Robusta has substantial potential that shouldn’t be ignored because of its market stigma as the less expensive coffee species of choice for soluble coffee production. Whether for its genetic diversity, disease- and pest-fighting resistance, potential as a second source of income to provide food security for coffee farmers or simply the chance to raise global coffee value and consumption by eliminating bad-tasting defects, Robusta has numerous unexplored avenues of potential to do good.
Center of Robusta Excellence
Therefore, I’m delighted to announce the foundation of the world’s first center of fine Robusta education and research, called C.O.R.E.: the Center of Robusta Excellence. Naturally, that center will be in Uganda, ancestral home of the Robusta species. Robusta coffee is extraordinarily important to Uganda, with over 1,500,000 families depending on its cultivation as a cash crop — about 20% of the total value of all Uganda’s exports. They’ve committed to advance a next generation of Robusta coffees with a combination of applied research and education for Robusta growers and exporters. See the press release and fact statement about Robusta below. It’s a newly formed venture but something that you’re likely to be hearing more of in coming months and years.
Also be sure to stop by the UCDA booth #7035 at the SCAA Event next week in Seattle and join them in the Cupping Exchange room #620 on Sunday, April 27 2014 from 10:15 AM until Noon to try both Arabica and Robusta coffee from Uganda’s producing regions.
UGANDA ANNOUNCES WORLD’S FIRST INSTITUTE OF FINE ROBUSTA
KAMPALA, UGANDA (APRIL 16, 2014) – The Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) today announced the establishment of the first training and research institution dedicated solely to the advancement of fine Robusta. Fine Robusta is a premium quality distinction for the species, analogous to the specialty tier of the more celebrated Arabica coffee species.
The Center of Robusta Excellence (C.O.R.E.) is a cooperative effort between UCDA and the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), financed by the Agribusiness Initiative Trust (aBi). The initiative will bring together members of the regional African and international coffee community with a charter to carry out applied research and education that increases quality and the differentiated value of fine Robusta.
“Uganda is where Robusta originated, which is why we will lead this global effort,” commented UCDA Managing Director Henry Ngabirano. “Through CORE, we aim to achieve excellence with innovation that will lead to not only better Robusta quality but also knowledge that can be used to the benefit of all coffee cultivated worldwide and its farmers.”
CORE programs will focus on the improvement of cup quality, study of new or unexplored landraces of Robusta and strategies for increasing productivity and value. Varieties discovered and new practices developed by CORE are expected to offer a new generation of Robusta to the coffee industry and its consumers – one with dramatically better flavor and more applications than currently exist.
Preliminary planning for the center is already underway with opening date anticipated in 2015.