Chicken Lentil Soup

  • Lentil Soup

You may have wondering where have I gone. I have been not very well for the past few months. I just managed to able to cook properly. So I started off with this very high protein source of food to provide some nutrition to my diet.

This tiny, flat, lens-shaped pulses that grow in pods. Originating in Southeast Asia, lentils are now grow worldwide in warm countries, and vary in colour and size. The most common lentils are green, brown and red. Some of the rarer varieties are named after the area they are grown in, such as lenticchie di Castelluccio, Puglian lentils from Alta Mura in Italy, and lentilles vertes du Puy from France.

Lentils have a high food value (they are high in protein, fibre and vitamin-B) and are considered adequate protein to replace meat. Lentils must be cooked and can be pureed and used in soups and curries or added to stews and salads. But choose your lentils accordingly: some lentils, such as the red and brown ones, will cook to a mush and are good for purées; others, like Puy lentils, will hold their shape no matter how much you cook them.

These are the type of lentils:

Red. Also called Egyptian lentils, these break down when cooked and can be used for making soups and purées. They are often used in India dishes such as dhals.

Green and brown. Largest of the lentils, they keep their shape when cooked. Good in casseroles, soups and dishes where you want texture. Green and brown vary in size and colour and aren’t always easy to differentiate from each other-treat in the same way.

Puy. Tiny, speckled grey-green lentils that are grown organically and contain more minerals than other variesties. Lentilles vertes du Puy are governed by the French appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) and must be from that area. The same type of lentils are grown elsewhere- these are sold simply as Puy lentils.

Castelluccio. From Umbria in Italy, these are small, brownish-green lentils. They cook quickly (about 30 minutes) and retain their shape when cooked. Often serve with game.

Tips of Preparation. Contrary to popular belief, lentils don’t need to be soaked before they are cooked; soaking may cause some varieties to break up. First, pick over lentils to remove any discoloured ones or pieces of grit, then rinse and discard any lentils that float (these may have been partially eaten by bugs).

I didn’t expecting to cook lentils soup even I have a pack of lentils in my store cupboard and I had forgotten about it. The weather of for the past few days has been drizzling rain, I don’t feeling to go anywhere and I’m hungry too. So I pick up a cookery cook from my book shelf (Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking dated back 1989) as soon as I flipped the pages the only word that caught my eye “lentils soup” that rings the bell in my mind, since I have some chicken in the fridge. So I alter her recipe to suit my mood of cooking today, I don’t want anything that too heavy to eat, and I do need some protein and other mineral too. This soup supposed to be a winter dishes and it seems like is “winter” over here.

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 2 stick of leeks, chopped
  • handful of lentils
  • Chicken meat cut into pieces (I used the breast part)
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 3 red chilies, remove the seed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 200ml chicken stock (from a packet) or water
  1. Heat the oil in a very large saucepan and gently sauté the garlic, onion, chilies. Add the chicken to seal the chicken pieces, stirring frequently, for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Wash the lentils twice in cold water. Drain them well and add to the pan. Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper and stir well.
  3. Pour the chicken stock or water enough to cover all ingredient. Put the lid on and simmer the soup for about 35 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft. Add a little extra stock or water if necessary.

Lentils is very popular and is enjoyed throughout Italy. The kind eaten are the continental lentils, which keep their shape when cooked. They grow in many regions of Italy, although the best come from Abruzzo and Umbria. The lentils from Castellucio, a small hill town east of Spoleto in Umbria, are the most highly regarded. They are tiny, beige-green lentils that have sweeter yet fuller flavour than others. Unlike other pulses, lenticchie do not need to soaking unless they have been stored for too long.

There are many different ways to cook lentils, in soups or as vegetables. One soup from Abruzzo mixes boiled lentils with chestnuts. The cooked chestnuts are first sautéed in a earthenware pot in olive oil, together with all the herbs available, plus chilli to taste and some tomato sauce. The cooked lentils and their water are then added to this mixture, and the soup is served with slices of fried bread. In contrast, the lentil soup from Bologna is delicacy itself: the lentils are pureed with boiled chicken and then diluted with the chicken stock. In Campania, in a dish simply called pasta e lenticchie, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 garlic cloves and few chopped tomatoes are added to the nearly cooked lentils, together with some water. When the water boils, some smallish pasta is added and the result is a delicious thick soup over which a splash of best olive oil is poured just before serving.

