Flemish researcher discovers new coffee variety

A researcher at the Botanic Garden in Meise (Flemish Brabant) has discovered a new variety of coffee plant.  The new variety has been baptised ‘Coffea rizetiana’ and is native to Cameroon, though it is thought extinct in the wild.

“In the wild the new variety was only known to grow in one part of Cameroon. Today it is extinct in the wild.  Fortunately, the Botanic Garden received cuttings that we cultivated in order to document the variety.  I examined the variety and documented it and came to the conclusion that it is a new variety that has never been documented before”.

Discovering a new variety of coffee is no everyday occurrence.  Stoffelen expects several more to be discovered this year: “In several places researchers are busy documenting new varieties.  Today there are 111 known varieties of coffee plant”.

The Botanic Garden is hosting “Strong Coffee” till 18 April.  It’s an exhibition that combines history and scientific research and takes the visitor on a journey revealing the many aspects of coffee.  The exhibition also shows how for the past century the Botanic Garden has served as a centre of expertise for coffee diversity research, why Belgian ports are important to the coffee trade and the impact coffee has on your health.  The Meise greenhouses show you actual coffee plants but also alternative beverages.

Tine Van de Vel

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