Global warming and the coffee bean
A recent report stated that the hottest ten years of weather have all been recorded since 2002 leading climate scientists to conclude that global warming is a real and present threat to the delicately balanced climate of planet earth. How will this change in weather patterns affect the coffee growers of the world?
Almost 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed every single day around the world and demand shows now signs of slowing down. In fact, it seems to be climbing ever higher annually. The perfect storm, however, comprising of extreme weather conditions, rising heat and pests that are resistant to pesticides means that time maybe running out for the farmers who grow Arabica beans in parts of the world.
Dr Tim Schilling from the World Coffee Research programme concluded that: “The rise in global temperatures is of great concern for us in the coffee industry because it will – and has already started – putting the supply of quality coffee at great risk.” If the current trend in upward rises in temperatures were to be applied to Brazil, the world’s biggest coffee producer, then a 3C rise would cut the area that could support coffee bean plantations by two thirds.
The coffee plants problems stem from its origins in the highlands of East Africa. In these cool mountainous areas, the plant found a stable environment and climate in which to grow. Any excess heat makes the plant grow quicker and leads to lower yields. Furthermore, it also leads to a change in the beans distinctive taste.
Then there is the danger posed by the berry borer beetle and leaf rust fungus that is destroying great swathes of plantations around the globe.