From Wikipedia Coffee Leaf Rust is defined as Hemileia vastatrix is a fungus of the order Puccinilaes (Previously also known as Uredinales) that causes coffee rust, a disease that is devastating to coffee plantations. Coffee serves as the obligate host of coffee rust, that is, the rust must have access to and come into physical contact with coffee (Coffee Arabica) in order to survive.
What this means in relation to our industry as Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Farmers is that coffee leaf rust will have an already small crop see a turn that is going to get a lot smaller. The leaf rust inhibits the coffee plant’s photosynthesis by attacking the leaf and taking up space needed to generate energy to turn sun light into food for the plant. This in turn makes it harder for the plant to produce coffee cherries on a limited energy supply, and in turn slows the coffee growing process.
Broken down, it comes to this: If you are sick at work, do you produce as much as if you are healthy? More than likely the answer is no. The body can only handle so much as productivity as it fights off infection, and that is why the Dr. tells you to rest. Unfortunately coffee plants can’t take a week off, and a remedy needs to be found while production remains on-going. So the plant essentially never gets a break to fight the infection of the virus.
The good news is the taste of the coffee is not affected, so if there is a light, that is it. However, if you take into consideration for example; that on average one plant produces one pound of coffee per harvest and the effects of coffee leaf rust are 10% loss at minimum, that can add up. The actual numbers are in fact higher, but lets say 20,000 lbs has now become 18,000 pounds of coffee.
Our coffee is traded by 152 lb barrels which yield 128 lbs of roasted coffee after a 16% weight loss during roasting. So now look at things this way; with a 10% minimum loss from the leaf rust epidemic, there are 13 one pound orders per barrel of coffee that cannot be enjoyed. Not to complain by any means at all, but rather to share with those truly enjoy their Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.
Reggie Chung Loy is a native Jamaican with 25 acres of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
Farms between his New Monlkland and Brooklodge Estate Farms. We are fighting the good fight and look forward in 2014 to having the pleasure of bringing you “Absolutely the Best Coffee in The World”.
Reggie’s Roast Coffee