Coffee Variety Catalog

Alongside the fine folks at World Coffee Research, we’re happy to announce the launch of the Coffee Variety Catalog! This digital catalog is a very important tool for addressing the worldwide coffee genetic diversity crisis. 🌱

The Variety Catalog was an awesome opportunity, and a serious challenge. The resulting web-based tool is the first of its kind, setting a precedent for how genetics research can be published and accessed by farmers and industry persons, alike.

WCR initially approached us with a concept for two related projects— 1) a website to showcase some basic information about their catalogued varieties, and 2) a printed document to distribute to farmers. The printed document, which would partially overlap in content with the website, needed to be maintained in English and Spanish.

We had a hunch, though, that we could produce one tool that would satisfy both goals: a lightweight web application that could also generate printable documents.

The first step was to give their data a new home. We built a set of intake forms in Kirby, mimicking the structure of their existing varietal data. Kirby’s localization support (for both its administrative interface and managed content) enabled us to include fine-grain translations of key quantitative labels and descriptions, as well as qualitative and narrative information.

Around that architecture, we were able to rapidly build the site’s front-end and print-specific stylesheets. Web users can find varieties suitable for specified growing conditions, and administrators can build custom catalogs for printing.

In parallel to the individual varieties, the site houses a hierarchical heritage taxonomy. From this data, we’re able to dynamically generate a circle-packing diagram showing the genetic relationships between varieties, using D3.js.

Even with the additional front- and back-end complexity, we were able to launch on time and on budget.