The recipe given here is for lenticchie in Umido, which is the way we always cooked them in my family. We ate them with Zampone – and what a meal that is. In many region lentils are eaten at midnight on New Year’s Eve, or on New Year’s Day, because there is a superstition that they bring wealth in the year to come.

Lentils have been eaten for thousands of years – although both Platina and Pisanelli, a Bolognese doctor, condemned them as unhealthy and liable to cause all sorts of diseases. However, these condemnation of pulses, and of other peasant food, might well have derived from the fact that food was categorized as either light and delicate, and therefore suited to the refined palates – like pulses – for the plebs. Such was the food snobbery of the 16th century.








IMG_2050AWriting this post to honour Doris Andrew, one of Andrew’s family member pass away two weeks ago. I will be missing your laughter, your accompany, your food. All these are going to lived in my memory forever. I remembered you enjoyed the pizza with the fresh basil on the topping, you said the leaf is the fragrance on top of the pizza…. I will be missing you, I love you!

Growing your own herbs is so fun to do at home, if you have some left over herb that you brought from market. I picked those mature leaves for cooking and I remain some of it, so I can plant them in a pot for my potted herbs garden.

I love the fragrance of sweet basil leaves, the smell of the Italian cooking. This delicate herbs has a very unique story behind back to Ancient Greeks. You may have noticed I had been away for long time and I didn’t update my blog. I been reading a lot of home grown produce for the past few months. I found one of the article written by Anne Del Conte regarding basil.  There is a wonderful story of it, and recipe are superb too.

A native of India, basil was known to the ancient Greeks and the Romans and flourished wherever it could find warmth, sun and sea breezes. In Boccaccio’s Decameron, basil is the symbol of love when the noble Lisabetta, whose brothers have murdered her plebeian lover, buries the lover’s head in a pot of basil, a story that is taken up some 400 years later by Keats in his poem ‘Isabella, or the Pot of Basil’. During the Renaissance basil is mentioned by Platina, who suggested using it in moderation. It was popular all over Italy, often kept in pots on window sills as it appears in some Renaissance paintings.

For hundreds of years, basil had been used around the Italian coast in salads, with fish and in tomato sauces. In the 18th century, Corrado is the first cookery writer to mention the use of basil to dress stewed meat and to flavour vegetable soups. Artusi adds basil to his tomato sauce which, he writes, is ‘good with boiled beef and it is excellent to make very pleasant a dish of pasta dressed with butter and cheese, or a risotto’.

Basil gained a wider fame when Pesto crossed the borders of Liguria to become one of the favourite pasta sauces of the world. But that didn’t happen until well after World War II. Apart from pesto and in tomato sauces, basil also gives an extra dimension to a Minestrone or a vegetable soup and it makes a delicious salad with tomatoes and mozzarella, insalata caprese.

There are many varieties of basil, including: the Genovese, with a very strong yet sweet flavour; the Napoletano, with rather crinkly leaves and a minty aroma; the Fine Verde Compatto, with very small leaves and more delicate scent; and the Mammoth, with very big leaves, the best for drying. However, basil does not dry well and its flavour changes considerably. The best way to preserve basil is to layer the leaves with olive oil in a sterilised jar, or to freeze the leaves.

Basil sauce Pesto

This famous sauce has its origins in Liguria, when the basil is sweeter yet more aromatic than anywhere else, thanks to the perfect balance between humidity and hot sun. It is indeed odd that the only speciality from Liguria that genuinely needs a local ingredient should be the one that has travelled all over the world.

There are two fundamental types of pesto: the pesto of the western Riviera and the pesto of the eastern Riviera. The former, which includes the classic pesto genovese, is stronger and simpler, the latter is more delicate, containing less garlic, some pine nuts, grated Pecorino and or Parmesan and other ingredients which make it less fierce. But, after that, there are as many recipes as cooks, and no Ligurian cook would actually know how much of this or that goes into it: it’s all a question of judgement and personal taste. The basil is pounded in a mortar with some garlic, salt and, if added, pine nuts or walnuts, the basil local extra virgin olive oil being added drop by drop. This at least, is the old-fashioned method; nowadays it is often made in the blender or food processor. Connoisseurs say this is to the detriment of its flavour, since the basil is being chopped by a metal blade. which might also warm the mixture, rather than pounded by wooden pestle. There is a more delicate version of pesto, in which some butter or cream is added, and the garlic reduced.

