Coffee Varieties: Bourbon

Coffee varieties are the subspecies of coffee that occur by natural selection and by selective breeding. Disease resistance, yield and flavor vary from variety to variety. Variety or breed selection is critical to the planter as he or she must pick the optimal variety for altitude, sun or shade, soil conditions and climate. Regarding coffee varieties here are a couple of terms:

Variety: A variety is a smaller group than a subspecies and a larger group than a form. A variety has most of the characteristics of the species but differs in specific ways.

Cultivar: This is a cultivated variety and is developed using agricultural breeding techniques. The coffee in your cup is most likely a cultivar. Two common cultivars are Bourbon and Typica.


In the very early 18th century French planters grew coffee on what is today Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Under French rule the island was called Bourbon. The coffee came from Dutch traders. Mutations that occurred on that island in that climate became a favorite were exported to Latin America. Bourbon plants have as much as thirty percent more coffee beans than the Typica variety.

Offshoots of Bourbon

Subsequent breeding and natural selection resulted in several sub-varieties from Bourbon. Caturra, Kenyan K7, Orange Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon and Pacas are all offshoots of the original Bourbon coffee variety. As with all varieties and sub varieties, the offshoots keep some of the characteristics of the original and add something new.

Where Does Bourbon Grow?

El Salvador is often referred to in coffee circles as the Bourbon country. And, of course the Caturra offshoot is common in Colombia as we mention in a previous article. El Salvador gets half of its export earnings from coffee. Planters began producing coffee in El Salvador in the early 19th century. Today El Salvador produces about 90% of its coffee as shade grown. Organic coffee from El Salvador is of high quality.

Organic coffee differs from regular coffee in several aspects. The soil in which organic coffee is grown must have been verified as free from prohibited substances for at least three years. In addition there must be distinct boundaries between land on which organic coffee is grown and land where pesticides, herbicides, and prohibited chemical fertilizers are used. This guarantees that drift of substances sprayed or otherwise applied on adjacent land will not contaminate the organic plot of land. Organic coffee certification includes the adherence to a specific and verifiable plan for all practices and procedures from planting to crop maintenance, to harvest, de-husking, bagging, transport, roasting, packaging, and final transport. Along the way procedures must be in place at every step to insure that there is no contamination of the healthy organic coffee produced in pristine soil with regular coffee produced on soil exposed to herbicides, pesticides, and organic fertilizers.

If you are interested in specific coffee varieties please contact us at and we will be glad to help or send you to someone who can.

Coffee Varieties: Caturra

Coffee varieties are the subspecies of coffee that occur by natural selection and by selective breeding. Disease resistance, yield and flavor vary from variety to variety. Variety or breed selection is critical to the planter as he or she must pick the optimal variety for altitude, sun or shade, soil conditions and climate. Regarding coffee varieties here are a couple of terms:

Variety: A variety is a smaller group than a subspecies and a larger group than a form. A variety has most of the characteristics of the species but differs in specific ways.

Cultivar: This is a cultivated variety and is developed using agricultural breeding techniques. The coffee in your cup is most likely a cultivar. Two common cultivars are Bourbon and Typica.


The coffee that we want to look at is the caturra variety. Caturra evolved from the Bourbon cultivar near the town of Caturra, Brazil in the early 20th century. Caturra has a higher yield than the bourbon variety. It matures quickly providing coffee beans two years after planting. The caturra plant is short and more disease resistant than older Arabica-based varieties.

Where is Caturra Grown?

In the Colombian coffee growing axis, the Eje Cafetero, growers plant caturra at around three to four thousand feet on much gentler slopes than where more traditional Arabica varieties are grown. The plant does well in nearly full sun although it is commonly planted interspersed with plantain. In the photo caturra is planted in the foreground at around 3,500 feet and larger traditional Arabica varieties are planted on the higher slopes in the background.

What Does Caturra Look Like?

Here is a photo of a caturra coffee farm. The plants are short and planted in full sun albeit in the mountains where there are lots of clouds.

Regular or Organic?

