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Coffee varieties of mesoamerica and the caribbean

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International Multilocation Variety Trial

Facilitating the global exchange of the world’s best coffee varieties
Embryos from vitroplants

The problem

Coffee farmers typically have very few choices about which varieties are available for them to plant. Their choices are limited by forces beyond their control—historical accident and colonial history on the one hand, and whether their country has a tradition of coffee research and development on the other. These constraints mean that coffee producers often plant seeds that are susceptible to disease or don’t perform optimally in their area, leaving them doubly vulnerable. Until now no comprehensive effort had ever been made to locate the best-quality coffee varieties from around the globe and make them available to producers in different countries.

IMLVT sources

Eleven contributors supplied varieties for the trial. Each "basket" of 35 varieties is being shipped to participating countries to be grown in research plots.

The solution

35 varieties from around the world. 60+ test plots in 23 countries. 50,000 plantlets.

World Coffee Research has gathered 35 top-performing coffee varieties from 11 suppliers around the world and replicated them in sterile in-vitro cultures at the Agristarts phytosanitary lab in Florida. The varieties—most of which have never been tested on a broad basis—are being distributed to 23 coffee growing countries for planting on test plots.

On each plot, an exhaustive list of variables about the plot and the performance of each plant will be measured—including plant vigor, productivity, coffee leaf rust and other disease and pest incidence, bean characteristics, bean chemistry, and final cup quality. Each country can monitor how the different varieties perform under local conditions. The best-performing varieties can then be selected, multiplied and distributed to producers to increase supplies of quality coffee for those countries.


The IMLVT represents a coffee industry first. Never before has a global variety exchange taken place on this scale in the coffee industry. Never before have most countries had in their possession so many different varieties. In addition, more information is being made available to guide farmers about the best variety for their specifc needs, with the goal of improving profitability. This will result in widespread production and quality increases in as little as 5 years, and contributing to more sustainable farmer livelihoods and a stronger coffee sector.

In addition, the trial will serve as a platform to monitor disease movement and levels, interaction between environmental factors and quality, and climate trends.

Here's how it works

IMLVT one page

Project Updates

  • IMLVT's first harvests

    Date: 2.11.19

    When World Coffee Research (WCR) formed in 2012, one of the first initiatives the organization launched was the International Multilocation Variety Trial (IMLVT). Each of 24 participating country planted the same 31 varieties. Most of the trial sites were established in 2016, and earlier this month, the first coffee cherries began to arrive. Here, photos of the first harvest at one IMLVT site in Guatemala.

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  • Card image

    When World Coffee Research formed in 2012, one of the first initiatives the organization launched was the International Multilocation Variety Trial (IMLVT), the world’s largest coffee variety performance trial and seed exchange. The IMLVT brought 31 top varieties of Arabica coffee to 23 countries around the world for rigorous testing and evaluation to see how different varieties perform in different environments. Earlier this year—about two years after the trial officially launched in 2016—14 of the 23 participating countries collected the trial's first data.

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  • IMLVT Guatemala

    Four new countries have committed to participate in the International Multilocation Variety Trial (IMLVT), the largest, collaborative, global coffee research platform and variety exchange in history. Australia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and the United States (Hawaii) will all join the trial in 2017, bringing the total number of participating countries to 23.

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  • Location: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Congo (the Democratic Republic of the), Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Rwanda, United States of America, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Leaders: Christophe Montagnon, Solene Pruvot
  • Partners: PROMECAFE (Central America, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Peru), INECOL (Mexico), ICCRI (Indonesia), CRI (Kenya), CENICAFE (Colombia), EMBRAPA (Brazil), INERA (DR Congo), CCRI (India), CIC (Papua New Guinea), Texas A&M University (United States) + others
  • Timeline: 2013-present