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Evaluating the potential of Robusta accessions from the ex-situ collection in Yangambi, DR Congo

As the past years have shown a renewed interest in Robusta from the industry –due to its suitability for warmer climates and its lower price- new research projects have been launched. Thanks to collaborations of different research partners in the Coffeebridge project, agronomic and socio-economic potential of Robusta coffee genetic resources from the Congo Basin is being studied.

In this context, CoffeeLab Independent contributed to the PhD research of Robrecht Bollen from Plantentuin Meise & KU Leuven, for extensive cuppings and evaluations of different Robusta accessions* from the ex-situ collection of INERA (National Agricultural Study and Research Institute) in the bioreserve of Yangambi, DR Congo.

We cupped over 50 accessions from the collection, which consists of cultivars as well as wild material from the rain forest (introduced in the collection in 2015) and of old varieties that have been exchanged with other coffee collections in the past century (e.g. Indonesia).

Our evaluations, with 3 certified Q-graders in the lab of CoffeeLab Independent, focused on an extensive list of descriptors and parameters, with the objective to identify those accessions that are interesting to incorporate in further research for socio-economic and agricultural potential.

Although it is too early for conclusions on the accessions we evaluated (scientific publications on this research will be shared in the following months), we found some very interesting cup characteristics. One specific accession scored exceptionally high in cuppings from both harvest years ’21 and ’22. But buyers, hold your horses…, the collection contains only 1 coffee plant of that extraordinary accession…

*accession = each introduction of a distinct, unique sample of plant material into a collection

Pictures; Koen Wabbes (above) and Robrecht Bollen (below)


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