Caturra refers to the plant variety and not to whether it produces healthy organic coffee or regular. Organic coffee certification requires that the coffee farmer follow at set of strict rules but he or she can produce the caturra variety or any other as an organic.

The soil in which organic coffee is grown must have been verified as free from prohibited substances for at least three years. In addition there must be distinct boundaries between land on which organic coffee is grown and land where pesticides, herbicides, and prohibited chemical fertilizers are used. This guarantees that drift of substances sprayed or otherwise applied on adjacent land will not contaminate the organic plot of land. Organic coffee certification includes the adherence to a specific and verifiable plan for all practices and procedures from planting to crop maintenance, to harvest, de-husking, bagging, transport, roasting, packaging, and final transport. Along the way procedures must be in place at every step to insure that there is no contamination of the healthy organic coffee produced in pristine soil with regular coffee produced on soil exposed to herbicides, pesticides, and organic fertilizers.

So, if you are interested in coffee varieties check out caturra and watch here for information on more varieties of Arabica coffee.

Colon Cancer Treatment with Coffee

Coffee has many health benefits in that diseases like type II diabetes, Alzheimer´s disease, Parkinson´s disease and various cancers can be reduced in frequency by drinking coffee every day. Four years ago we wrote that more organic coffee can lead to less colon cancer.

It turns out that one of the antioxidants obtained during the process of roasting organic coffee may well reduce the risk of getting colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the USA.

For many years medical researchers have known that a set of enzymes in the human body, phase II enzymes have a protective effect. They help us avoid getting colon cancer. The higher the level of phase two enzymes you have the lower your risk is of getting colon cancer. Here is where a good cup of organic coffee comes in. The methylpyridium produced as a natural byproduct of roasting organic coffee raises phase II enzyme levels. In fact more coffee means more methylpyridium which means higher levels of phase II enzymes.

Now it turns out that not only does coffee help prevent colon cancer but colon cancer treatment with coffee is a reality. Here is how it works.

Colon Cancer Treatment with Coffee

The New York Times reports on how colon cancer survival may be prolonged by drinking coffee.

Colon cancer patients who were heavy coffee drinkers had a far lower risk of dying or having their cancer return than those who did not drink coffee, with significant benefits starting at two to three cups a day, a new study found. Patients who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee or more a day had half the rate of recurrence or death than non-coffee drinkers.

There is more research to be done to prove cause and effect but the results are clear. Inadvertent cancer treatment with coffee is associated with fewer recurrences and deaths.

How Much Coffee Does the Job?

The Australian goes into more detail reporting on the success of colon cancer treatment with coffee, especially the lower risk of relapse.

More than 950 stage-three sufferers – whose cancer had spread to nearby lymph nodes, but no further in the body – ­reported their food, drink and health supplement intake during and six months after chemotherapy.

Dr Fuchs said stage three patients had about a 35 per cent chance of recurrence.

But the study found that those who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 42 per cent less likely to experience a relapse.

Two or three cups a day produced a “more modest” benefit, the institute said.

This association of amount of coffee consumed and benefits is seen in type II diabetes and other benefits of drinking coffee. Four cups of coffee up to six a day seems to be the magic range with benefits falling off in the two to three cup a day range. The doctors who reported this result say that it is too soon to recommend drinking coffee as colon cancer treatment but the evidence shows clearly that drinking coffee is likely to help you avoid the disease in the first place.

The Death of the K Cup

Are we going to see the death of the k cup? Keurig, the maker of single serve coffee saw its stock drop 30% after reporting diminishing sales. Fortune reports as Keurig sales plunge.

In releasing its third quarter earnings after the market closed on Wednesday, Keurig Green Mountain GMCR -29.95% announced some bad news: it’s planning to cut 5% of its workforce. The company has 6,600 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees, according to its 2014 annual report.

Following the news, shares of the K-cup maker plunged in after-hours trading Wednesday and were off some 3o% in Thursday morning trading.

The company said that the reduction in headcount is part of a “productivity plan” to reduce costs by $300 million over the next three years. Approximately $100 million of that savings is expected in fiscal year 2016.

