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Coffee from Yemen: Project intends to build reputation for high quality

coffee in a cup on a saucer with a spoon

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

World Coffee Research, part of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University in College Station, is hoping to reveal the origin of coffee grown in the Republic of Yemen.

The practice of blending Yemeni beans with cheaper coffee from Ethiopia is believed to be widespread. This harms the perceived quality of the coffee in the marketplace. Project leaders want to create a database and testable model to ensure the origin of Yemini coffee, allowing the republic build a national brand of high-quality coffee.

Researchers are using near infrared spectroscopy, a versatile, accurate and non-invasive analytical technique, to study coffee samples. The method has been widely applied in agriculture to determine the quality of agricultural products such as meats, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.

“In the lab, we measured the reflectance of green coffee samples from Ethiopia and Yemen,” said Seth Murray, an assistant professor in Texas A&M’s soil and crop sciences department and a World Coffee Research collaborator. “The near infrared spectroscopy did a near-perfect job of helping us determine which coffee was from which of the two countries, based on the spectral signature, even though the coffees have fairly similar signatures.”