Alongside rising seas, rising temperatures, disappearing ecosystems and a plethora of other issues, grumpy coffee drinkers may soon be on the list of global warming impacts. Coffee yields are declining and coffee prices are rising and the main culprit appears to be global warming.
Arabica beans is one of the most popular coffee beans with the top exporter being Brazil, followed by Columbia. The cost of the bean has increased from last June by eighty-five percent. Major companies, such as Maxwell and Folgers, have increased their prices by twenty-five percent or more during the same timeframe.
As of 2006, the country of Columbia produced approximately 12 million 132-pound bags of coffee beans. However, since then the yield has significantly decreased. In 2010, the production in Columbia dropped to 9 million 132-pound bags. The culprit appears to be global warming, which is wreaking havoc on the coffee beans.
This does not come as a big surprise to coffee organizations worldwide, many predicted global warming would be a major issue for coffee growers worldwide. The International Coffee Organization in 2009 stated: “Climatic variability is the main factor responsible for changes in coffee yields all over the world.”
Temperatures have risen 1 degree in the last thirty years in the predominant coffee region of Columbia, with some regions rising nearly 2 degrees. In addition, there has been an increase in rainfall in the region as well, upwards of twenty-five percent more rain fell in recent years. The increased temperatures cause the crop to ripen too quickly or to kill the buds, while increasing rainfall brings issues such as increasing pests which also enjoy the warmer temperatures.
Nestor Riano, from Cenicafe, the national coffee research center in Columbia, stated: “Half a degree can make a big difference for coffee- it is adapted to a very specific zone. If temperature rises even a bit, the growth is affected, an the plagues and diseases rise.”
Such news will not bring smiles to the face of the millions of coffee drinkers in the United States and worldwide. Not only are prices a concern, but so is the existence of coffee itself. The Specialty Coffee Association of America stated: “It is not too far-fetched to begin questioning the very existence of specialty coffee.”