have the ability to make better quality and even tastier varieties of coffee, as well as being better informed about protecting coffee plantations from climate change and many diseases.

Dr Timothy Schilling, the executive director of the research laboratory, likened this significant breakthrough to somebody finally “turning on the lights” when it came to making coffee.

However, according to the report, coffee lovers will have to wait approximately five years before the impact of this research is felt in the coffee industry.

More Flavours & Improved Taste

Experts believe that sequencing this genome, in addition to unlocking new coffee flavours which may be “sweeter and more floral”, will eventually result in better-tasting cheaper coffee - that is the kind you usually find on your high street.

Low-quality coffee typically blends arabica, for flavour, and robusta, which doesn't taste as good but provides the caffeine punch.

By boosting the caffeine content of the robusta bean you can therefore substitute less robusta into the mix and still get the same amount of caffeine.

As a result, non-speciality coffee could then include more arabica, and would taste better, without losing its kick.

Protecting Coffee Plantations

Scientists also believe that this genome will help us protect against the various threats that coffee plants face around the world, principally climate change and diseases such as coffee rust fungus.

How exactly?

Well, firstly, the coffee genome will help quicken the development of coffee plants that can sustain the dramatic impact of climate change, and also breed resistance into the coffee crop to protect against the various diseases.

What do you think about this development?

Get in touch with us here at the Cafe2U Blog with your opinions!

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