When leaf rust, or Roya, broke out in Central America in 2013, its effects were devastating on yields and quality. Farmers through El Salvador and Guatemala had to drastically change their farming methods to combat this new destructive fungus. The fungus eats away at the leaves, and draws nutrients away from the fruit production, affecting fruit quality and quantity. The effect of Roya on the taste of the coffee is unique. We have tasted samples of coffee that were completely ripe-looking, but the coffee tasted as though the fruit and seed was unripe—hollow, thin and peanut-like. Managing Roya has now become part of the routine. It is clear that Roya is in Guatemala to stay, as there seems to be no chance of eliminating it completely. We’ve spoken at length with Ricardo Zelaya (of Santa Clara Estate) about the fungus, and he suspects climate change is playing a big part in the spread of Roya throughout Central America. Head to our Journal to keep reading (link in bio).