This Sunday, September 29, is National Coffee Day, and in celebration of one of our favorite holidays, we’re giving our fans a behind-the-scenes look at all-things coffee at Dunkin’! Be sure to check out the Behind the Beans blog for a special blog series featuring exclusive National Coffee Day content.
Fun fact: to produce one pound of Dunkin’ Original Blend coffee, it takes the entire harvest of a coffee tree. This means it takes 1.25 billion coffee trees to produce the coffee in Dunkin’ Original Blend each year! Keeping our guests happy (and caffeinated!) means supporting farmers to help keep their coffee trees healthy and thriving year after year. That’s why Dunkin' and National DCP (NDCP), the franchisee-owned supply chain serving Dunkin’ restaurants, are fueling research toward coffee sustainability efforts that will benefit coffee farmers around the world through a strategic initiative with World Coffee Research (WCR), a nonprofit collaborative research and development program of the global coffee industry.
As part of a 5-year agreement, kicked off in 2018, a percentage of sales from every pound of Original Blend coffee beans sold to Dunkin' franchisees for use in Dunkin' restaurants goes to WCR in support of coffee sustainability efforts. This financial contribution, which could amount to $2MM over the course of the agreement, will support WCR's mission to grow, protect and enhance supplies of quality coffee, while improving the livelihoods of the families who produce it.
Conducting science to create a brighter future for coffee isn’t something one company can do alone; Dunkin’ and NDCP are leading a coalition of coffee companies from across the globe to support WCR. Together with industry peers, we are helping advance coffee science to ensure the future of coffee.
So what types of things are actually happening to ensure we never know a world without coffee? Keep reading for a few examples of the work with WCR that Dunkin’ is helping to fuel!
New climate-smart coffee varieties.
Most of the coffee trees grown around the world are adapted to a relatively narrow range of environmental and climate conditions. Dunkin’s support of WCR’s breeding program is changing that. WCR is working to create more productive, higher quality varieties of coffee. Improved varieties provide farmers with more income from the land they farm, reducing the pressure to cut down forests or use other unsustainable environmental practices. Currently there are 56 new varieties in development (non-GMO!) and the trees are producing their first harvests right now. The top performers will be selected for release to farmers. By 2050, billions of coffee trees growing around the world will be the result of these breeding efforts.
Testing varieties around the world.
It takes time to create new varieties and make them available to farmers. While that work unfolds, World Coffee Research partners with the national coffee institutes in 22 countries on global trials to evaluate the world’s best existing varieties. This research helps answer the question: What variety grows well where? Countries can observe the best performers and, if some outperform the currently available local varieties, make them available to farmers. In the last year, four new countries have established trial sites (Australia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Puerto Rico), bringing the total to 28 plots in 22 countries. Most of these varieties have never been tested outside their “home” country!
Taking it to the farmer.
Which varieties and farming practices produce the most profit for a farmer? Which practices are best for the farmer’s soil? How might it be different for a large estate vs. a smallholder farm? Turns out, the world doesn’t really know. Getting this data is essential to supporting coffee farmers and global sustainability efforts. In 2018, Dunkin led in industry contributions that supported the installation of over 130 new on-farm technical trials in 10 countries to examine exactly these questions. In 2019, the trial will expand to include 250 farmers with the goal of having over 1000 simultaneous trials installed by 2022.
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