Safeguarding the Long-term Futureof Coffee

Earlier this year, Hannah Eatough from the Taylors coffee buying team joined five other international global coffee experts on a coffee tasting panel. Their aim was to test a new methodology put forward by World Coffee Research (WCR) to create objective definitions of ‘quality’ coffee.

“We know that taste can be a subjective thing,” said Hannah. “One coffee taster may pick up different flavours and notes than another. What we were doing was blind tasting 60 different coffees, four different times, each time answering the question ‘is this a coffee speciality coffee’ on a scale from ‘Definitely not’ to ‘Definitely’. In total, 1,440 data points were collected.

Taylors supply director Keith Writer is on the WCR board. The organisation focuses on genetically improving coffee to increase and stabilise crop yields, make it more resistant to diseases and pests and improve the quality of coffee in the cup.

“This was the first stage of the study,” said Hannah. “If it’s successful, WCR will be using the data to see what chemical, sensory or genetic properties in coffee can predict its quality. This information can then be gathered to help coffee farmers understand what types of coffee plant to grow to best suit their soil, climate and needs of their customers.”

It was really exciting to be part of this work, which is ground-breaking in the coffee industry. It was intense. We were tasting all day for two days – and I’ve never tasted so much coffee in a day.

Keith said: “It’s testament to Hannah’s expertise and skill that she was asked to be part of this panel, and great that she took the time to contribute to the work. Ultimately, the aim of WCR is safeguarding the long term future of quality coffee around the world which is essential to the success of Taylors.

“We need quality coffee as a business, but so do millions of people around the world who are dependent on coffee growing for their livelihoods. So research into how coffee can survive climate change, and how yields and quality of crops can be increased is vital for these farmers and smallholders.”

Find out more about World Coffee Research here.

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