The price of a cup of coffee keeps rising but we continue to enjoy our morning eye-opener more than ever before. Coffee drinkers are so addicted that consumption is unlikely to be hurt much, however as the Planet’s temperature rises and droughts intensify, good coffee will become harder to grow and more expensive to buy.
On a global level, the coffee market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.5 per cent between 2020 and 2025. Europe is the world’s largest coffee market accounting for 34 per cent of the global coffee consumption. In the top 10 coffee-consuming nations (per capita) there is only one non-European country. Finland is the biggest consumer of coffee globally, as an average Finn drinks nearly four cups of coffee a day.
Although the short-term consequences of the pandemic with lockdowns and social distancing measures have been drastic, especially for out-of-home consumption, consumer demand for coffee shows no signs of disappearing. Some surveys showed that people working from home office even increased their consumption as they tend to take more breaks.
However, as our addiction to coffee climbs to a record high, there are some serious concerns about the sustainability of this trend. An analysis of coffee markets prepared by data analyst firm OEC looked at how coffee production is affected by climate change – and how our tastes about coffee may change as a result. The results suggest that as temperatures rise and droughts intensify, good coffee will become increasingly difficult to grow and expensive to buy.
Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world. Two species, Robusta and Arabica dominate global trade. Robusta is the bitter one, used for instant coffee and espresso and has been traditionally viewed as inferior to Arabica which tends to have a smoother, sweeter taste and accounts for 70 per cent of the world coffee market due to its higher beverage quality. Robusta grows in hotter temperatures, however, the future doesn’t look so bright for Arabica as climate change studies suggest a 50 per cent reduction in the area suitable for its production by 2050.
Brazil grows 28 per cent of the world’s Robusta crop and 41 per cent of Arabica. According to the US Department of Agriculture database, Brazil’s Arabica production is expected to drop by 30 per cent this year, while Robusta will grow by 5 per cent.
“Robusta’s fruit has more caffeine, and that’s what we might need now,” says the analysis adding that climatically, Robusta might save our morning coffee.
Prices for Arabica beans were up 50 per cent in the past 12 months – Bloomberg reported – hitting seven-year highs in July after drought and frost-damaged crops in Brazil.
Coffee is one of the main crops affected by climate change. Prolonged droughts, rising temperatures, biodiversity losses, heavy rains and disease outbreaks all impact raw coffee prices. Price-sensitive consumers may cut back on costs by consuming more coffee at home but it seems like coffee has become such a crucial part of our daily routines that it would take a lot to change these habits.