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Unaffordable Arabica

|Nov 20|magazine6 min read

That morning cup of alertness, conversation and Monday cure could soon become a distant luxurious memory.

Alarming gossip is beginning to spread in Australia, saying it may soon be time to begin preparing for the day that good coffee is either unaffordable or nonexistent.

Grasp your mug firmly and take in this theory:  price is being driven up and will continue to until the most prized Arabica bean becomes a luxury item, said Zak Stone, author of The End of Cheap Coffee: Why the Diner Staple Is About to Become a Luxury.

This cost is going up because of "weather events, pest and fungus outbreaks, speculation on commodities exchanges, an unstable labour market in the developing world, and an unprecedented thirst for good coffee among a growing global middle class." To add to these issues, the demand has increased, while the supply has decreased.



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The few areas with the plant that produces the much desired Arabica bean have been experiencing record rainfall, heatwaves and pest plagues. This is damaging for the fussy plant that relies on altitude, microclimate and consistent rain and dry spells to produce the Arabica bean. The climate increase has allowed “coffee rust” disease to invade favoured Colombian altitudes, while rains destroy blossoms before beans can be grown.

The last three years have shown a drop from 12 million bags to 7.8 million, the worst in Colombia in 33 years. Globally, stockpiles are also close to record lows.

Australians, we are approaching “peak coffee.” Sip your bold delicacy slowly, enjoying the Arabica aroma while you can.