Will Global Warming Ruin Good Coffee?



Climate Change Threatens The Cost Per Cup Of Your Favourite Beverage

Environmental changes are creating havoc in the coffee growing regions of Ethiopia, Vietnam and Brazil. What impact will this have on coffee consumers?

Coffee lovers all over the globe may be in for a nasty shock in the coming years, as it seems that climate change is affecting supply in the industry. Unfortunately, a warming climate means that countries such as Ethiopia, who are one of the world’s top coffee producers, will experience as much as a 4C temperature rise by the end of the century. The effects of such environmental change are already apparent as the lands available to grow coffee are shrinking rapidly.

Coffee Regions Experiencing Droughts

It is not just Ethiopia that is affected, countries such as Brazil and Vietnam which are two of the world’s largest coffee producers are also experiencing extreme weather conditions. Brazil has been subjected to three years of rainfall at lower levels than usual, which affects the growth of the coffee bean and leaves farmers with simply nothing to pick. The Brazilian government even discussed the possibility of importing coffee beans, although these plans have since been halted.

The Effects On The Coffee Industry

So, what is the impact of global warming on the coffee industry from a consumer point of view? Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, which can be enjoyed in a huge variety of ways. Whether you prefer to grind your beans at home, pay for a cream-topped coffee in a chain outlet, or even like to try a refreshing cold iced brew in the heat of summer from a mobile coffee bar rental, there’s no doubt that coffee consumption is not going out of fashion any time soon. In the UK alone, there are estimated to be around 22,846 coffee outlets which delivered a turnover of £8.9 billion in 2016. Yet, due to climate change forcing demand to outstrip coffee supply on a global level, coffee shop customers can expect to have to pay higher prices for lower quality coffee in the near future.

The Fall Of The Arabica Coffee Bean

If you look at the production of Arabica coffee, it is estimated that by 2050 the land which is available to grow this particular type of bean will have decreased by 48% in Central America, 60% in Brazil and 70% in South East Asia.

According to the International Coffee Organization, past years of excellent production have created a large stockpile of coffee. This means that even with the demand and supply problems, there have not yet been any official coffee shortages, nor any need for price hikes. Manufacturers are simply dipping into the stockpiles when it comes to exporting their coffee. However, this excess won’t last forever, and with consumption being predicted to outstrip production for a third consecutive year, this will leave stocks at low levels.

Looking To The Future

One aspect of climate change that does appear to be helping coffee production is the impact of deforestation. Although this subject is contentious to environmental enthusiasts, it does appear that some large deforested areas can be used as coffee growing lands and record harvests are reportedly being produced as a result. Whether or not climate change will affect your coffee quality and cost per cup is yet to be seen in reality, but it does appear that the industry is heavily impacted by the environment.