The cut in costs comes as the company reported dismal sales of its signature products. Sales of its packaged coffee pods, or K-Cups, fell 1%. Sales of brewers and accessories plummeted 26%. The company’s revenue declined 5% to $969 million and net income dropped 27% to $113.6 million.

We wrote recently about k cups in our article, Does Organic Coffee in a K Cup Make Sense? There is a basic contradiction in the equation of selling organic coffee in plastic containers that will fill up landfills and not decompose for thousands of years! However, the more likely case is that single serving coffee is a fad and fads run their course. So, is this the death of the k cup or simply a retrenchment into a smaller market?

Where Do K Cups Make Sense?

This writer loves it when he travels and there is a coffee maker in his hotel room. Here is a case where k cups make sense although we would like to see biodegradable cups. Single adults do not make large or need large quantities of coffee so biodegradable k cups make sense there also. For the family that makes coffee for several people at once give me a pot of boiling water, a cloth filter and freshly ground healthy organic coffee in the right quantity.

Fads Come and Go

CNN Money addresses the k cup coffee fad.

Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR), which sells single cup makers and the K-Cups to go with them, reported disastrously bad results on Wednesday. Sales of both the brewers and pods fell in the second quarter. The company is laying off 5% of its employees.

The stock plunged nearly 30% on the news. It’s now down 60% this year. It’s worth asking if making one cup at a time instead of a full pot is a fad that’s close to peaking.

It seems that Keurig alienated its core customers with its newest machine, the Keurig 2.0. Some consumers balked at the $199.99 price tag. But what really irked caffeine addicts was the fact that the new Keurig could only make coffee with officially licensed K-Cups.

But there is a big cottage industry of cheaper, private label coffee pods that were compatible with older Keurig machines.

Two makers of those cups, TreeHouse Foods and Rogers Family Co., have both sued Keurig Green Mountain and accused the company of anti-competitive practices.

Rogers went as far as creating a “Freedom Clip” that lets Keurig 2.0 customers brew non-licensed pods.

It would seem that the k cup fad is wearing thin and Keurig has hurt itself by trying to corner the market with a machine upgrade that excludes other brands. That, in the end, is probably the reason for the death of the k cup.

Golden Triangle Shade Grown Coffee

Times are changing in the Golden Triangle, the region in Southeast Asia famous for growing poppies for heroin. Farmers are switching to coffee!  Voice of America reports the some farmers drop poppies for coffee beans in this region and why.

For 54-year-old farmer Long San, growing opium makes simple economic sense.

He started planting poppies – which produce the resin that can be manufactured into heroin – eight years ago when the market for his traditional cash-crop collapsed. Like most people in Long Tway village, in the steep hills of Myanmar’s southern Shan State, he used to plant his fields with cheroot leaves, which are used to roll cigars.

“After I switched to opium I could make about $2,500 (3 million kyat) a year,” he said. “With cheroot leaves I was only making $250 (300,000 kyat).”

Despite the windfall, Long San and other farmers in this area interviewed by VOA now say that opium’s inconsistent yields, the soil erosion caused by deforesting the hills to plant poppies, and the threat of government eradication programs mean they are willing to abandon the illicit crop.

Since late last year, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been recommending coffee as the replacement.

We know that when coffee farmers use the sorts of sustainable methods used for organic coffee that soil erosion is prevented. Sustainable income is more likely when the government is not going to come in and destroy your crop in drug enforcement raids. Will Golden Triangle shade grown coffee be good?

Coffee in Indochina

Last year we wrote about coffee in Vietnam. The highlands of Vietnam, Laos and Burma (Myanmar) are natural areas for growing coffee.

Vietnam is the second greatest coffee producer in the world. Only Brazil grows more coffee. But Vietnam grows primarily Robusta coffee as opposed to Arabica coffee grown throughout the Americas. Robusta coffee has more coffee per bean and is a more bitter coffee than Arabica. Thus when you ask for coffee in Vietnam you always get it with a layer of sweetened condensed milk layered on top. The drink is very strong and very sugary. Coffee in Vietnam is served hot or cold.