Pesto is traditionally used to dress Trenette, Trofie and picagge; to a Genoese it would be inconceivable that it should be used with any other shape of pasta. The pasta is often cooked with sliced potatoes and green beans and all three ingredients are dressed with pesto and eaten together. Pesto is used also to dress potato gnocchi or to give a local touch – one spoonful is enough – to a Minestrone  all genovese.

Make for 4 pasta or gnocchi
20g/ 2 1/2 tbsp pine nuts
50g fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
a pinch of coarse sea salt
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp freshly grated mature pecorino cheese
125ml extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F.

Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 3-4 minutes, to release the aroma of the nuts

Put the basil, garlic, pine nuts and salt in a mortar. Grind with the pestle, crushing all the ingredients against the side of the mortar until the mixture has become a paste. You can use a food processor or blender.

Mix in the grated cheeses and pour over the oil very gradually, beating with a wooden spoon.

Doris, this recipe is dedicated for you.

Potato Crisps

Potatoes crispsRecently, I had been  finding some homemade snack, as I do prefer homemade instead of shop brought crisps. I did it in the office on a Friday after working hour, thinly sliced potatoes with mandoline  slicer, I do not have a great knife skill to achieve the thin slices of the potatoes. If I could make it, so do you too.

This kind of snack are versatile for any occasion and suitable for any age group too. It is matching so well with a macho cold beer with bowl of this warm crisps, I had made a similar crisps as well but that is the Chinese version of wonton crisps.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 356ºF. To start of with slicing the potatoes into thin slices, (I used mandoline to do the work), Place them onto flat surface with kitchen paper underneath the potatoes slices and other sheet of kitchen paper on top of it. This process is to absorb the liquid starch from the potato.

In the lightly oiled baking tray, (I used garlic infused oil, you could use regular olive oil, not extra virgin as it burn much quickly than the regular olive oil.) place the sliced potatoes on the oiled tray, do not overlapping the potatoes slices in order to cook it evenly brown. Cook it about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly in the middle and sides.

Once it is done, remove the tray from the oven and place the cooked crisps onto kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil, let it cool down. Transfer the crisps into a large bowl, then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper (I adding little bit of chilies powder to give extra kick in the taste) serve immediately.

I bet everyone loves this. Make your own crisps is not difficult but joyful few mouthful of and cold beer, is so wonderful with this. I can’t wait to make another batch for the weekend treat!


breadcrumbsNever ever throw away a stale bread, otherwise you may throw away the most delicious thing. I used a whole stale bread including the crust, cut them into small pieces then put them in the food processor or blender, blitz it until the consistency that you wanted to achieve. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Spread the processed breadcrumbs on the Swiss roll tin, let it dry for 20 minutes (to drying it further) while waiting for the oven to heat up.

There is several type of breadcrumbs you could make it yourself.

  • White breadcrumbs – Remove the crust from some stale bread and rub it through a fine wire sieve, using the palm of the hand.
  • Brown breadcrumbs – Put the crusts or any pieces of the stale bread there may be into a moderate oven, and bake them brown. Then crush them with a rolling pin or pound them in a mortar, pass them through a fine sieve, and keep them in an air-tight tin.
  • Mollica (Italian) breadcrumbs  – Soft breadcrumbs: the inside of a loaf or roll, as distinct from the crust. Mollica is used principally as a binder in Polpette and Polettoni, in fillings for Ravioli and other pasta shapes and in stuffing for vegetables, fish etc. In Calabria and Sicily fried breadcrumbs are the main ingredient in many pasta sauces as a substitute for the more expensive Parmesan. The taste is, of course, different, though not necessarily less good, but the appearance is similar. There is one dish in southern Italy, in the poor regions used this breadcrumbs, even still serving today.

The French breadcrumbs (panure in French) are made from fresh bread and are soft and large-crumbed. Dried breadcrumbs (chapelure in French) are finer, made from bread that has been dried in oven or slightly stale, or by drying fresh breadcrumbs and crushing them. Browned breadcrumbs are dried crumbs that are lightly toasted. (Alternatively, the bread may be baked until browned before it is crumbed.) Breadcrumbs are used in cooking for coating food or as a topping for dishes. They are also used for binding mixtures or thickening soups or sauces.

