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97. Colombia’s coffee controversy

A few weeks after I published a post on Nariño’s domination of the 2010 Colombia Cup of Excellence, the coffee website Sprudge ran an excellent, in-depth piece on the controversy around the varietal of the lot that won the COE.

The Federación Nacional de Cafeteros has identified it as Castillo, the varietal engineered by the Federation’s research institute to produce higher yields and resist the coffee rust disease that has been responsible for a significant decline in Colombia’s production in recent years.  Others insist it is a Caturra, one of the heirloom varieties that has historically been most common in Colombia.

The controversy emerges in the context of a pitched debate over which varietals are best for the future of productivity and quality in Colombia. The FNC is promoting Castillo, which it believes will help Colombia resume and even exceed its historic production levels of 12-13 million bags of coffee a year.  On the other side of the debate are a number of quality-focused exporters and roasters who consider Castillo’s cup quality to be deficient – it includes genetics of the Timor varietal – and are encouraging Colombia’s farmers to stick with more traditional Bourbon, Caturra and Colombia varieties.

Sprudge also published this companion piece on Colombia’s varietals in some of its best coverage of origin this year.

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