Most of the coffee that is currently consumed throughout the world is of the Arabica or Robusta species. Arabica is known for it’s higher quality and more fruity and floral flavors, while Robusta is known for it’s more bitter earthy flavors.
While those are primarily the only two species found on the market, there are actually 124 different species of the coffee plant. Coffea Stenophylla is one of them that has actually been for many years a mystery.
Coffea Stenophylla, otherwise known as the Highland Coffee of Sierra Leone, is believed to primarily reside in the forests of West Africa, however, even within those forests, it is very difficult to come across it. There is almost no material written on this species of coffee until recent years.
It is currently believed that there are only a handful of Coffea Stenophylla trees worldwide which has caused green coffee buyers, roasters, and baristas alike to become very interested in its future prospects.
With no significant recorded data on the flavor or taste of these species; it’s prospects for a cup of coffee that rivals that of Arabica is almost completely unknown.
Dr. Timothy Schilling of World Coffee Research Institute states that it’s “supposed to be incredible” and could “prove a formidable rival of the Arabica coffee”, however, the only real information we have on it is recorded by word of mouth from locals that had family members that use to drink it regularly back in the 1800s.
At the moment, the priority is simply to preserve the plant and work towards sustainability in the forests where it grows so that we can hopefully prolong its life to see the possibilities it holds. According to the IUCN Red List, it has an increasing threat due to deforestation and human encroachment in its natural habitat and its future is in very real danger.
Hopefully, there will be a day when instead of writing about whether or not it will make it into the future, I will instead be able to write about its flavors, after it has survived and been able to prosper long enough for us to enjoy its fruit.
Cheers to Coffea Stenophylla.