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Coffee is at risk

The livelihoods of coffee farmers and the businesses who rely on these farmers to grow great coffee are urgently threatened by:

  • Climate Change
  • Low Yields
  • Diseases & Pests
  • Barriers to Quality

A Sustainable Future is Possible

The most efficient way to solve these complex problems for both business and farmers is through collaborative, scientific research and development.

We Connect

The Coffee Industry
Coffee Producers
Cutting edge science

Our Strategy

The seed is where it all begins. So that's where we begin, too. The coffee plant is the most important technology in the coffee supply chain—the basis for coffee quality and productivity. To enhance farmer livelihoods and ensure coffee’s future, we conduct essential research on the plant and on the conditions that help it thrive.

  • We generate cutting-edge knowledge

    We invest heavily in research on coffee genetics, coffee chemistry, adapting the coffee plant to climate change, and coffee quality. Understanding the constraints on quality and productivity, such as a plant’s ability to tolerate drought or certain diseases and pests, lays the groundwork for all the other work we do.

  • We protect and "boost" the use of good technologies

    We provide farmers with access to better information about coffee technologies that increase farmer profits, help nurseries ensure healthy and genetically pure plants, and enable the wider distribution of the best varieties, all while working to protect coffee’s genetic diversity.

  • We create new technologies

    Using cutting-edge knowledge of coffee genetics and quality, we are creating the next generation of coffee varieties that will be climate resilient, disease resistant, high producing, and high quality. Simultaneously, we are delivering new solutions for diseases and pests, technologies for propagating hybrid varieties, and more.

  • From the lab to the field

    Research in the lab must make its way to farmer fields if it going to have a real impact. We prioritize the “best bang for the buck” solutions and ensure that results get to farmers.

  • From the field to the cup

    By understanding how coffee quality is impacted by genetics, environmental conditions, and processing, we can work to ensure that the highest quality coffees are available for generations to come.

Our Work

Coffee Genetics & Breeding

Coffee Genetics & Breeding

Today’s best coffee varieties are no match for the environmental threats of the 21st century—changing weather patterns, increased temperatures, and new disease and insect prevalence. This creates a potentially disastrous decline in supply in the coming decades. Focusing on coffee genetic improvement through work in the lab to identify key genes and genetic markers, and in the field to develop new varieties of coffee, is the most efficient way to ensure the future of coffee. This is one of the cornerstone strategies of our work.

Coffee Quality

Coffee Quality

Quality delivers higher prices for coffee producers and higher value for coffee drinkers; it therefore supports the growth of the specialty market as well as farmer livelihoods. Improving quality ultimately comes down to understanding its molecular and chemical origins. One of the greatest challenges facing the coffee industry is how to improve the quality of coffee as we adapt the coffee plant to climate-affected environments. We are developing better tools to analyze and unravel coffee quality from which we will generate solutions that everyone from farmers to baristas can use.

Coffee Varieties

Coffee Varieties

Deciding which variety to plant is perhaps the most important decision a farmer will make about his or her farm. It represents an investment of at least 10-15 years, often longer. Yet coffee producers often don’t know what varieties they have and therefore plant seeds that are susceptible to disease or don’t perform optimally in their area, leaving them doubly vulnerable. Helping farmers gain access to better varieties and better information about how they perform significantly reduces the risk farmers face.

Climate Change

Climate Change

As temperatures rise and extreme weather grows more frequent, coffee becomes increasingly susceptible to diseases, pests, and drought, while productivity and quality both fall. But there are major gaps in our knowledge of how to best help coffee producers adapt to climate change. We are conducting fundamental research to understand the impacts of climate change on coffee in order to develop successful adaptation strategies.

Supporting Farmer Profitability

Supporting Farmer Profitability

In order to produce more and better coffee, coffee farmers must earn sustainable profits. We believe that farm profitability must be addressed head-on as the top priority in order for farmers—the stewards of coffee productivity and quality—to continue farming, and for the entire industry to thrive.

Coffee Diseases & Pests

Coffee Diseases & Pests

Diseases and pests like coffee leaf rust and coffee berry borer cause billions of dollars of damage each year. The Central American coffee leaf rust epidemic that began in 2012 has resulted in the loss of over 1.7 million jobs. Outbreaks are becoming more frequent with rising temperatures. We are researching ways to help ensure the coffee plant—and coffee farmers—are more resilient in the face of these threats.

Where We Work

We operate in Countries across the globe
Click to view projects


Carbon Accounting for Coffee-Based Farming Systems

A white paper with guidelines for rethinking coffee carbon accounting

Carbon accounting

Annual Report 2020

Ensuring the future of coffee

2020 Annual Report cover square.png

The Shade Catalog

Empowering agroforestry with a catalog of tree species for Indonesian coffee landscapes

Shade catalog cover

STRATEGY 2021-2025

Enhancing Country Competitiveness to Bolster Origin Diversity

Strategy cover

Global Consultation 2020

Coffee agricultural R&D awareness and priorities

WCR Global Consultation 2020 cover image

Annual Report 2019

Creating the future of coffee

WCR 2019 Annual Report cover

Good Practice Guides / Guías de Buenas Practicas

For seed producers and nurseries / Para productores de semillas y viveros

Good practice guides covers

Annual Report 2018

Creating the future of coffee

Annual Report 2018 cover

Coffea arabica genome

The first fully open-access genome sequence for Arabica coffee

Coffea arabica genome

Annual Report 2017

Creating the future of coffee

Annual Report 2017 cover

Cafetales sanos, productivos y ambientalmente amigables

Guía para trabajo con familias productoras

Guía para trabajo con  familias productoras - cover

Arabica Coffee Varieties

An interactive website exploring 53 arabica varieties

Arabica Coffee Varieties

WCR: The first five years 2012-2017

A strong foundation for global coffee R&D

The first five years report_cover

Global Coffee Conservation Strategy

Creating a global system to save coffee

Coffee Conservation Strategy cover

Annual Report 2016

In 2016, our fifth year, World Coffee Research delivered results that address coffee's most pressing problems

Annual report 2016

Annual Report 2015

In 2015, World Coffee Research completed projects that will be transformative for the future of coffee

Annual Report 2015 Cover

Prevención y Control de la Roya del Café / Prevention and Control of Coffee Leaf Rust

Manual de buenas prácticas para técnicos y facilitadores / A manual of best practices for agronomists

Rust manual cover

Multiclass Classification of Agro-Ecological Zones for Arabica Coffee

Peer-reviewed paper in the journal PLOS ONE

Brazil coffee climate 2015 card

World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon

A tool for understanding and measuring coffee's flavors and aromas

Lexicon cover

African Coffee Renaissance Summit Proceedings

Reinvigorating Africa's coffee sector, October 2015

African Coffee Renaissance summit proceedngs cover