In 2009, Cuba had the worst harvest on record, yielding just 5,500 tons of green coffee. Raul Castro had to personally order over $50 million dollars worth of imported coffee just to meet the demands of all of those thirsty Cubans. “That’s not really a luxury I can afford right now so I’d rather we just figure our shit out here in Cuba,” Mr. Castro told reporters (we’re paraphrasing). So what’s an embattled Communist leader to do? Biotechnology to the rescue!
You know, biotech has saved the world’s supply of coffee in the past. Think of all of those delicious varieties you enjoy at home – many of them were at one point in time designed to be high-yielding, disease resistant, and fortified with deliciousness. Well, those Cuban scientists are crossing traditional local varieties with coffee plants from Africa that Deputy Agriculture Minister Ramon Frometa hopes will pump up production to over 20,000 tons in 2015, making Cuban Coffee a viable export product. Has anyone told Todd Carmichael yet? Coffee Hunter season two!
You can read about it over here at Xinhuanet, but we dissected all the juicy bits already, so you don’t really need to. We’re looking forward to cupping mutant Cuban Heirloom African Hybrid varieties in 2015!