Coffea Stenophylla

What is the rare Coffea Stenophylla?

Coffea Stenophylla
C. stenophylla G. Don_Ivory coast (╕ E. Couturon, IRD)

Coffee Stenophylla is a coffee that you are never likely going to be drinking. However, if you are a coffee drinker, then this is an incredibly important coffee plant. In fact, if scientists get their way, then Coffee Stenophylla is going to help ensure the survival of commonly consumed coffee beans e.g. arabica coffee. Although, we will come to that.

Coffea Stenophylla was originally found in the the West African country of Sierra Leone and has spread it the surrounding nations. It is characterized by its narrow leaf shape and tear drop looking beans. It is more resistant to climate change and disease then either the more common arabica or robusta coffee.

For now, we want to start talking about what Coffee Stenophylla is and where it is found.

Where do you find Coffea Stenophylla?

Coffee Stenophylla is a coffee bean found in West Africa. You may sometimes find it referred to as Highland Coffee.

In the past, Coffee Stenophylla was mainly found in Sierra Leone. However, it has pretty much disappeared from the wild there. Now it is cultivated on small farms throughout the country and in various other countries throughout West Africa. When we mean small farms, we mean genuinely small farms.

The problem with Coffee Stenophylla is the fact that it isn’t really a good coffee bean for commercial production. It grows incredibly slowly. When it does eventually grow fruit, the harvest is incredibly small. The vast majority of people that are cultivating this plant are either doing so for scientific reasons or local sale. Very little of the coffee bean leaves West Africa, hence why you are not going to be able to drink it in your local coffee shop anytime soon..

A Brief History of Coffea Stenophylla

In the grand scheme of things, Coffee Stenophylla is a fairly newly discovered coffee bean.

People have been consuming coffee for centuries now. In fact, it was a very, very important part of world trade a few centuries ago.

It was Adam Afzelius, a botanist from Sweden, that discovered the plant in the mid-1700s. It is unknown if it was being consumed at this time. If it was, it would have almost certainly been on a very local scale.

People then sort of forgot about the coffee for a while. Everybody was pretty happy consuming the coffees that they already had. It wasn’t until the tail end of the 19th Century that people started to pay attention to Coffee Stenophylla again.

A few seeds from the plant were shipped over to England. It took a whopping 4-years for them to grow. This is because Coffee Stenophylla requires some pretty specific growing conditions. If they do not get regular rainfall, for instance, they stop growing for long periods of time. Since they were sealed away in Botanical Gardens, they were not getting the rainfall, and thus they had a lot of time pretty dormant. Nowadays, we know that the plant should take about a year to provide the first fruit.

It wasn’t too long before the coffee beans started to be shipped over to France. The country loved them, and many of the rich there were more than happy to pay extravagant prices for some of the rarest coffee around. However, this wasn’t sustainable. Within a few short years, Coffee Stenophylla stopped being consumed in Europe and it has never really come back.

It probably doesn’t help that the main place where the coffee bean was produced, in Sierra Leone, was wrapped in civil war for a long while. Coffee production plummeted, and nobody really wanted to grow Coffee Stenophylla when agriculture started to get back on track.

The Taste of Coffea Stenophylla

The problem with talking about the taste of Coffea Stenophylla is the fact that not many people have actually tasted it. As we said, it is an incredibly rare plant, and it is very, very rarely consumed. Basically, you aren’t going to be able to find it in your local coffee shop. It rarely leaves West Africa.

Those that have tasted this coffee claim that it is nowhere near as bitter as the widely cultivated coffee beans. It also has a much, much smoother taste. In fact, some people have even likened it to ‘tea’.

The Importance of Coffea Stenophylla in The Future of Coffee

Coffea Stenophylla

As we said, Coffea Stenophylla is never going to be a coffee that you will drink. However, it will be a vital part of coffee going forward.

The brilliant thing about Coffea Stenophylla is that it is an incredibly hardy plant. It can be grown in conditions that more popular coffee beans cannot be grown in. For example, most coffee beans need to be grown at a fairly high elevation. Coffee Stenophylla can be grown at low elevations. Therefore, if this plant was combined with more popular coffee beans, we may be able to grow those more popular beans in locations that we never thought possible. This could ramp up coffee production drastically.

Some scientists are also looking into how this coffee plant can be used to increase the diversity of coffee plants globally. This can help plants deal with trickier situations going forward. For example, climate change is going to be a massive issue over the coming years, and some scientists believe that Coffea Stenophylla is the key to ensuring that the current coffee beans are able to cope with the changing climate e.g. higher temperatures and lower temperatures.

The main reason why people are carrying out research into this coffee plant is ‘rust’, though. We don’t know if you know this, but each year, a good chunk of coffee production is wiped out by a disease known as ‘rust’. This is an incredibly aggressive disease that can render entire coffee plantations useless. It can be tough to use that land again.

Some scientists have noticed that Coffea Stenophylla is resistant to rust. If we can somehow combine this plant and other coffee plants, then we may be able to create disease-resistant plants. This can help protect farmers from having their livelihood wiped out. It may even help to keep the cost of coffee beans down as less coffee production is being taken away each year.

Now, a lot of this research is still in its early stages. However, from the research that we have seen, a lot of this research does seem incredibly promising.

Final Thoughts

Coffea Stenophylla may be an incredibly rare plant, however, if you are a coffee drinker then you need to know about it. It is this rare plant that could help ensure that your favorite coffee beans remain affordable and available for a long time to come. To learn more about this new discovery or coffee in general check out the latest articles on feedspot