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There have been articles in the news about coffee rust affecting coffee crops in many places. After reading this article it dawned on me that not only is C.liberica (resistant to rust) being exported in large quantities from some places (Phillipines, for example), Colombian researchers have developed resistant hybrids that may well be replacing C. arabica--to some extent-- in South America as well.

If I go to my local coffee place and get a (relatively) expensive espresso my assumption is that the beans are arabica unless otherwise indicated. If you look at a futures contract for coffee, there is a big premium for coffee from certain countries, in part because it is assumed to be arabica. Is this still true and, if not, what percentage of coffee labeled arabica is actually arabica?

My link is now broken and in response to the comments I am going to add links on efforts to (partly) replace Arabica with resistant species or hybrids. Here is one: Barista Magazine, resistant hybrids of Arabia-Robusta.

  • It may be that all coffee labeled "arabica" is in fact arabica. But if crops are being decimated by rust and resistant cultivars exist, it seems naive to assume that none have made their way into the production chain. But I have not seen any commercial acknowledgment of this, hence the question. – daniel Aug 14 '15 at 7:47
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Even with the impact of below average crop yields from Coffee Rust, Arabica beans still make up at least 75% of the world's coffee crop. Although they are affected by the rust, Arabica plantations will tend to recover within a few years and go back to business as usual.

CLR resistant varieties aren't without problems. They are still vulnerable to other desease that can have an impact on crops.

USDA report on Coffee Rust impact to Arabica crops

2014 article on the Impact of Coffee Rust

  • But some of their trees may no longer be Arabica trees, but trees bred to resist rust. My question was about the percentage of these non-Arabica beans in Arabica coffee. – daniel Oct 10 '15 at 13:37
  • Most cultivars and varieties are part of the Arabica family. Aside from Robusta and Liberica there aren't many non-Arabica coffees being grown commercially. Now, if you were saying that a lot of coffee plantations are moving away from Typica... that's a different story. – PabTorre Oct 11 '15 at 1:58
  • Your statements may all be true but they are not responsive to the question. Because rust is a recurring threat there is an intense effort to replace some portion of arabica trees with rust-resistant species or hybrids. I think this is only smart. But there is a consumer mystique about arabica and many buyers would be surprised to learn that (say) 5% of their "arabica" beans are in fact something else. If you have quantitative information about the marginal replacement then that would answer the question. – daniel Oct 11 '15 at 12:04
  • do you have any sources on that "intense effort to replace some portion of arabica trees with rust resistant species" ? – PabTorre Oct 11 '15 at 23:49
  • It took me only a few minutes to find the article above which makes it clear that Lempira, which is not arabica but an arabica-robusta hybrid of so-so quality, is being used to replace aging/dying arabica in Honduras. It's fine to question the premise of the question, but your own data provides the business motive to look for alternatives to arabica. You have answered the question: Will coffee plantations tend to recover from coffee rust? Fine, but I didn't ask that question. – daniel Oct 16 '15 at 14:23

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