How is climate change affecting your coffee?

No matter if you consider yourself an environmentalist or not, saving coffee from consequences of climate change should make you rethink your view. Because it may well happen, that in a couple of decades, your cup will either be empty or extremely expensive.

Climate change is already affecting our everyday lives in one way or another, but when someone tells us we might be facing extinction of our favourite beverage, that is where we should see the red alarm!

Researchers from London’s famous Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, have taken this matter very seriously and conducted a research in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia, the motherland of Arabica coffee.

Limited genetic material

There are two main coffee species used for commercial production. Robusta and Arabica (but as a coffee lover you’ve already knew that right). Robusta makes up around 30% of global coffee production, but due to its stronger and bitter taste, it is mainly used for low quality or instant coffee.

The Arabicas grown in coffee plantations around the world are not as robust as Robusta and they are already having a hard time to cope with occurring changes in our earth’s climate such as weather conditions, pests and diseases. They come from a limited genetic stock, which makes them more vulnerable as they are not so locally adapted.

The research was done for wild Arabica. Interestingly there was never a research conducted for any coffee and how it adapts to climate change, so this was the first project of such kind.

The results are not bright

The research about climate change adaptation of coffee plants have shown, that there is a very big chance that we will lose from 65% up to almost a 100% suitable locations for coffee growing until 2080 if the trend continues.

The numbers are staggering. Not only because our favourite drink might face extinction, but because humans are so widely affecting every part of the planet. Imagine that what you are doing right now, probably thousands of kilometres away from where your favourite coffee grows, might just be the cause, of that coffee extinction in a couple of decades.

Coffee plantations are usually located in high altitudes and away from major settlements, but yet it does not mean we are not affecting their survival.

What can I do?

First and foremost start mindfully enjoying your daily cup, so you will have nice memories, if it ever disappears from your life.

Secondly as I have said here many times, be a conscious consumer! There are many initiatives where you can buy organically produced coffee. Organic farming is one of the crucial adaptations for surviving in the future. If we treat the soil with pesticides and other chemicals, we are literally killing it. And a dead soil, means we can not produce food.

Look for special labels that stand for fairtrade, organic and also shade grown.  All these initiatives help local and regional communities to produce more quality coffee with less energy from other sources like electricity, oil, water.

For example, companies such as PURO Fairtrade coffee is associated with an environmental trust World Land Trust, that protects the rainforest by buying land and creating reserves and protected areas from every purchase you make. This way, you as a consumer can directly affect the future of the planet. Just by making the right choice.

Things sometimes seem complicated, but there are solutions available if we look for them.

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