Sandalj Trading Company tests DNA of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Sandalj Trading Company presented last month the results of their successfully certification of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee using DNA testing.  The Italian coffee traders, who are the official distributor of Jamaican coffee in Italy, presented the results at the TriestEspresso exhibition alongside representatives of the Jamaica Industry Coffee Board.  The DNA testing was completed by DNA Analytica, a spin-off of the University of Trieste. For the last few years, Professor Giorgio Graziosi, a genetics expert, has been leading the genetic testing of coffee. DNA Analytica currently hold a databank of coffee DNA, and provide testing services for roasters. The testing can be used to help compare between test samples and larger shipments, analysis of Robusta/Arabica blends, and certification of speciatly coffee, as in the case of Sandalj's Jamaica Blue Mountain. “When we buy fruit of vegetables, we usually assess the quality of the produce according to aesthetic aspects such as colour, shape and size, but doing this is very difficult, if not impossible, with coffee,” says Prof. Graziosi. “Fingerprinting can dissolve any doubts with aboslute certainty, especially since the judiciary system recognises this type of test.” The DNA Analytica database currently holds around 320 varieties of Arabica coffee, and fingerprinting is available at a cost of between US$100 – $250 a sample, depending on the type of analysis.   In addition to genetic testing, DNA Analytica has been involved with the sequencing of the genome of Robusta. The next goal will be the sequencing of the Arabica genome, which is twice as long as Robusta.  “If we align the DNA of an Arabica coffee bean, we could take a round trip to the moon,” says Graziosi. 

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