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The Accident That Led To The Discovery Of Climate-Change-Proof Coffee


The round plastic container in William Solano’s hands holds the coffee blend of the future. It’s not a novel macchiato or a whole-bean medium roast from a boutique shop: it’s a new hybrid variety of coffee that might fare better in our changing climate.

“This one is called Centroamericano,” says Solano, a coffee breeder at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), in Costa Rica, as he shows me a petri dish with dozens of plant embryos that look like tiny popcorn. Experts like him create hybrids by combining two genetically distant and complementary coffee strains, hoping to get the best characteristics from each parent.

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