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Canephora

Artikel vom 25. April 2019

Canephora

The second largest coffee in the world is a botanical victim of marketing. End with „100 percent Arabica“ and back to real quality statements and real taste sensations. How could around 70 percent of the world’s coffee be a quality coffee? A plea for Canephora.

Text: Dr. Steffen Schwarz

Everyone knows Arabica – even pure tea drinkers. So hard and relentless have the mills of the 100 percent Arabica League pushed their propagandistic coffee-type campaigns forward. But not, as one might think – and it is commonly talked about – to improve the coffee qualities, to give coffee drinkers more enjoyment, and to make coffee as a drink more popular. No! The aim was to present a simple formula for perceived quality, which is so easy to transport with „100 percent Arabica“. In addition a special offer and a few colourful seals of certificates and every bad coffee can be sold quickly and in large volumes and the manufacturer shows his sustainable corporate philosophy.

The word „sneaky“ would be more appropriate than sustainable, because all these glare, often accompanied by terms such as „freshness“ and „yield“, should not obscure the real situation on the coffee market: Impoverished coffee farmers and pickers, increasingly emaciated monoculture landscapes and a fall in prices led to an average of 26h 22min. for 500g coffee beans in Germany in 1950, whereas in 2010 it was only 19min.

This corresponds to a price ratio of only 0.7 percent, which is spent on 500g of coffee today.

Time to finally abjure the special prize and to return to real quality. So put an end to „100 percent Arabica“ and back to real quality statements and real taste sensations. How could around 70 percent of the world’s coffee be a quality coffee? Time to unmask the „100 percent Arabica“ trick – because this is by no means a durable quality statement, but a mere marketing feint with a clear enemy image: the „Robusta“.

Simplified external stereotypes traditionally serve to divert one’s own problems – in the case of coffee – the quality problems by optimizing profits on the stock exchanges. „Robusta“ is neither a quality statement nor a coffee. It is – after the word – the most famous variety of Canephora, which makes up only a fraction of the cultivated Canephora worldwide. Correctly it concerns „Coffea Canephora var. Robusta“.

Since the majority of those employed in the coffee industry have never attended a scientifically based coffee training course before, they speak in favour of a correct technical term for a type of coffee called „Robusta“ and are certain that it is also „bad coffee“. Both are wrong! In the Valley of the „ignorants and advertising servile“, people therefore say „Robusta“ and are thus clearly committed to the fraction of those who simply don’t understand anything about coffee. Hard but true. So it’s time to finally get to grips correctly with coffee and objectively with Coffea Canephora and its various varieties. By the way, this is not so easy, since the stock exchanges and even the big associations like the ICO (International Coffee Organisation) or the DKV (Deutscher Kaffeeverband) speak of „Robusta“.

So also the cultivating countries assume that one better says Robusta than to name the respective correct varieties of the cultivated Canephora. There are two different wild form lines, the Guinean and the Congolese line. The former extends to the areas of the Ivory Coast and Guinea, the Congolese line to the distribution areas of Congo, Central Africa and Cameroon. The two were separated by the Dahomey Gap, which is located in the Chad Lake drainage area in the area of today’s state border between Nigeria and Cameroon. The wild forms of these coffees are not offered to the market as such – in general, pure Canephoras are more difficult to obtain because Canephora has 22 chromosomes and is allogamous (cross-pollinated). Thus different Canephoras cross each other easily and fast.

GROWTH IN LOWER LOCATIONS

Canephora grows at lower altitudes, at higher temperatures and more precipitation than Arabica, but matures more slowly. At higher altitudes it would not mature at all. Breeding forms were developed from different varieties of these primordial lines of the Canephoras. Depending on the country and region, individual varieties predominate, each well adapted to the terroir and microclimate. These were mostly selected and planted according to yield and resistance. Similar to the Arabica varieties, Canephora varieties also have a drought-adjusted and a moisture-adjusted shape. The lines coming from drier African regions have a rather elongated and tapered shape at one pole (wild rice shaped), whereas the lines adapted to heavy rainfall areas develop a more rounded shape with a one-sided pole tip. They thus resemble a drop of water. One of the most frequently cultivated varieties of Canephoras is the „Conillon“. It originates from Madagascar and is called „Quillou“ there. Probably the „Quillou“ was transformed into the „Conillon“ on the way from Madagascar to Brazil by a spelling or pronounciation mistake.

Appearance (phenotype) and genetics (genotype) are identical – so they are the same plant.

Conillon – the most frequently cultivated Canephora in Brazil – which accounts for around 25 percent of the country’s total coffee production there, does not enjoy a good reputation like most Canephoras. Mostly sloppily cultivated and harvested and processed in the same way, the typical Brazilian Conillon reminds of asphalt, ash, musty and musty aromas with chemical notes. Anything but a pleasure. However, the problem behind this is not the type or variety of coffee, but the awareness and expectation of the market that it is a poorer or lower quality coffee than Arabica. However, as soon as the coffee is well cared for throughout the year and carefully harvested and processed, the tide turns.

 

A MARKET FOR CONILLON?

I still remember very well my first tastings of Conillon in Brazil. It was a nightmare, and the professional green coffee traders credibly assured me that it was the „typical Conillon taste“. It seemed inconceivable to me that there could be a market for this or a reason to grow, sell and above all consume such coffee. But the professionals’ comments were clear – everything was ultimately determined by the price – and coffee could only have a certain maximum price in order to be marketable. The taste could be compensated by mixing it with Arabica, especially unripe green cherries, because their astringent acidity would distract from the musty bitterness. Moreover, in the consumer countries, a darker roasting could completely destroy many of the bad aromas thermally. The resulting bitterness could then be compensated with sugar, milk or cream. So a simple formula with which all somehow put volume above taste in the sign of merit.

