- Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
One reason for the successful economic miracle occurring in Rwanda today is its thriving specialty coffee industry that, along with tea, accounts for a large percentage of the country’s exports. Despite this success, however, coffee from Rwanda and neighboring Burundi is plagued by a condition called potato taste defect (PTD) in which a few coffee beans impart an odor and flavor reminiscent of rotten potatoes.
So pernicious is PTD that its occurrence can downgrade the value of the entire crop by a fourth or a third. Worse yet, PTD is only apparent after processing, roasting, grinding and brewing, and can occur long after the coffee has been shipped abroad.
Thought to be caused by chemicals produced by microbes that...