Coffee was introduced to Vietnam in 1857 when the French were the colonial masters of French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos). The costal highlands that run the length of this 1000 mile long country are ideal for coffee production. Vietnam was reunified in 1975 at the end of the French colonial period and then the Vietnam War. The government promoted coffee production and exports. By the 21st century coffee was only surpassed by rice as a Vietnamese export.

As the government works to subsidize coffee production in the Golden Triangle as well as works to eradicate poppy production the Golden Triangle should be able to produce comparable amounts of shade grown coffee to Laos and Vietnam.

Preserving the Rain Forest

In our article about coffee in Laos we mentioned that cooperatives that are responsible for much of the organic coffee production.

Traditionally coffee in this area has been grown by tried and true organic methods although in the last generation more “modern” production techniques have also been introduced. Nevertheless, businesses such as the Jhai Coffee Farmers Co-operative and retailers such as Canadian owned Joma Bakery work with local growers and continue to produce and sell organic whole bean coffee grown in the highlands of Laos. Although four fifths of the coffee grown in the Laotian highlands is Robusta much of Laotian organic coffee is Arabica. In 2005 Jhai Coffee Farmers Co-operative was certified as a producer of USDA organic coffee which has helped local farmers command a higher price for their beans and helped them provide a higher standard of living for their workers whose income is almost entirely derived from the coffee harvest. The cooperative produces virtually all of its Laotian organic coffee in the shade thus maintaining a sustainable environment for coffee production, habitat and soil maintenance, and avoidance of contaminants that commonly are found in regular coffees.

Our wish is that Golden Triangle shade grown coffee is able to compete economically with other growers in the region and produce high quality organic coffee.

How Coffee Reduces Risk of Diabetes

A newly published scientific study adds to the evidence that drinking coffee reduces the risk of diabetes. Researchers in Athens, Greece have discovered that habitual coffee drinkers have lower levels of inflammation and more antioxidants in their blood. Reuters reports how coffee drinking seems reduce the risk of diabetes via reduction of inflammation and increasing antioxidants.

Coffee drinkers in a long-term study were about half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those who didn’t drink coffee, and researchers think an inflammation-lowering effect of the beverage might be the key.

Drinking less than 1.5 cups of coffee per day was termed “casual” coffee drinking, and more than 1.5 cups per day was “habitual” drinking. There were 816 casual drinkers, 385 habitual drinkers and 239 non-coffee drinkers.

The participants also had blood tests to evaluate levels of protein markers of inflammation. The tests also measured antioxidant levels, which indicate the body’s ability to neutralize cell-damaging “free radicals.”

Habitual coffee drinkers were 54 percent less likely to develop diabetes compared to non-coffee drinkers, even after accounting for smoking, high blood pressure, family history of diabetes and intake of other caffeinated beverages, the researchers reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Levels of serum amyloid, one of the inflammatory markers in the blood, seemed to explain some of the relationship between coffee and diabetes, the authors write. Higher coffee consumption went along with lower amyloid levels.

An interest thought arises here. High levels of coffee consumption are also related to a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, a disease in which amyloid plaques damage nerves in the brain. The Alzheimer’s Association explains how beta-amyloid destroys nerve cells in the brain by causing brain plaques.

Plaques form when protein pieces called beta-amyloid (BAY-tuh AM-uh-loyd) clump together. Beta-amyloid comes from a larger protein found in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells.

Beta-amyloid is chemically “sticky” and gradually builds up into plaques. The most damaging form of beta-amyloid may be groups of a few pieces rather than the plaques themselves. The small clumps may block cell-to-cell signaling at synapses. They may also activate immune system cells that trigger inflammation and devour disabled cells.

How coffee reduces the risk of diabetes seems to be related to how it reduces Alzheimer’s risk as well.

More Evidence

Previous studies have shown that people who drink up to six cups of coffee a day have half the risk of developing type II diabetes. This study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that people who report drinking a cup and a half a day have this benefit. The additional value of this study is that it provides more insight into why this works. Fox News reports on the same story of how lower inflammation seems to go along with a reduced incidence of diabetes.

The study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who drank coffee were about 50 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to people who did not drink coffee. Scientists believe that the reason for a reduction in the risk for type 2 diabetes could be the effect coffee has on the reducing the amount of inflammation in the body.

