By Tamsin Oxford
Global warming is definitely not a fictitious story told over a hot cup of coffee. Here are five reasons why climate change is hurting the coffee trade.
1. Higher Temperatures
Coffee is all about the area and the temperature – it needs specific climate zones to flourish and even the smallest shift in heat or cold can have a significant effect on the quality and yield of the beans. In some areas that are traditionally associated with superb coffee crops, there have been unusual shifts in temperature and this has led to crops failing. In Africa, it has been found that higher temperatures could see an almost 100 percent reduction in coffee-suitable climates by 2080, according to an article on PLOS One.
2. Instability and Cool Temperatures
To create the beans that create the coffee that tastes like something truly special, the coffee plant must live in a cool and stable climate. Once the temperature shifts, the metabolism of the plant has to adjust to the change and this leads to fewer products and a bitter flavor. For the distinctive bite of a delicious coffee, the coffee plant has to gather the right blend of volatile compounds and this cannot happen when the climate is in flux, according to an article in the Guardian.
3. Coffee can Rust
A fungus known as Hemileia Vastatrix or La Roya grows happily in warmer temperatures, and so it is flourishing in the heat of global warming. It is a fungus grows especially well on and around coffee plants. This disease got its name from the rust-like appearance on the leaves of the coffee plant. The coffee beans fall from the leaves early thanks to the impact of the fungus, which results in poor quality and flavor. This issue is also affecting the overall health of the coffee plant, making it vulnerable to other types of disease. The situation is so severe that Nicaragua saw a 60 percent loss in coffee yields in the 2012-2013 harvest, according to an article on the Conversation.
4. Pests Devour Coffee Plants
There are still more overarching impacts of climate change that is shifting the dynamic of the coffee plantation. The gradual rise of global temperature means that the borer beetle, an unknown pest in coffee havens like Ethiopia and Uganda, has moved home to the tasty leaves of the coffee plant. Forced up into the hills, this pest is causing around $500 million in damage every year, reported by the Guardian.
5. Extreme Weather Events
Fierce storms, extreme droughts, and devastating winds – these natural events are all part of the climate change and have an understandable impact on the coffee bean plantation. In 2014, said WorldCoffeeSearch.org, Brazil had such a severe drought that coffee beans became a pricey commodity. The price of a packet of coffee sharply increased and made that morning bag of emergency beans much more expensive.