Climate Change’s Latest Victim: Coffee


Your daily cup (or cups) of coffee may be in trouble and climate change is to blame. Climate change is causing the amount of land suitable for coffee production to shrink. The outcome? Drinkers can expect poor-tasting and higher-costing brews.

greeningz - arabica beans

In the last 35 years, the amount of coffee consumption has doubled. The International Coffee Organization reports that consumption this year is well on its way to outpace production. This will the the third year in a row this has happened. Luckily, producers have been able to tap into stockpiles created from high production years. Therefore, coffee shortages and price hikes have been avoided, so far. The more suppliers need to dip into these supplies the more likely of a bean shortage.

However, researchers are more worried about the long-term effects. Ethiopia’s coffee is under extreme threat. Ethiopia is the largest African producer of the Arabica bean. Approximately 15 million Ethiopians depend on its growth to make a living. Climate change could soon negatively effect that. Since the 1970s, spring and summer rainfall has declined by 15-20%. The frequency of droughts has also increased in recent years. The severe weather patterns affect the coffee-bean growing areas of the country.

greeningz - coffee farm

A new study done by Nature Plants says Ethiopia could lose from 39-59% of its current coffee-growing areas to climate change by the end of the century. However, Ethiopia isn’t the only country at severe threat.

Brazil over the past few years has seen the worst drought since records began over 100 years ago. Scientist predict that a 3 degree celsius increase could result in potential production areas to decrease from 70-75% to 20-25%.

greeningz - Brazilian Coffee plantation

There may be hope as new technologies are being created to save the Arabica bean. The World Coffee Research Institute is working on a plant breeding program to combine the Arabica coffee with other DNA in hopes of increasing the plants’ diversity. Therefore, making it more resistant to climate change.