There had to be another way-to make a good-tasting Canephora. And I discovered it in India – the country with the highest quality Canephoras in the world. The prevalent Canephora varieties are SLN 274, Old Paradenia and CxR. Depending on the area and terroir, completely different flavor profiles are created. The Canephoras all grow under shade trees, are carefully cut back every year (often with the so-called „skirt-pruning“ to avoid damage by the monsoon) and are picked by hand in several picking rounds. Then the cherries are further read by hand, so that only the fully ripe coffee cherries get into the pulper (to be washed) or directly in the cherry to dry (as a dry-processed coffee) are brought. This happens on the high-quality farms with such care that many farmers from other countries who only cultivate Arabica varieties have to admit that they cultivate and process the Canephora with more care than the Arabica. So it is much more in the way of cultivation and processing, as the coffee itself, if there are off-flavours in the coffee.

There had to be another way – to make a good tasting Canephora. And I discovered it in India – the country with the highest quality Canephoras in the world. The predominant Canephora varieties there are SLN 274, Old Paradenia and CxR. Depending on the area and terroir, completely different flavour profiles are created. The Canephoras all grow under shade trees, are carefully pruned every year (often with the so-called „skirt-Pruning“ to avoid damage by the monsoon) and are picked individually by hand in several picking rounds. Then the cherries are picked by hand so that only the fully ripe coffee cherries get into the pulper (to be washed) or are directly dried within the cherry (as dry prepared coffee). This is done on the high quality farms with such care that many farmers from other countries who exclusively grow Arabica varieties have to enviously admit that Canephora is grown and processed there with more care than Arabica on their farms. It is therefore much more in the way the coffee is cultivated and processed than in the coffee itself whether there are false aromas in the coffee.

UNKNOWN TREASURES

In Mexico we also discovered some old Canephoras on the farms, which were mostly kept in variety gardens and used for breeding seeds for grafting plants. There you can find among others the variety Maclaudii. It will be exciting to taste this coffee as soon as we receive some of these high quality coffees for tasting. In fact, it is usually the case that farmers worldwide cannot name the varieties of Canephoras, as there are even fewer questions about the cultivated varieties here than with Arabica. Nevertheless, due to different genetics, completely different and outstanding flavour profiles can be observed, provided that the plants are well cared for throughout the year and the coffees are carefully picked and processed. High quality Brazilian Conillon has delicate tones of tobacco, caramel and notes of port wine and cognac. The „naturals“, i. e. dry-processed conillons, offer a slightly stronger body and present themselves with notes of malt and dried bananas. The fully washed wet conillons have cereal, nutty notes with notes of acacia blossoms, dried dates and figs.

 

SPECIALTIES CANEPHORAS FROM INDIA

The specialty Canephoras from India also offer very differentiated, low-acid flavor profiles, which are both pure in variety and in mixtures bribe. The CxR, which is not a Canephora variety but a Canephoroid (hybrid of Coffea Congensis with Coffea Canephora var. SLN 274), offers, according to its unique genetics, a creamy, creamy, body shaped with caramel and hazelnut notes. Notes of whiskey, dried fruit and vanilla complete the favoritism. The softest and most floral variety of Canephora coffees is the SLN 274. This variety is rarely cultivated, as it has a lower yield from the perspective of industrial roasting plants to soft flavor profiles for Canephoras. This is dominated by floral notes and honeys, with fresh hops and nutmeg. The Old Paradenia is dominated by dry fruits, jasmine, nut tones, cocoa and cognac. These are played by notes of black tea and tobacco. Light roasts show popcorn and chestnut blossoms. Of course, as with all coffees, different roasting profiles lead to distinctly different flavor profiles, and it is possible to elicit strong aromas of cocoa, dark chocolate and caramel in darker roasts. These are particularly suitable for the colder seasons and as low-acid espressos and flask coffees. It’s best to personally orient oneself at a Cuptasting of Canephora parcel coffee (www.amarella.com) over the impressive range of flavor profiles of these varieties.

The specialty canephoras from India also offer very differentiated, low-acid flavour profiles, which captivate both pure varieties and blends. The CxR, which is not a Canephora variety but a Canephoroid (a cross between Coffea Congensis and Coffea Canephora var. SLN 274), offers a creamy body, characterized by liquid cream and surrounded by caramel and hazelnut tones, according to its unique genetics. Notes of whisky, dried fruit and vanilla round off the flavour profile. The softest and most floral variety of Canephora coffee is SLN 274. This variety is rarely cultivated because it has too gentle a flavour profile for Canephoras from the point of view of industrial roasters as well as lower yield. Floral and honey notes dominate, with fresh hops and nutmeg. In Old Paradenia, dried fruit, jasmine, nut tones, cocoa and cognac predominate. These are surrounded by notes of black tea and tobacco. Popcorn and chestnut blossoms appear in light roasts. Of course, as with all coffees, different roasting profiles lead to significantly different flavour profiles and in darker roasts it is easy to elicit strong aromas of cocoa, dark chocolate and caramel. These are particularly suitable for the colder seasons and as low-acid espressos and piston coffees. The best way to get a personal impression of the impressive range of flavour profiles of these varieties is to attend a cupasting of Canephora terrace coffees (www. amarella. com).

Source: crema Magazine | 02/2016 | www. cremagazin.de | Editor-in-Chief: Heiko Heinemann | Text: Dr. Steffen Schwarz