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Coffee roasters look to long-snubbed robusta bean as climate changes


Paradise Coffee roast master Sam LeTendre pours freshly roasted, Ecuador-grown robusta, a breed of climate change-resistant coffee, into a cooling bin Monday in Minneapolis. Paradise Coffee has been roasting highly rated robusta for years and predicts a strong future for the long-derided cousin of arabica coffee, which is seen as the standard-bearer in taste. There are two major species of coffee grown in the world, arabica and robusta. One has long been seen as the superior strain — why else would “100% Arabica” show up on so many bags of beans?

But the age of arabica may soon be in decline, as climate change forces the fickle plants off of farms.

Robusta beans — climate-resilient, more highly caffeinated but long derided by the industry as bitter and inferior tasting — are poised to take their place.

“In the specialty coffee industry, there’s a lot more openness to the idea of robusta — there are significant challenges with arabica coffee with climate change in the future,” said Miguel Meza, owner of Minneapolis-based Paradise Coffee Roasters, which has been roasting high-grade robusta for years. “This has to be part of our future.”

Trend forecasting company WGSN says that transition has already begun. It picked robusta […]

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