A barman prepares Lavazza "slow coffee" blend during the new opening of Lavazza's flagship coffee store in Milan, Italy, September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
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The coffee bean is a bit like the banana. As with the Cavendish, the banana variety found on most of the world's supermarket shelves, the genetic diversity of the arabica coffee bean, the highest quality bean, is very low. Commercially grown arabica coffee in most producing countries originates from a few seeds taken centuries ago from Ethiopia to Yemen.However, while almost every other food crop has been significantly improved through plant breeding over the past century, coffee has had very little research behind it.With global coffee demand expected to double by 2050 and land available for production forecast to decrease, higher yielding varieties that can withstand disease and drought are crucial for the industry, say coffee experts.
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