The Rise of Excelsa: A Forgotten Bean Poised to Save Coffee’s Future

The world’s love affair with coffee may face a bitter twist as climate change wreaks havoc on our favorite beans. But just as despair threatens to brew, a forgotten hero emerges from the shadows: Excelsa, a bold and resilient coffee species long sidelined by its more popular cousins, Arabica and Robusta.

Excelsa boasts a lineage as rich as its flavor. Back in the 1800s, it held its own against Arabica, even expanding into new corners of the coffee belt. This wasn’t mere luck; Excelsa thrives in the warmer lowlands where Arabica struggles, shrugs off pests with ease, and delivers bountiful harvests. But one hurdle hindered its rise: taste. Excelsa, when mishandled, could be rough and unrefined.

Enter excelsa, a close relative with a smoother side. Recent research highlights its potential to become the climate warrior the coffee world needs. Excelsa shares its ancestor’s resilience, but boasts sweeter, fruitier notes that some say rival even Arabica. And unlike its bulky parent, excelsa’s cherries are just the right size for efficient picking and processing.

Why does this matter? As climate change squeezes Arabica’s comfortable growing areas, excelsa offers a promising solution. Instead of radically shifting farms or clinging to struggling crops, growers could turn to excelsa, adapting to shifting landscapes without sacrificing quality.

This isn’t just wishful thinking. Ugandan farmers are already embracing excelsa, finding its resilience and unique flavor a welcome change from Robusta. But widespread adoption remains a steep climb. The coffee industry thrives on familiarity, and excelsa, the once-forgotten bean, still needs to prove its worth in the marketplace.

However, with climate’s looming threat, disruptions to the coffee supply chain may pave the way for excelsa’s grand return. Just as past disruptions opened doors for Robusta and then Arabica, excelsa may step onto the world stage, not as a replacement, but as a vital addition to the coffee family, ensuring our caffeine fix for generations to come.

So, raise a mug not just to your morning brew, but to the unassuming hero waiting in the wings, ready to rewrite the future of coffee, one sip at a time. Excelsa’s rise isn’t just a story of taste, it’s a story of resilience, adaptation, and the indomitable spirit of the bean.

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