There have been prior studies that have shown a link between coffee consumption and diabetes. This study is unique in that it may help confirm a cause-and-effect hypothesis regarding coffee consumption and diabetes.

The only way to prove all of this beyond a doubt would be to confirm daily coffee consumption versus no coffee to comparison in two groups and do it for years. That would be a task but there are probably coffee drinkers who would be up to the challenge.

Coffee Borer Beetle Thrives on Caffeine

A constant threat to coffee production is an infestation by the coffee borer beetle. This insect burrows into the coffee bean and lays its eggs. The larva thrives by eating the bean after it hatches. The coffee borer beetle is not bothered by the caffeine in the coffee bean although caffeine is essentially poisonous to other beetles. Why is it that the coffee borer beetle thrives on caffeine? A recent article in National Geographic tells how with the help of bacteria the coffee borer beetle thrives on caffeine.

The beetle is the only animal that can feed solely on coffee beans. Others might occasionally nibble the seeds or other parts of the coffee plant, but they don’t dedicate themselves to the task. There’s a reason for that: caffeine. This stimulant draws many of us to coffee, but it effectively deters plant-eating animals. Not only does it taste bitter, but at the doses found in coffee seeds, it can poison and paralyze any wayward insect. Any insect, that is, except for the coffee berry borer. As a larva, it’s practically bathed in caffeine, and yet it survives. Even the most caffeine-rich beans fail to deter it.

Javier Ceja-Navarro from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has discovered its secret: it has bacteria in its guts that can detoxify caffeine.

Bacteria in its gut are the reason the coffee borer beetle thrives on caffeine. Dr. Ceja-Navarro treated the beetles with antibiotics and their protection against caffeine went away. The question is if organic coffee growers would want to treat their field with massive doses of antibiotics in order to combat the coffee borer beetle.

Dealing with the Coffee Borer Beetle

Because no one wants to go out and give a penicillin injection to every coffee borer beetle larva there must be other approaches to controlling infestations of the coffee borer beetle. Options for coffee borer beetle infestations include spraying with a fungus that is toxic to the beetle. Bassiana fungus is mixed with water, soap, oil and even fertilizers and sprayed on the soil as well as on the coffee beans. It tends to reduce infestations to the 2% range.

According to Kona coffee farmers integrated pest management includes field sanitation.

Simple sanitation is vital, and can be cost-effective with a few preventative measures.  Many CBB experts consider it the most effective form of control. The beetle can live in the infected bean for up to 5 months without feeding.

  • Do a “final round” gleaning of the field to break the life cycle. In a well-picked field, it should take approximately 16-24 man-hours to glean old crop from 5 acres of trees.
  • Remove all infected beans before pruning each tree.  One beetle can multiply into 200 if left behind.
  • All CBB-infested beans or floaters should be placed in black garbage bags and left in the sun for several days.  The heat will kill the beetle. Freezing will also work.
  • Train your harvesters not to discard green beans out of the picking bucket.  Also train them to spot La Broca  (Spanish for CBB) damage so that they may report trouble areas.

Sanitation is consistent with organic coffee management and so are traps. Traps do not significantly reduce the coffee borer beetle population but are a good way to spot area of higher infestation. And last of all dry all beans to lower than 12% moisture as this hardens the bean and the beetle cannot enter.

What Are the Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee?

We recently wrote about a new craze in the coffee world, bottled cold brew coffee. Today we ask, what are the benefits of cold brew coffee? The Washington Post wonders the same and poses the question, why you should be drinking more cold-brew coffee.

[T]he cold-brew process swaps piping hot water for room-temperature water, and requires grounds to steep for up to 24 hours.

What results is a batch of coffee – which can be served iced or heated – that’s much less bitter than coffee brewed the traditional way. According to a study conducted by Intertek in 2005, cold-brewed coffee contains about 65 percent less acidity than coffee brewed in hot water, making it a viable alternative for sensitive stomachs.

