Caffeine Crisis: A world without coffee?

Mario Sammak

Staff Writer


Yes, you read that right. The drink that wakes up almost all students every morning, that helps them get through all nighters and 8am classes, and that has been in their hand throughout most of their university years, is possibly about to be gone forever.

The frappucino fanatics and cappuccino addicts might already be in a crisis state and may have already started stacking up stocks of their favorite drinks, but they’re not the only ones panicking. Over 50 percent of adults worldwide drink coffee on a regular basis, which is one of the main reasons for a shortage of supply in the coffee bean industry.

In 2014, the consumption of Arabica and Robusta beans, the two main species of coffee beans, was approximately 2 percent higher than the production. Although the number seems quite small, unfortunately the situation is expected to get worse and worse every year.

Indeed, according to a report made by the Climate Institute, in 2080, coffee will be a thing of the past. Climate change is having a great toll on the fields in countries like Indonesia and Brazil, as the quality yields are decreasing as temperatures rise.

Moreover, the fluctuations in temperature are also allowing for increased fungi to grow in coffee bean farms, which is reducing the amount of coffee that can be used. Researchers have also noted that the changes in temperature will affect the aroma and scent of coffee beans negatively.

That being said, another major factor contributing to the extinction of the beans is the business aspect of the industry. The increase in high-end coffee shops and cafés is creating a larger demand for good quality beans. However, such beans only grow in small quantities in very specific environments and should be treated as a rare luxury good, such as truffles.

Moreover, another issue is that although it may be difficult to produce, the price of a cup of coffee has barely changed in the past 10 years, but the amount of fancy coffee shops has doubled.

Today, there are more than 25,000 Starbucks branches worldwide and they are supplying high quality coffee at a standardized price, creating a production deficit between supply and demand.

This dilemma is causing many farmers to leave the industry and find a more profitable sector of agriculture, which puts even more pressure on the production. Does this mean students won’t be able to have their morning latte before getting through their long AUB days?

No, coffee will not be leaving the market any time soon, but prices will definitely be getting higher as the world continues to consume it at a higher rate than the production of Arabica and other quality beans.

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