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The basis for the production of the coffee of the future is protected in Costa Rica

  • This is CATIE's International Coffee Collection, located in Costa Rica, which has the support of companies in the coffee industry to be preserved and used to improve world coffee growing.

July 14, 2021. The International Coffee Collection of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center), in which coffee plants from different parts of the world with varied characteristics are found, has been the basis for the production of new coffee varieties (F1 hybrids) with high productivity, good cup quality and resistance to diseases such as rust, thus giving rise to what is considered the coffee of the future.

Preserving this collection, which is located at CATIE's headquarters in Costa Rica, in order to continue using it for the benefit of world coffee growing is a task in which, during the last few years, the Center has begun to receive support from the coffee industry. One of the companies that has joined the task, aware of the importance of the collection in order to have coffee for many years to come, is San Francisco Bay Coffee.

Through a cooperation agreement, San Francisco Bay Coffee has financed for one year the hiring of field personnel and the purchase of supplies to maintain the collection in optimal conditions. In addition, with resources from this agreement, labels were placed on the accessions (plants) in the collection to identify them by name, number and country of origin.

In this same line, CATIE and San Francisco Bay Coffee have also worked together and collaborated in the process of tasting samples of some promising materials from the collection, as a result of which materials with a very good quality profile have been identified; six of them were used to create new hybrids, both in Costa Rica and Panama. "These new hybrids will enter an evaluation phase and in the future we hope that they can be selected as new improved varieties," explained William Solano, CATIE's plant genetic resources specialist.

Representatives of San Francisco Bay Coffee and members of CATIE's Coffee
and Cocoa Agro-forestry and Breeding Unit meeting with CATIE's Director General.


On July 12, representatives of San Francisco Bay Coffee, among them Andros Bracamontes, Juan Flores, Hunter Tedman and Noel Arrieta, led by Paul Smoot, a member of the Rogers Family, founder of the company, visited CATIE and the International Coffee Collection to see the progress of the cooperation.

During the visit, Bracamontes expressed to Muhammad Ibrahim, General Director of CATIE, that San Francisco Bay Coffee has been a very particular and unique company in the coffee industry, because for many years they have been interested in the welfare of each part of the coffee value chain, putting the producer first and that has given them great results, such as the cooperation with CATIE, which he hopes will continue and be strengthened.

 “We are grateful for all the support they have given us. The industry is very important from different perspectives, for the economies, for the livelihood of the producing families in rural areas, for the maintenance of CATIE's International Collection and to generate new varieties and thus be able to provide producers with good materials that improve productivity, quality and, of course, the coffee roasting process. This is why the support of San Francisco Bay Coffee is important for us to achieve our objectives. We are very satisfied with this cooperation and look forward to continue working together," said Ibrahim.

The Director General also pointed out that CATIE is currently in discussions with World Coffee Research to develop cooperation on a global scale in terms of genetic improvement; in addition, he commented that they have talked about creating a coffee research network, in which they would undoubtedly be taking San Francisco Bay Coffee into account, seeking to scale the work to other key sectors of coffee growing. 

After the visit, both parties reaffirmed their interest in continuing the collaboration for more years, and in the coming months they plan to sign a new agreement, including the possibility of adding new cooperation components, such as training in different topics for producers who sell their coffee to San Francisco Bay Coffee.

The new agreement also includes the distribution of seeds of wild materials from the collection and of the Centroamericano, Milenio and Esperanza hybrids to San Francisco Bay Coffee farms in Panama, Mexico and Hawaii, in order to carry out evaluations to validate and study the behavior of these materials in new environments.


About San Francisco Bay Coffee

San Francisco Bay Coffee is a family owned and operated company that strives to create the perfect cup of coffee, while improving the lives of every farmer they interact with along the way, breaking the cycle of poverty that exists in coffee growing communities. They work with 32,000 families around the world to get the best quality coffee at the best price, understanding the needs of the farmers and the desires of the coffee industry.

Representatives of San Francisco Bay Coffee learning about the breeding
process of F1 coffee hybrids at CATIE.



More information:

William Solano
Researcher in Plant Genetic Resources
Coffee and Cocoa Agro-forestry and Plant Breeding Unit CATIE
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Written by:

Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication
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