  • Coating with breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are used to coat delicate foods before frying, typically fish or seafood, chicken breast fillets, croquettes or fritters. Dry white crumbs do not absorb as much fat as fresh crumbs; they produce a fine, crisp coating and turn golden on cooking. The food is first dusted with flour, then dipped in beaten egg and finally coated with breadcrumbs. This gives a secure coating, ideal for soft mixtures which may melt during frying. Less delicate items can be moistened with melted butter or milk before a fine layer of crumbs is pressed on – this is useful when baking or grilling (broiling) the food. Dishes coated with fresh breadcrumbs must be cooked slowly so that the crumbs do not brown before the foods are properly cooked. The French are prefer their fresh breadcrumbs, making that misnomer!

If you had a very tired or lazy day, you could even ignore the step of drying the bread in the oven. You can cut the crust off and cut the bread into chunks and lacerate  into crumbs in the food processor, and then leave the crumbs in a shallow bowl or spread them out on a plate to dry and get staler naturally. You can keep breadcrumbs in a freezer bag in the freezer and use them straight from the frozen. An average slice of good bread without crusts, should be weights 25g; this in turn yields approximately 6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs.

Vanilla Meringue

Vanilla meringueFrench meringue, one of the easiest meringue you could make in no time, this is my version of mini meringue that melts in your mouth. Only three ingredient, you could have a jar of this to keep in cupboard for a week. In my case, it won’t even last for a week, should be gone in third day. Meringue and macaroon is a very similar however macaroon involved many steps and preparation. Macaroon, always gave an impression that it was one of the recipe I called “failure of success” and the pâtissier recover the bake goods with filling the bottom with cream and sandwich another piece of macaroon. Somehow many French recipe had that kind of repertoire.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  1.  Preheat the oven to 100ºC/ 212ºF. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg white until peak firm was formed.
  2. Shift the caster over the egg white, make sure there is no lumps of sugar, then add in the vanilla extract.
  3. Use a large metal spoon, careful fold over the sugar and vanilla into whisked egg white. Do not over work with it otherwise you may knock out the air you had created into the egg whites.
  4. Use your finger or a spoon and dip into the mixture and smear it onto the four corner of the baking sheet, then line the baking sheet with baking parchment or baking paper.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a large plain nozzle piping bag and pipe it on the baking paper.
  6. Pop them in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Once it is done remove it from the oven and let it cool completely before you store them in the clean jar.

There texture is smooth and melts in your mouth, however it has a bit of chewiness at the end, that is because of the sugar. I think in the batch I going to reduce the sugar, as I think is a bit too sweet to my tooth, however in some explanation saying sugar in the meringue is crucial because sugar is the structure of the meringue, since I’m architectural amateur that word “structure” is sounds seriously in construction industry; which is true because that is the only ingredient comes in a tinny little form or crystal, supporting the “cotton” above it. How wonderful is that?

Berry Barque


Reminding me about the pâtisserie shops in Paris, the Parisian are so proud of their patisserie because of their passionate and love with their culinary. I must say if you have the easy access to good patisserie, I don’t see any reason you won’t fall in love with. The recipe was picked up on the TV show that Michel Roux and Marry Berry was preparing these little beautiful pastry.

This really make me feels like a French pâtissier, patisserie is the work of art for the pâtissier that created with a flawless not only the taste is good, and is really great to look at too. Eventually walking in streets of Paris whenever I saw a patisserie shop even at the opposite road I could traverse and just to have a look at it, because it is like my favorite masterpiece of Mona Lisa was stolen and hung in the shop for sell!

I have a recipe just for the occasion that you need for dinner party of tea time treat. I used my classic sweet pastry. (refer to my previous post of humble mince pie)

For the filling, I used crème pâtissière (pastry cream, the reason, it taste nicer and the fruit can sitting in creamlike soft sponge and it holds the fruits)

  • 120g egg yolks (approximately 6 medium egg yolks)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 40g corn flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla exact
  • 500ml whole milk
  1. For the crème pâtissière, whisk the egg yolks with sugar until pale and thick, then whisk in the corn flour.
  2. Add the vanilla into the milk and bring to boil then switch off the heat.
  3. Pour the milk in a slow stream onto the egg mixture, whisking vigorously all the time. (Pour slowly to avoid scrambling the egg)
  4. Return the mixture to a clean pot over a medium heat and whisk continuously. Make sure to scrape the sides and the bottom, otherwise it will burn.
  5. The cream will start to thicken. Once it release a bubble or two, take it off the heat.
  6. Pour into a shallow bowl. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so it sticks directly on to the cream) letting it cool before put in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

To give the fruit a better shine, warm a jar of apricot jam in saucepan in low heat, do keep your eye on it, no one like the burnt sugar taste, once the jam had warm through then use a pastry brush to brush the arranged fruit.

