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Could Coffee Growing Be at Risk Due to Climate Change?

Third Wave Coffee connoisseurs and coffee lovers around the world could be in for a harsh reality if things don’t change soon. Due to a rise in coffee consumption, coffee production around the world will need to increase by an additional 40-50 million bags within the next decade to meet demand according to industry professionals. That equates to more than the entire crop of coffee in Brazil—the world’s top producer.

Others in the industry are concerned with how climate changes will affect the ability to maintain production, let alone increase it. While Third Wave Coffee roasters like to purchase direct from farmers for fair prices, other coffee companies may offer much lower prices, which not only discourages farmers, but may make it impossible for them to produce larger crops. All of this was recently discussed in Milan at the Global Coffee Forum by coffee producers, industry representatives and government officials.

It was recently stated by a Switzerland-based industry professional that as of the 2015-2016 season (which recently started) the world was set to hit a deficit in coffee production of approximately 2.5 million bags. The year prior, we saw a global deficit in coffee of 6.4 million bags. As a result of a severe drought in 2014, Brazil’s most recent crop was highly affected—driving Arabica futures in New York up by 50%. Prices have dropped by 27% since the start of 2015 due to the plunge in Brazil’s currency compared with the dollar—increasing the appeal to export from the country.

Time will tell how we handle the potentially increasing deficit in coffee. One has to wonder whether Third Wave Coffee will grow more rapidly as a movement given the positive relationships Third Wave Coffee buyers form with their farmers, enabling them to produce better crops more consistently.

Thinking Cup is proud to expertly brew Stumptown, one of the most highly regarded Third Wave Coffee roasters in the U.S.

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