This is not a drill: We’re facing a coffee shortage

If you enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the morning (or, maybe, if you NEED it to function like a normal human being), listen up. There’s some bad news for coffee lovers on the horizon: Very soon, we likely will be facing a coffee shortage.

In a nutshell, coffee is amazing, and it turns out it’s so amazing that the world is drinking a whole lot of it — too much to produce at the rate we’re consuming. Demands for everyone’s favorite morning pick-me-up have skyrocketed — much because of China’s growing middle class, which has led to a 13.8% spike in coffee sales. In order to meet this demand, global production will have to rise by an extra 40 to 50 million bags within the next ten years, chairman and chief executive officer of Illycafe SpA Andrea Illy told Bloomberg. To give you an idea, that’s more than the entire crop of Brazil, the world’s leading grower and exporter of coffee beans. Gulp.

It doesn’t look like our consumption will be curbing anytime soon, either. Michael R. Neumann, chairman of the board of trustees at Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, said worldwide coffee consumption will increase by a third. Yep, that means 200 million bags by 2030, according to Bloomberg.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only issue the industry is facing. On top of our ridiculously massive consumption of coffee, climate change is making matters even worse. In Brazil, farmers may lose a quarter of their crops unless they adapt. Something extra frightening: The Arabica bean, which is very popular and used by Starbucks, is most likely to be affected by rising temperatures, according to The Independent.

“I visit farms quite often, and the farms are always going higher in the mountains, higher in the mountains,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestle SA’s Nespresso, according to Bloomberg. “Warming has a negative impact.”

Another problem? Prices for coffee are very low, which is a problem because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to convince farmers to grow beans. “Sooner or later, in months or years, we’ll have to make a bold decision about what to do,” Illy told Bloomberg. “We don’t know where this coffee will come from.”

We know, we know, it’s tough not to panic at the thought of not having coffee available every morning, but that’s exactly why experts, producers, and government officials are meeting to figure out this week at the Global Coffee Forum in Milan. Thursday starts the 2015-16 growing season, and we’re looking at a 3.5 million bag deficit — following a 6.4 million deficit last year, so at least it’s not so bad.

But just in case, might want to stockpile on your fave coffee now. KEEP CALM AND DRINK COFFEE, GUYS.

(Image via iStock.)


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