I like the size of this shape it is much easy as a bite size, usually fruit tattler is in round shape. It is not elegance as this one.

Tips: The jam will thicken as it cool down, you can add little bit of water and warm it through again, to mix the water and jam then continue to brush the fruit again.



Vanilla biscuit

Vanilla BiscuitThis is one my childhood’s memory, I used to brought it from the shop in the market and I had became addictive to it. I leave them in coffee, the biscuit swim in coffee and I eat it with a spoon, sometime it drop into the coffee. The vanilla infused in the coffee and it tasted vanilla. I had brought these little treat to office, my colleague loves every piece, she dipping into coffee too. I like the soft texture of the biscuit, at least, I don’t need use all the strength to bite the biscuits.

  • 115g Butter, softened
  • 95g Caster sugar
  • 50g Brown sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 167g Plain flour
  • ½ tsp Table salt
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 3cm diameter circles onto the parchment paper to pipe the mixture onto the circle.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Sift the mixed flour into the egg, sugar and butter and then stir to combine.
  5. Scrap dough into a piping bag fitted with plain piping nozzle.
  6. Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Pipe the dough onto drawn circles. The biscuit will spread, but only little space is needed between each biscuit
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until biscuit are light golden brown. After removing it from the oven let it cool on the baking sheet before transfer onto the cooling rack. Store them in airtight container or jar.

Spaghetti Spice

IMG_0071Do you ever think of a simple ingredient to adding into your pasta and it gives a different dimension to your dish and everyone is asking about the secret recipe of the ingredients of it. Well, I got the answer for it! I picked it up from Nigella’s cookbook, I had tried it. Hmmm! It is a wonderful SOS to have  in your store cupboard, it only takes less than 2 minutes to get it done.

I find this is great and charming present, you can attached a label to the jar, with instructions for use, namely that for each 100g of spaghetti (uncooked weight), 2 teaspoons of the mix should be sprinkled into a tablespoonful of olive oil in the still-hot pan once the pasta’s drained, then the spaghetti should be tossed back in, along with 30ml to 60ml or 2 to 4 tablespoons of starchy cooking water.

As given precise weights below in an effort to be helpful, but basically you need to think of using – in weight not volume – 1 part dried parsley and garlic to 2 parts chilli flakes and 3 parts sea salt flakes. I know this sounds as if the chilli will dominate but remember that the chilli flakes weigh more, as it were, than the dried parsley, so that even though you have double the weight of chilli flakes, the volume of parsley is greater, it goes without saying – or ought to – that you should try to get the best-quality dried herbs that you can find.

Makes to fill 4 x 110ml or 4fl oz jars

  • 15g dried parsley
  • 15g garlic granules
  • 30g dried chilli flakes
  • 45g sea salt flakes
  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and then, when you’re happy everything’s thoroughly combined, fill your waiting containers, close tightly and attach instructions for use, if so desired.

Porcini & Chocolate Risotto

IMG_9614Typically chocolate always give you the impression of dessert, something that sweet. The Dutch chocolate company had imposed that image into everyone. However, this wonderful author had changed my impression toward chocolate forever, thanks to Willie Harcourt-Cooze.  I picked up one of his recipe and will love to give it a try, it may sound odd to add chocolate into savory. The flavour is really married well.  Here is the recipe for your adventure with cacao.

  • 100g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 250g Arborio rice
  • 1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp finely grated 100% cacao
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Place the porcini mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry over a gentle heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
  3. Stir in the butter until melted, then stir in the rice.
  4. Tip in the porcini mushroom, along with their soaking liquid. Bring to a gentle simmer, strring continuously, until all the soaking liquid has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of hot stock and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid has again been absorbed. Continue cooking, adding the stock and stirring in this way, until all the stock has been used up and the rice is plump and tender.
  5. Finally, stir in the cacao, season with salt and black pepper to taste and serve with grated Parmesan sprinkle over the top.


The most honest opinion about this apart from the strong bitter cacao that really wonderful with the note of earthy taste to it, likewise with the porcini mushroom. I do suggest to use a bit of thyme to garnish on top. It did settle both strong flavour because of the aromatic of the thyme. This kind of dish as is does look like Chinese porridge, I am wondering does all these food culture related once a upon a time? That will be very interesting subject to find out too.


