How Kew Gardens are protecting the future of coffee

JOURNAL

There’s a coffee tree growing in West London. Slowly climbing towards the sky in the world’s biggest Victorian glass house, this tree is one of thousands of specimens devoted to coffee at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Those who know Kew as one of London’s most beloved tourist attractions are often surprised to hear that the gardens hold one of the world’s most respected coffee research groups. Through the work of Senior Research Leader Dr. Aaron Davis and his colleagues, Kew identifies and researches more coffee species than anywhere else in the world.

What makes this work important is that the coffee we love — vibrant, delicious Arabica coffee — is incredibly fragile. The climate emergency is putting more and more strain on coffee as the natural cycles of rain and dry seasons end. As the temperature across the globe rises, weather in coffee-growing countries becomes erratic and often damaging.

Researchers at Kew work to find new species of coffee which, either directly or through the assistance of cross-breeding, could become the next generation of coffee which could survive a more erratic climate. This includes coffee found on snow-capped mountains, in bone-dry deserts and even species we thought disappeared over two hundred years ago.

As part of our core ethos of helping create a more sustainable coffee industry, we committed to donating money to Kew with every kilo of coffee we roast. We’re the first roaster to take up this commitment because we believe that, to support the future of coffee, we need to collectively support the people helping make it happen.

The incredible work of the coffee team at Kew isn’t the only reason we support the gardens. After all, Kew is one of London’s great institutions. In a world of concrete, it offers the chance for people to reconnect with the natural world. Walking the gardens of Kew feels like walking through one of London’s best galleries, but instead of paintings and sculptures we get to pause and experience the beautiful plants brought to London from all around the world. We’re lucky it’s on our doorstep.

We give to Kew because it embodies what drives us: a love of the natural world and a hope that we can help preserve it. Why do we give to Kew? Because we think it’s important to support the people creating the world we want to see tomorrow.

Kiss the Hippo Team