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With the top of every passing yr comes an opportunity to mirror, study from our errors, and work towards one of the best model of ourselves. And with it additionally comes a brand new yr and an opportunity to take a position wildly in regards to the upcoming yr in hopes of garnering a couple of coveted clicks. The New York Times, the Paper of Record, opted to participate on this time-honored custom with some scorching takes on what the recent meals tendencies in America will likely be in 2022. Among these is the declare that Robusta is poised to challenge Arabica’s dominance in American coffee tradition.
In the article, the Times notes that the challenges Arabica has skilled over the previous few years—climate change, a recent surge in prices (although this spike has also affected Robusta for lots of the identical causes), and so forth—as a preface to arrange their argument, which hinges across the nation of Vietnam as a coffee producer, and the rising affect of Vietnamese coffee tradition in America. It’s an intriguing level, however the argument will get form of flattened; lowering coffee tradition in Vietnam—one of the most incredibly vibrant in the world, with world-class cafes throughout Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang—to nothing greater than Robusta made utilizing a phin is quite myopic. Vietnamese coffee tradition has been massively influential in cafes across the globe for a few years now, together with the United States, the place excellent coffee bars like Kimberly Dam’s Cà Phê in Portland and Jackie Nguyen’s Cafe Cà Phê in Kansas City are totally realized, to call simply two. This shouldn’t be a “new” pattern and it’s actually not beholden to 2022 in any considerable method: Vietnam has been influential on coffee tradition. Robusta has been ascendant within the dialog round coffee consumption.
Robusta is not synonymous with bad, low quality, bitter coffee. Yes, it does have extra caffeine than Arabica, which might improve the perceived bitterness, however there are numerous, many of us, like Will Frith in Vietnam and Dr. Sunalini Menon in India, who’re working in direction of rising Robusta’s high quality, and plenty of Robusta tons handled with the identical meticulous manufacturing as a lot of the high-end Arabica receives have truly scored as specialty grade. Robusta could be good in case you let it.
What’s actually thrilling about Robusta has nothing to do with Americans are consuming it, knowingly or in any other case. It is in its potential to create longevity, not simply in coffee manufacturing however in world sustainability. In Brazil, as an illustration, farmers are planting Robusta bushes as a method of battling deforestation, a narrative Juliana Ganan lined in-depth final yr for Sprudge Special Projects. (The NYT ignoring Brazil within the dialog round Robusta is, as they are saying, a alternative.) And Robusta’s local weather resilience makes it a powerful candidate for hybridization with Arabica, which has been taking place for fairly some time and reveals no indicators of slowing.
If you’ll allow the critique, that is some Grade A Columbusing from the New York Times. And on this planet of meals and beverage writing, there’s few issues that really feel much less like 2022.