Coffee catastrophe

You may think where have I been for the past few months, I was away from home for work, so I got no chance doing anything in the kitchen. I miss my kitchen so much! Since I’m not cooking for month I though I could share article I read or food I had tasted in Penang. This evening I flip back to old news paper dated 11 May 2015, this article were talking about coffee in thread. Article written by Sam Jones, Guardian News & Media.

Cultivation of the arabica coffee plants. staple of daily caffeine fixes and economic lifeline for millions of small farmers, is under threat from climate change as rising temperatures and new rainfall patterns limit the areas where it can be grown, researchers have warned.

Arabic, which has long been prized for its delicate and aromatic flavour, accounts for 70% of the global coffee market share. But it is particularly sensitive to temperature increases, which reduce its growth, flowering and fruiting and make it more susceptible to coffee pests.

With global temperatures forecast to increase by 2°C to 2.5°C over the next few decades, a report predicts that some of the major coffee producing countries will suffer serious losses, reducing supplies and driving up prices. The joint study, published by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) under the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), models the global suitability of arabica cultivation to see how production will be affected in 2050.

It predicts that Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia – which between them produce 65% of the global market share of arabica – will find themselves experiencing several losses unless steps are taken to change the genetics of the crops as well as the manner and areas in which it is grown.

Dr. Peter Lderach, a CCAFS climate change specialist and co-author of the report, said that although some countries would be able to mitigate the “massive impact” of climate change by simply moving their coffee to higher, cooler areas, it was not an option for everyone.

“If you look at the countries that will lose out most, they’re countries like El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honguras, which have steep hills and volcanoes,” he said. “As you move up, there’s less and less area. But if you look at some South American or east African countries, you have plateaus and lots of areas at higher altitudes, so they will lose much less.”

Without new strategies, says the study, Brazil alone can expect its current arabica production to drop 25% by 2050. “In Brazil, they produce coffee on the plains and don’t have any mountains so they can’t move up,” said Laderach. “What they would have to do is look for adaptation strategies. This study shows that we urgently need to start breeding new varieties and adapting growing practices, like putting in shade to decrease temperatures. But the problem in Brazil is it’s very mechanised and if you put trees there, they won’t be able to bring the machines in.” However, he said even those countries with higher altitudes were likely to find themselves struggling to make up for lost land because the needs of coffee cultivation would have to be weighed up against the preservation of forests and nature reserves. Although Indonesia, which is expected to see its arabica cultivation areas cut by up to 37%, could move production to higher areas, they tend to be home to indigenous communities and biodiverse environments.

“If you don’t have good, rigorous laws in place, people are just going to start chopping down the forest, which would then jeopardise all the downstream benefits that people receive, such as water and carbon sequestration,” said Laderach.

Coffee, the second-most traded commodity after oil, is grown by as estimated 25 million farmers in more than 60 tropical countries, making it a key source of revenue for many developing nations. Laderach said that failure to find new and better ways to grow arabica would have serious consequences for both human and the environment.

“If you look at Burundi or Uganda or Nicaragua, they depend very heavily on coffee, so they’d miss all that income for the development of their countries,” he said. “Environmentally, because it’s an agro-forestry system, it brings a lot of benefits like biodiversity and soil and water conservation, and erosion control.” Although developing hardier coffee strains, planting more grow other crops would help compensate for the losses wrought by climate change, said Laderach, there were no quick or easy solutions. “Breeding new varieties takes years. Coffee systems are not like arable crops, where this year you do beans and the next year do cassava,” he said

“It takes three to five years before you call even harvest coffee for the first time. It’s a long lead time, which is why we’re pointing out that it’s very crucial to start developing strategies now.” Laderach said the challenges ahead were so great that they demanded the combined efforts of farmers, scientists, governments and businesses. Another possibility is that arabica production could be shifted not upwards but further eastwards, to Africa, Asia and the Pacific. But while such a move could revolutionise the coffee industry, it is far from risk-free.

Dr. Tim Schilling, executive director of World Coffee Research, which is funded by the global coffee industry, has his doubts:”There’s competition for land among other cash crops in Indonesia and the Pacific, and it is unknown whether Africa could build the necessary capacity in terms of politics, business climate, supporting institutions and infrastructure.” Schilling believes technology may yet be the best bet for coffee growers, suppliers and drinkers. “For me, it all says brace yourselves for higher prices. The only glimmer on the horizon is the ability to change the coffee plant so that it produces decent coffee and yields under a climate-constrained environment.”