Multi-Location Variety Trials (MLVT)
Featuring an Interview with Hanna Neuschwander
Not every terroir suits every plant strain. Prior to 2012, there had never been any comprehensive attempt at selecting the best-quality coffee seed and making it available around the world. The World Coffee Research (WCR) organization has attempted to correct this with their Multi-Location Variety Trials (MLVT) that are now operating in 24 countries. WCR collected 31 top-performing varieties with highly rated sensory profiles and resistance to diseases and pests. These varieties were planted in research plots across the globe, and assessments have been carried out to determine the vigour of each genotype. Top performers have been selected as being suitable to particular terroirs. Most of these varieties have never been tested before, so this is a landmark achievement. WCR released the first progress reports of these trials in 2018.
Some coffee-producing countries have a tradition of research and development — most notably, Brazil and Colombia. But many other coffee-producing countries have planting practices that can lead to farmers propagating traditional strains that have no natural resistance to pathogens.
It is still early days for most of the WCR trials, and they are just beginning to bring in their first mature harvests. We spoke to Hanna Neuschwander, author and communications director of WCR, to get an update on how the trees are performing.