Isn’t it fascinating to be able to taste new varieties whose profiles attract new customers and become the trend among coffee professionals? This is what we want in the specialty coffee world, right? Seasonal coffees, super tasty profiles and interesting varieties to roast and sell.
For a producer it is a bit similar, but before getting a new variety, it implies a list of decisions to make in order to share with you your future coffee release. ...but getting a new variety implies research in different areas in order to make those decisions/to share new amazing coffees with you ...
From long term planning to climate conditions, adaptability, investment, market trends, and more. We are about to share with you how producers make important decisions to introduce new coffee varieties.
For a producer who wants to listen to their clients to their clients, market trends are highly important. This is what Rolando Villatoro, part of La Familia Microlot Series from Finca Las Rosas in Huehuetenango, explains when it comes to making decisions to grow new varieties.
Nowadays the producer needs to be involved in what the market wants, but also keeping in mind conditions of the coffee farm. Rolando is passionate about varieties and grows more than 10! From Geisha to Pacamara, Mokka, Laurina, Java and the list goes on!
He believes in quality rather than quantity. This strategy has worked for him in order to face labor shortage, a challenge that many producing countries are facing now. Therefore, focusing on the market’s needs and being up to date on what his clients want has been a key to his long term planning in order to introduce new varieties.
Using tools to get information and build commercial relationships helps producers to start planning ahead. Rolando uses platforms such as Coffee Search System created by Anacafe which provides traceability and new commercial opportunities to start selling directly to green coffee buyers.
Environmental Conditions and Agronomic Support
Identifying the environmental factors that influence the adaptability of a new variety is the first step. Understanding adaptability based on altitude is important, growing coffee from 1,400 m.a.s.l to 2,000 m.a.s.l is a good range, however, high relative humidity or lower altitudes may imply more resistant varieties. Some varieties adapt easier to certain climates, but others need more attention and probably more investment to keep them strong.
Additionally, for Rolando it has been substantial to find support from an agronomist with whom he can create the right and sustainable conditions for upcoming varieties. Such as planting distance, pruning, fertilization and soils’ analysis.
He explains that renovation strategy is crucial in order to compensate for decreasing production, new investment and expenses. He normally focuses on renovating 5% to 10% of the farm whenever he wants to introduce a new variety.
Managing traceability from the very beginning provides the key information to the renovation strategy. The assessment of soil quality for each lot with the support of an agronomist will help to create the right growing conditions for new trees and understand what the crop needs. It takes on average three years to get the first harvest following very closely what is happening with those trees which is crucial for the crop’s success.
Additionally, traceability allows producers to find out what are the direct production costs and future investments in order to build a budget.
Rolando’s traceability plan is crucial to keep his clients informed and also helps him to get feedback from what his plants need to keep improving in terms of flavour profile.
Growing a new variety is definitely a long term planning, investment and the understanding of environmental conditions at the farm for the crop’s success. Here producers take a lot of risks in order to deliver the best quality. Additionally, their decisions must be sustainable, both environmentally and financially to ensure their future income, return on the investment and get good coffee for the generations to come.