FU­TURE PROOF

Black olive, mar­malade or to­bacco – wel­come to your next cof­fee, says Shannon Har­ley.

delicious - - INSIDER -

AS WITH WINE, ter­roir – the taste, or in the words of The Cas­tle’s Den­nis Denuto, “the vibe” of a place at a mo­ment in time – is now a buzz­word in the buzzed-up world of cof­fee.

“A lot of peo­ple drink cof­fee, but not a lot taste cof­fee,” says Cam Stephens of Syd­ney’s Mecca Cof­fee. “The sin­gle-ori­gin move­ment show­cases ter­roir in cof­fee, and its com­plex flavour pro­file.”

At Mecca, sin­gle ori­gins are served neat, so the unique flavours of the farms in Bo­livia, Peru, Viet­nam, Pa­pua New Guinea and Kenya can shine through. Don’t fancy notes of blue­berry or leather boot in your cup? Skip acidic high-al­ti­tude va­ri­eties for a blend that has a choco­latey, nutty pro­file for mass ap­peal.

It takes six stages to get cof­fee in a ‘sip­pable’ state. This ex­plains the huge fo­cus on how and where beans are grown, with trans­parency a ma­jor part of sourc­ing trips. BeanScene mag­a­zine’s Sarah Baker says that cli­mate change is an­other ma­jor fac­tor. “By 2050, the amount of suit­able land for pro­duc­ing ara­bica cof­fee will have halved, ac­cord­ing to World Cof­fee Re­search.” This is at odds with the two per cent an­nual in­crease in cof­fee de­mand, mean­ing we’d need to dou­ble pro­duc­tion by 2050.

What’s next? Re­searchers are work­ing on cli­mate-re­sis­tant hy­brids, as well as nat­u­rally de­caf­feinated cof­fee plants. Plus, the lat­est tech­nol­ogy can freeze roasted beans for up to five years with­out af­fect­ing qual­ity. Cof­fee’s jour­ney does not stop here. From the days of Blend 43, we are now in an era of at-home cof­fee afi­ciona­dos, while global gi­ants such as Lavazza are in­vest­ing in re­search with Fer­ran Adrià’s el Bulli Foun­da­tion to se­cure the fu­ture of the bean.

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