“When you brew with cold water over a longer period of time, you extract the fruity and chocolaty notes as well as the caffeine, but you don’t extract the bitter notes,” says Terry Darcy, co-founder of Confluence Coffee Co., a D.C.-based line of cold-brew coffees.

If you are prone to gastritis or esophageal reflux it is probably a good idea to try the benefits of cold brew coffee. Another issue is the antioxidants in coffee. Are they preserved or lost when you cold brew coffee.


We have written about regular and organic coffee antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce the effects of free radicals and are the reasons for many of health benefits of coffee, such as a reduced incidence of Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and various forms of cancer. Are antioxidants preserved in the cold brew method? It turns out that no one has done any research to find out!

Is It All about Taste?

If you are looking for a less bitter coffee, that is one of the benefits of cold brew. Of all people, Business Insider writes about how to make cold brew.

Because cold brew extracts different flavors than those found in hot coffee, it also tastes much smoother and richer.

“The more delicate fruity and floral flavors that make great coffees distinct from one another need heat to make it into your cup —cold water simply can’t dissolve them,” Sam Lewontin, an award-winning barista and KRUPS brand ambassador, told Business Insider in an email. “What it can dissolve are the things that we think of as tasting like ‘coffee’: chocolatey, nutty, and toasty flavors.”

The most popular part of cold brew seems to be the less acidic taste combined with the toasty flavors that we normally associate with coffee.

With Gas

The next extension of cold brew coffee is to add a little fizz. That makes nitro coffee, the latest iced coffee trend. Read what Refinery29 has to say.

If you see your barista serving fellow coffee drinkers what looks like pints of beer, don’t panic. You may not have had your morning Joe just yet, but you’re not seeing things – and your local coffee shop isn’t attempting to get everyone tipsy on a Monday morning. Nitro cold-brew iced coffee is, in fact, the latest rapidly growing coffee trend (not to be confused with last year’s bubbly iced coffee du jour, espresso tonic).

So, what exactly is nitro cold-brew iced coffee? It’s regular cold-brew coffee, plus nitrogen, that is then pulled on a pressurized nitro tap (just like when you order beer on tap at a bar). The result is a bubbly coffee drink that has a head of foam, similar to a pint of brew.

Enjoy the flavor and the fizz if you like. And don’t forget that healthy organic coffee is best.

Does Organic Coffee in a K Cup Make Sense?

Keurig Green Mountain is coming out with a new product line, organic coffee in K cups. Our question is if organic coffee in a K cup makes any sense. People drink organic coffee because they like the taste and aroma of high quality coffee, they like the idea of a pure produce free of unnecessary contaminates and because they want to help protect the environment. Putting organic coffee in a K cup raises some questions but first a little about the new Keurig product line.

Keurig Green Mountain Organic Coffees

Market Realist reports on Keurig Green Mountain Organic Coffee.

Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) launched its Green Mountain Coffee Organic line on June 26. This new line is both organic and certified fair trade, making it the first double-certified line of Green Mountain coffee available for the Keurig hot brewing system.

The new line of double-certified coffee comes in four varieties:

  • Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
  • Peru Cajamarca
  • Sumatra Aceh
  • Founder’s Blend

The first three varieties are single-origin coffees sourced from Ethiopia, the Cajamarca region of Peru, and the northern Sumatran province of Aceh, respectively. Founder’s Blend is a medium-roast coffee with notes of floral citrus, apple, and caramel.

Keurig Green Mountain’s double-certified coffees are available in ten- and sixteen-count boxes of K-Cup pods priced at $9.49 and $11.49, respectively.

Keurig sells a lot of coffee and a lot of folks like the singe serving approach because it is easy and does not waste coffee. The trouble is that there is a lot of other waste with this product that goes against protecting the environment.

How Many Billion K Cups?

Billions of K cups go into landfills each year. If part of the reason you drink organic coffee is that you want to protect the environment then even organic coffee in a Keurig K cup is a problem. But there was a solution. Keurig also made refillable K cups under the brand, My K Cup. You could also refill these with any coffee of your choice, which would commonly be cheaper than the coffee from Keurig. Unfortunately that changed.

