The future of coffee plants

There are growing concerns regarding the future of coffee plants. Of the 124 wild coffee species worldwide, UK researchers have declared at least 60% of them in danger of dying out. An assessment was produced for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which publishes the global Red List of threatened species and was discovered that the wild relative of Coffea arabica is now classed as endangered.

The coffee beans used in the different blends of coffee come from two species – Coffea Arabica and Coffea robusta.

Arabica coffee can be a very picky crop. It matures slowly and grows best in the shade of trees on high-altitude farms but with deforestation and a changing climate, which brings unpredictable rain, pests and fungal diseases, coffee farmers are hit hard.

So we need these wild species because they contain genes that can be harnessed to help coffee plants survive in the future.

Wild Arabica is used to supply seeds for coffee farming and also as a harvested crop in its own right and this is why it’s important to understand the extinction risks and how to safeguard these species.