Upon first glance, the large bushy plant with branches filled with tiny, jasmine-scented flowers appear to be something even the pickiest gardener would welcome. These pure white flowers are highly fragrant and beautiful, but are a side-effect to the true commodity of this particular plant, the reddish-purple berries that come after the flowers have disappeared. The deep crimson is not a perfectly ripe cherry, but holds one of the biggest cash crops in the world: the coffee bean.
While the beautiful plants promising coffee paint a beautiful picture of serene gardening, the coffee plant is in trouble. Climate change, viruses, and fungi are all taking a huge financial toll on coffee production, making the recent coffee genome sequencing even more essential to keep this industry percolating.