Shifting climate patterns may doom a beloved beverage

Uh oh. Shifting climate patterns just got serious. And way too close to home.

According to New Scientist, Arabica is the most widely grown type of coffee bean. And unfortunately, Arabica requires very precise growing conditions. It needs dry weather when buds are young. Then it needs wet weather to promote flowering.

But it’s been raining in Colombia almost non-stop for the past few years.

The result… Coffee yields have dropped to a 35-year low.

Other coffee-growing countries are also coping with weather changes and low yields. Higher average temperatures of just a degree or two can affect quantity AND quality of coffee beans.

Yikes! I do NOT want to live in a world without coffee. Of course, I’m not alone with this sentiment. New Scientist reports that coffee is the second-most traded commodity on earth, after oil.

This article reminded me of another article I saw last summer. Scientists have noted high levels of caffeine in seawater off the coast of Oregon. But apparently, this isn’t unusual. They’ve also found measureable caffeine levels in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, and on the Atlantic coast of the U.S.

Maybe it’s time for those scientists to get to work on extracting caffeine from seawater. You know, just in case this coffee problem becomes catastrophic.

“Coffee to go: Is this the end of our favourite drink?” Stephanie Pain, New Scientist, 1/9/13,
“Coffee at the beach” Mark Prigg, The Daily Mail, 7/20/12,

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