Coffee researchers in Ethiopia have started planting seedlings of a naturally low-in-caffeine coffee varietal that was found growing in the wild three years ago. Apparently the dust-up that followed that discovery — a pissing match between the Brazilian coffee researcher who “found” the plants and the government of Ethiopia which claimed the plants were taken without permission — has been settled.
“Coffee research centres are in the process of planting seedlings of natural coffee with low caffeine varieties, to enable Ethiopia to supply the world market within the shortest possible time,” said Abera Deressa, State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Don’t step out line for the processed stuff just yet, decaf fans. It’ll still be four years before this planting is mature enough to offer any potential for commercial sale… and even then, there’s still the matter of whether it will taste good.
Speaking of which, Agriculture Minister Deressa further used the occasion to urge researchers to develop coffees with higher yields:
“Although Ethiopia is home to arabica coffee with high generic diversity, the national average yield has not exceeded five to six quintals per hectare, which is lower than in other coffee producing countries,” he said.
Um… Minister? Dude? We’ve been there. Done that. Planting varietals that boost coffee yields has always proved a disaster. Every. Single. Time.
Plant your fancy decaf coffee. We’re totally cool with that. Hey, it might even sell! But leave the heirloom varietals alone, okay? The world wants quality coffee and Ethiopia knows how to deliver.
Don’t mess with it.