As a coffee lover, its no secret that I will consume a cup of coffee (or two) everyday. So you can imagine my reaction when I found out there’s currently a huge shortage of our beloved coffee beans. You must be asking yourself questions like, how did this shortage occur? What does this mean for us coffee consumers?

Why is it important to encourage our local coffee shops more than ever now?

Coffee connoisseur or not, you’ve probably heard of Arabica coffee beans before at least at one point in your life. In fact, Arabica coffee beans account for 75% of the world’s coffee output and Brazil is responsible for supplying and cultivating approximately 40% of the total world’s output. Columbia also supplies large amounts as well. After experiencing little to no rain causing a severe drought followed by extreme cold weather, in late July, Brazil experienced a frost resulting in one the worst harvest in decades. Coffee production is expected to continue to decline as most of the crops were damaged, some more than others, resulting in some plantations needing to plant new crops that will take years to mature.

For the sustainability you don’t yet know.

What’s going on in the coffee industry and why we must continue to support our local coffee shops

Written by Victoria Paul

2022-02-04

As a coffee lover, its no secret that I will consume a cup of coffee (or two) everyday. So you can imagine my reaction when I found out there’s currently a huge shortage of our beloved coffee beans. You must be asking yourself questions like, how did this shortage occur? What does this mean for us coffee consumers?

Why is it important to encourage our local coffee shops more than ever now?

Coffee connoisseur or not, you’ve probably heard of Arabica coffee beans before at least at one point in your life. In fact, Arabica coffee beans account for 75% of the world’s coffee output and Brazil is responsible for supplying and cultivating approximately 40% of the total world’s output. Columbia also supplies large amounts as well. After experiencing little to no rain causing a severe drought followed by extreme cold weather, in late July, Brazil experienced a frost resulting in one the worst harvest in decades. Coffee production is expected to continue to decline as most of the crops were damaged, some more than others, resulting in some plantations needing to plant new crops that will take years to mature.

Meanwhile, Colombian coffee farmers did not deliver the agreed amount (1 million bags of coffee) this year. Their total production was reduced by about 10% which led to exporters, traders and roasters suffering significant losses and forced to sell limited inventories at higher prices. Such event has resulted in the price of arabica coffee beans to increase by approximately 200% from $1.20 per pound to $2.5 per pound since the beginning of 2021.

While the drought and frost are important factors that have resulted in this shortage, this shines a light on the global warming and how it affects our global commodities. Since the coffee plant is a tropical crop, it doesn’t respond well to temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius (5 C) and temperatures below zero are lethal to the plant as ice crystals form in the plant’s cell, destroying the flower buds. These sudden extreme differences in the temperature are in fact, a consequences of global warming. Weather patterns and these significant changes in the weather have serious side effects on crops.

Is global warming the only one to blame?

One issue the pandemic has really exposed over the last two years is the lack of fluency and efficiency in the global supply chain resulting in a shortage of cargo to ship coffee around the world. This has also affected coffee prices, as port congestion and other shipping issues have locked goods in transit. The average global price to ship a 40-foot container is now almost three times what it was in early 2021 and ten times higher than it was before the pandemic, significantly increasing shipping costs thus resulting in the increase in overhead costs that has directly affected the price of your cup of coffee to increase.

What does this shortage mean for us coffee consumers and why should we support small local coffee shops rather than big chains?

We will expect a rise in prices of the coffee, no surprise there, however, what’s important to understand is due to their immense buying power, big companies such as Starbucks and Nestle have been able to secure large reserves of coffee and will be able to delay their price increases for another year. On the other hand, smaller independent roasters don’t have the financial ability to allow themselves to do that and thus, small local coffee shops are feeling pressured to increase their prices in order to continue to operate. Therefore, it’s important for us consumers to keep supporting our fave local sustainable coffee shops during these challenging circumstances. You can visit the link here to understand the importance of supporting your local coffee shops as well a list of coffee shops to consider. Our local coffee shops need us more than ever for so many reasons. So next time you go on your Hot Girl Walk, make sure to grab a cup of coffee from your local shop rather than your go-to Starbies order. Let’s keep encouraging our local shops just like they’re always there to encourage us by providing our liquid motivation for the day.

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