Will there be a shortage of coffee?

by | Apr 14, 2017 | coffee | 0 comments

Brown’s Coffee Scholarship

Winning essay from April 2017

Author: Matthew J. of Chicago, IL

Will there be a shortage of coffee?

Coffee is valued all over the world. People trust it for its rich taste, its stimulating properties and its versatility. The styles of coffee vary, from bold and strong Italian espresso to North American “double double” to Brazilian coffee (which contains dissolved sugar) and so on. In the digital age, people are experimenting with coffee recipes or finding new ways to enjoy it at local cafes.

So what would we all do without it? Will there be a shortage of coffee that makes it difficult to enjoy our morning cups… and our usual college all day and night? Do we have to pay even more money to get our coffee fix in the future?

Today we will share facts that will help answer this important question.

Robusta coffee beans crops

According to a story published in the London Financial Times (online version), one of the world’s most widely used coffee beans, the robust bean, known for its affordable price, is currently in short supply! This is the third year in a row that the supplies of this particular type of coffee beans have declined due to shaky crops.

At present, robusta coffee beans are produced in the same quantities as they were in 2012, and these statistics show a large decline in production. According to the International Coffee Organization, a shortage of 60 kilos bags of coffee is expected to begin in October, based on a declining product level.

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While the production of arabica beans remains strong, arabica beans cost more and not everyone can afford them. Since robusta crops do not thrive as before, there may well be a shortage of coffee in the foreseeable future, at least for those who rely on affordable, robusta-based ground coffee (or whole robusta beans).

When one type of coffee beans is not available, people will naturally turn to other types of coffee beans. This will increase the demand for alternative types of coffee beans and may also trigger a shortage of these coffee beans.

Does climate change affect coffee crops?

The Union of Concerned Scientists reported that climate change is certainly making it harder for coffee crops to thrive in all major coffee-producing regions. Climate change is driving up temperatures, and droughts last longer today. In addition, rainfall is more intense, pests are more likely to survive, and damaged crops and plant diseases are widespread.

All of these factors are linked to the devastating effects of climate change.

Even small temperature rises endanger the coffee crops. For example, a temperature rise of only half a degree may be enough to damage production. This is one of the reasons why coffee production has fallen over the last fifteen years due to climate change.

If you’ve noticed famous ground coffee products, including blends from Folgers and Maxwell House, rising in price over the years, it’s not just due to inflation. In fact, it is strongly linked to the impact of climate change on coffee bean crops.

Is the demand for coffee increasing?

Global demand for coffee beans is definitely rising. In fact, consumption in 2017 is expected to be 1.2 percent higher than it was last year. In America and other parts of the world, such as India, China and Japan, the demand for coffee is going through the roof. People can not get enough of coffee beans, and this rising demand combined with less supply may lead to even higher prices of coffee beans in the future.

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When demand dramatically exceeds supply, prices inevitably rise.

How will people cope?

Droughts in coffee-producing countries, such as Brazil, take their toll on coffee production. Demand is also rising because millennia are discovering coffee and committing to it! Many different variables can increase the price of coffee in the future. So how will people cope?

Basically, those accustomed to cheaper coffee beans may have to agree to pay “Starbucks” prices for expensive beans that deliver larger ones. Paying more is not something that anyone will enjoy, but it is not the end of the world either. Robusta beans cost less because they have a bitter edge in terms of flavor compared to arabica beans, which are valued for their smoothness.

It is possible that people enjoy better coffee if they have to turn to more expensive arabica beans due to the impending coffee shortage. They may raise their palates, but their budgets get a hit.

People have been through worse things. However, the potential shortage of coffee is not good news. It will affect many people and not just those who love to drink coffee. It will also affect local coffee shops if owners are likely to pay more for the coffee drinks they offer. It will also hurt brands that produce coffee and coffee-related products. Everyone will feel the burning. Hopefully, initiatives designed to reverse climate change, such as the UNESCO Climate Change Initiative, will help turn things around environmentally, so that coffee crops thrive more in the future.

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Will there be a shortage of coffee?”, Are you ready to store now if you want. Coffee beans can actually be frozen, although some purists think they should not be. They also remain quite fresh for extended periods when stored, not frozen, in airtight containers. Whether you freeze the beans or not, they should always be stored in containers that do not let in light, air and moisture.

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