Coffee prices on the rise thanks to climate change

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Thanks to Christian Kadluba for the photo.
  • Thanks to Christian Kadluba for the photo.

Welp. I think we've all been waiting for something like this to happen, haven't we? Local gardeners could have told you this problem was on its way last summer, though, when some of their veggies failed to launch.

Oh, but hey: Climate change is a hippie myth ...

From The New York Times:

... the last few years, coffee yields have plummeted here and in many of Latin America’s other premier coffee regions as a result of rising temperatures and more intense and unpredictable rains, phenomena that many scientists link partly to global warming.

Coffee plants require the right mix of temperature, rainfall and spells of dryness for beans to ripen properly and maintain their taste. Coffee pests thrive in the warmer, wetter weather.

In 2006, Colombia produced more than 12 million 132-pound bags of coffee, and set a goal of 17 million for 2014. Last year the yield was nine million bags.

Brands like Maxwell, Yuban and Folgers have increased the retail prices of many grinds by 25 percent or more since the middle of last year in light of tight supply and higher wholesale prices.

Profits of high-end coffee chains like Starbucks and Green Mountain have been eroded. Coffee futures of Arabica, the high-end bean that comes predominantly from Latin America, have risen more than 85 percent since last June, to $2.95 a pound, partly over concerns about supply, extreme weather and future quality, said George Kopp, an analyst at the International Futures Group in Chicago.

Yet as stockpiles of some of the best coffee beans shrink, global demand is soaring as the rising middle classes of emerging economies like Brazil, India and China develop the coffee habit.

Read the entire article, by Elisabeth Rosenthal, here.

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