Some years back, thousands of Keurig single-serve machine fans found a cheaper alternative, however -refillable, non-disposable K-cups, little plastic coffee grounds holders, which the company graciously sold under the brand of “My K-Cup.”

Not only was it cheaper, but the coffee drinker had more choice, as “My K-Cup” could be filled with any brand of coffee off the shelf.

But in August 2014, when Keurig introduced its “2.0” line of coffeemakers, it stopped making “My K-Cup” for it and made the machine incompatible with any K-cups already in existence, as well as with any unlicensed disposable K-cups made by other companies.

So Keurig is back to producing little plastic cups to fill up landfills and is enticing environmentally minded coffee drinkers by selling expensive organic coffee in those cups.

Recycling K Cups

Waste 360 reports that it is possible to recycle K cups into cement.

A B.C. program that recycles Keurig coffee K-Cups into cement has been so successful that it may expand into Alberta.

The Lafarge cement plant in Kamloops, B.C. turned about 1.4 million K-Cups into cement last year, after teaming up with Van Houtte Coffee Services, which collects the used pods for recycling.

Now Keurig just needs to give every customer a pre-paid envelope with each set of cups so that customers can mail their used K Cups to Alberta!

Leaf Rust Resistant Honduran Coffee

Research into resistant coffee strains and significant replanting has led to increased Honduran coffee output and exports. writes about how the third ranking exporter of Arabica coffee is well on its way to overcoming coffee leaf rust and bringing exports back up to traditional levels.

Honduran coffee production, and exports, will hit a record high in 2015-16 as Central America’s top bean grower reaps the benefit of efforts to counter rust, which badly hurt the region’s output two seasons ago.

Honduras – Latin America’s third-ranked coffee exporter after Brazil and Colombia, and renowned as an origin of higher quality supplies – will produce 6.11m bags of beans in 2015-16, on an October-to-September basis, the US Department of Agriculture bureau  in Tegucigalpa said.

That would take to 37% the rebound in output from a low last season, as coffee rust spread through the country, as it did through other Central American producing nations.

And it would lift output – all of arabica beans – above the record 5.60m bags achieved in 2011-12, before the outbreak of rust, caused by the roya fungus, which cuts yields dramatically and can result in tree death.

Honduras, like Colombia has been carrying out research to develop coffee leaf rust resistant strains. This effort has been successful and many coffee plantations that were replanted a few years ago are back in production.

Corporate Efforts to Fight Leaf Rust

The mega coffee shop people, Starbucks, are pouring money into supporting high end and organic coffee farmers in fighting leaf rust. The Seattle Times reports that Starbucks is giving $30 million more for this effort.

Starbucks renewed a commitment to fund loans for coffee farmers in a bid to strengthen the often wobbly supply chain for the bean that underpins its sprawling empire.

The coffee giant said it will allocate $30 million to a global fund for farmers to be distributed over the next five years, a follow-up to the program that has applied $20 million since 2010 toward loans made through microfinance nonprofits such as Root Capital. The loans are designed to help farmers with little access to traditional financing from banks.

Starbucks’ promise comes as coffee farmers in Central America and the Caribbean struggle to recover from a devastating epidemic of coffee rust and deal with the impact of climate change on their crop.

The company says some 62 cooperatives in eight countries – representing more than 40,000 farmers – were aided by the initial $20 million.

This is an example of enlightened self-interest. Starbucks prospers because it provides a great cup of coffee and that cup of coffee threatened when small high end and organic coffee farmers go under.

Not All Nations Are Successful

While leaf rust resistant Honduran coffee is leading that nation back to its accustomed spot on the coffee export list nations like Nicaragua are struggling with the plant disease. CCTV America writes about how coffee rust threatens crops in Nicaragua.

High-quality coffee produced in Nicaragua is one of the country’s most lucrative exports. But a disease called “coffee leaf rust” is devastating the crop fields of Nicaragua and the farmers who harvest them. The same plant that won one of the most important coffee prizes in Nicaragua a few years ago has now been deeply affected by coffee rust.

The most successful nations, like Honduras will follow the example of Colombian efforts to fight leaf rust and see their production and exports recover.