You can bet that if I don't have my Double Black Diamond Extra Bold tomorrow morning, I am writing me a letter to Congress. Guatemalans take their coffee just as seriously and have already gone to Def-Con 1 over coffee rust, which is affecting 70% of the country's crop.
Roya is a fungus that grows on the leaves of the coffee plant and that starves the beans. It's caused by too much rain, which is a recurring problem and always has been but coffee is big business now. In 1982, the world used 2.6 billion pounds of coffee beans but in 2011, that number was 17.6 billion pounds, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Meanwhile, a growing human population and heavy rains there have caused Colombian output to drop 36% in the last seven years.
Larger countries have embraced science and replaced legacy plants with fungus-resistant seedlings but the new plants will take about three years to replace the plants that are not producing now - devastating for a country reliant on it as a current cash crop. But weather remains hard to predict.
One way or another, it will work out. Some hysterical types are worried that because the industry has focused on one particular genetically modified strain, global warming might mean less coffee - that kind of stuff is why you shouldn't read Union of Concerned Scientists when it comes to science. Instead of leaving us with less coffee, science will come up with a better variety for whatever conditions exist. The arabica so popular now isn't from South America at all, it was an import. Its genetic ancestry is from Indonesia and Yemen. They were both just planted there because they were best suited to the climate that already existed. New climate, new coffee.
While doing some scare journalism about coffee is likely good for policy in the very short term, it is bad in the long and run and it is not what journalists should be doing if they want the public to trust journalists. Then again, science journalism mostly gave up long ago. You won't need to horde coffee regardless of what you hear and read. Image: Shutterstock.
Both Nestlé SA and Starbucks are doing research to expand plant genetics right now - that means the days of coffee are not over no matter what happens to local weather. Science can save us from running out of coffee just like it once saved us from running out of wild game and not enough berries to forage.
In the short term, it probably does mean those people addicted to coffee enemas are going to pay a lot more.
Read all about the health benefits of coffee here at Science 2.0 and about a researcher who consults all over the world in The Indiana Jones of Coffee by Miguel Bustillo and Solomon Moore at the Wall Street Journal
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- The Genetic History Of Ice Age Europe
- Exodus 2100: Due To Climate Change
- What Lies Beneath West Antarctica?
- Professor Frenkel: Why Shouldn't We Drop Algebra From Our Education System?
- Matter Can Potentially Accelerate The Expansion Of The Universe
- Three Earth-sized Planets Found Orbiting A Tiny Nearby Star
- Scientists Discover Oral Sex In Spiders
- "actually I prefer something real, not paper printed by a private entity, backed by full faith and..."
- "Hello Peter:I presume my readers are busy. I presume they have a mild degree of experience about..."
- "So keep your cash an watch the world come to an end . Cheap and selfish is the right way ..."
- "There is a tendency to label some as Global Warming Alarmists I think the warnings have been conservative..."
- "The guardian? You're funny :-) The CESM models only prove accurate with post-hoc data input corrections..."
- 3 Reasons Aerial Pesticides Are Not Causing Autism
- Most Stores Refuse E-Cigarette Sales to Minors
- Vitamin C Conundrum for the Organic Crowd
- Newsweek Journalist Loses His Mind, Time-Traveling Radioactivity And More Media Links
- This Single-Celled Organism Is Capable Of Learning
- Study Says Bilingual Kids’ Brains Are Smarter & Faster
- UC San Diego bioengineers create first online search engine for functional genomics data
- UK Health Check has only modest impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease
- Adult brain prunes branched connections of new neurons
- Five new breast cancer genes and range of mutations pave way for personalized treatment
- Quantum sensors for high-precision magnetometry of superconductors