Where to find us at the Specialty Coffee Association Expo 2023 in Portland

Onstage at Re:Co, Expo lectures, and at our in-person Think + Drink event

How do we take science and actually make it work?

Dr. Tania Humphrey, Director of Research & Development, World Coffee Research
Wednesday, April 19, 2023 | 2:15–3:30 PM
Main Stage, Re:Co Symposium @ Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (Re:Co registration required)

In 2013, Dr. Tim Schilling, WCR’s founder, gave a Re:Co talk—the very first talk ever given by a member of the organization just a year after its founding. He asked the question, “How do we take science and actually make it work for the good of the industry, for the good of farmers?” and went on to describe why WCR was formed and why its work focuses on varieties and genetics. He proceeded to detail two projects that were then just plans on paper: the International Multi-location Variety Trial (IMLVT) and a proposal to send new, unique plants to a network of countries for breeding.

Now, in 2023, WCR has made huge leaps forward on both fronts. In this talk, Dr. Tania Humphrey, WCR’s Director of Research & Development, returns to Dr. Schilling’s question a decade into this work. Dr. Humphrey will share some of the early global results of the IMLVT and how they are being used by WCR and its partner countries to deliver on the promises laid out 10 years ago, and about the launch of Innovea, the first collaborative, global breeding effort for coffee in over 50 years.

Speaker Session IG 6 2x

Think + Drink: Annual event

Friday, April 21, 2023 | 2–4 PM
Portland Ballroom, Room 252, SCA Expo @ Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Join us for our annual gathering and report-out to the coffee community, including a summary of WCR’s progress over the last year and a preview of what’s ahead. Drinks and reception to follow.

Note: We will also be hosting a virtual version of our Think + Drink event on Tuesday, May 9 at 11 AM Eastern Time / 17.00 CET for those who can’t make it to our in-person session. Register online for the event here.

Dual Virtual In Person THINK DRINK 1

Robusta: Market Opportunities as a Response to Climate Change

Hosted by the International Trade Center

  • Silvio Leite, Owner of Silvio Leite Café and Head Judge, Cup of Excellence/Alliance for Coffee Excellence
  • Cyrille Jannet, Managing Director, Keurig Trading
  • Thuy Dong, Eh Tan Cooperative and Simexco Daklak, Vietnam
  • Dr. Tania Humphrey, World Coffee Research

Saturday, April 22, 2023 | 10:15–11:15 AM
Room A105, SCA Expo @ Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

While Arabica remains globally the most popular species for coffee drinkers, with climate change advancing and decreasing suitable land area for the species, it is at risk. Robusta offers a more resilient, climate-smart alternative and with recent efforts in research and development for higher quality, 'fine' robustas, it could be a competitive choice. In Mexico, washed robustas offer a high-quality, clean, unique cup. In West Africa, Robusta roasted coffees are being sold in local markets, while in Brazil, producers are experimenting with specialty canephora. This could offer new opportunities to the new generations while offering a global solution to the coffee sector.

In this panel discussion, participants will explore how boosting the robusta sector could contribute to a more resilient, climate-smart global coffee sector, how it can benefit economies and livelihoods, and what market opportunities exist. How is robusta a climate-smart solution? What is the market potential for robusta in different regions? How could expanding our definition of fine coffee provide new opportunities for coffee farmers and for the coffee industry? What are the strategies, actions, and partnerships that need to happen to boost the robusta sector in Mexico, Africa, Vietnam, and other regions?


The future of breeding and breeding for the future

  • Dr. Tania Humphrey, Director of Research & Development, World Coffee Research
  • Dr. Elijah Gichuru, Coffee Institute Director, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization
  • Dr. James Gimase, Research Scientist, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization
  • Dr. Surya Prakash Rao, Former Director, Central Coffee Research Institute, India

Saturday, April 22, 2023 | 1–2 PM
Room B117-119, SCA Expo @ Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

In this Expo panel session, breeders from Kenya and India will join WCR’s R&D Director to share their perspectives on the future of breeding and coffee agriculture, and why collaboration has become the new imperative.

It’s easy to take for granted that every single cup of coffee we drink was created as a result of breeding that happened yesterday. To secure the future of coffee in the face of the climate crisis, breeding better trees is essential for both adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change—and delivering higher quality in the cup. But, globally, coffee breeding programs are in danger of being overtaken by events, unable to generate innovations quickly enough to respond to the growing climate crisis.

Despite this urgent situation, the outlook in coffee is promising—because the industry has come together to take concrete, pragmatic, and global action to respond to the enormity of the climate crisis with modern agricultural science. In 2022, World Coffee Research launched the Innovea Global Coffee Breeding Network, an industry-funded and -driven program that brings multiple countries together to collaborate, for the first time in history, to develop and release better coffee varieties tailored to the unique needs of each countries’ farmers and markets, and the realities of a warming planet. The outputs of this program will shape the future of coffee agriculture for decades to come. Kenya and India are two of nine total partner countries participating in Innovea.

Breeding for the future