Specific Growing Conditions
By 2080, it is claimed Kew Royal Botanic Gardens researchers that the consequences of climate change could led to the disappearance of between 65% and 90% of the locations bioclimatically suitable for wild Indigenous Arabica Coffee.
Due to the narrow genetic diversity of domesticated coffee plants, the possible extinction of the wild Arabica coffee would pose a serious threat to any continued existence of this cultivated coffee species.
The Impact of Climate Change on Indigenous Arabica Coffee (Coffee arabica): Predicting Future Trends and Identifying Priorities. (2012) Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Environment and Coffee Forest Forum.
Coffee plants require very specific climatic conditions to grow. The coffee growing area exists between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, the so-called ‘Coffee Belt’.Despite some specific regional variations, the coffee plants are grown at high altitudes, preferably in a moist, tropical climate, with soils and temperatures that reach around 21°C.
This makes the coffee production more exposed to environmental issues such as weather extremes, pests and disease and soil quality deterioration. These issues are compounded firstly by climate change effects, which result in shifts and alterations to the characteristics suitable for the existence of coffee and then for optimal coffee productions, and secondly by a lack of information on these variables and the necessary intelligence and solutions placed in the right hands to best manage them.
Quality Means Value
The price of Rwandan coffee, the speciality grade in particular, has been constantly outperforming the New York coffee commodity C-price in the last 10 years, reflecting its premium quality.
Rwandan Development Board, Agriculture Department and Rwandan National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), 2013
Coffee is the second most valuable commodity in the world after oil. More than any other agricultural commodity market, quality means value means better economics in the coffee market. Higher-quality coffee beans are sold at a considerable premium.
The speciality grade is the highest that can be awarded to commercial coffee. Qualifying as a speciality grade, coffee has to meet particular physical characteristics and specific organoleptic qualities like nature of aroma, acidity, body, fragrance and aftertaste. Such quality commands a considerable premium for both the producers and the roasters.
Since 1999, an international competition for high quality coffee is held globally, the 'Cup of Excellence’. The winning coffees are chosen by a select group of national and international professional coffee ‘cuppers’ (tasters) and are blind tasted at least five different times during the competition process. Only coffees that continuously score high enough are allowed to move forward in the competition. The farmers who produced the highest scoring coffee lots in the final round are compensated with the high prices offered in an online auction to buy the coffee. To date, the highest price paid for a Cup of Excellence coffee lot is $80 per pound, in contrast with a market price that can average around $1 per pound.
WeatherSafe recognizes this premium that high quality coffee can gain as an amazing opportunity for all.
Our commitment to continuously improve the overall quality of coffee production, will deliver significant, timely and yet achievable economic gains that can be reached by all coffee stakeholders, in the producing countries as well as in the consuming countries.
Quality is a Land to Discover
Quality in coffee is very important as it can bring much higher returns. Although the understanding and scientific knowledge of coffee quality have advanced in the last 25 years, much still remain to be discovered about coffee’s flavour and quality determinants. Coffee quality is indeed complex as more than 400 organic and inorganic compounds interact and contribute to the flavour of coffee.
Besides, the nature of quality controls performed throughout the coffee production often create a quality awareness ‘gap’ between the farming side and the consumer side. Several quality controls are executed at the final stages of coffee processing, after the roasting and brewing and often they occur far from the production side.
Since it is not uncommon that the last phases of coffee processing are undertaken in the importing countries and therefore close to the end-consumers, this leaves many coffee producers with a partial understanding of the quality and flavour determinants of coffee, and limited ability to address such issues.
WeatherSafe’s mission is to enhance the understanding of coffee production and quality by utilising the vastly untapped capabilities embedded into the satellite data analysis and other sources. With careful modeling of the environmental variables related to the coffee production, we are committed to unveil the secrets of the coffee flavour thus securing higher yields and benefitting all the coffee supply chain stakeholders.