This is very general question but I have read many articles stating the "extinction of coffee" but all are with very different perspectives.

This is discussion question, as this question doesn't have a straight forward answer. I will like to know the views and explanation behind it.

PS: I am coffee lover, I can't take the trauma of it being "gone"

  • I haven't heard this; sounds equally terrible as it is unlikely. Would you cite a couple of references? – hoc_age Feb 19 '17 at 20:42
  • Coffee will never go extinct. It may reach the stage where it becomes commercially unsustainable due to the increasing difficulty in growing Arabica due to climate change but there will still be countless places where it will be conserved. Not to mention how much more resilient Robusta is. – Shiri Feb 20 '17 at 9:52
  • Very interesting discussion point. I wonder though if it fits the Q/A format of this site? – Mayo Mar 3 '17 at 15:55

A web search for "coffee going extinct" finds many articles, e.g. in Business Insider, Aug. 30, 2016, A coffee shortage is looming — here's how soon it could be extinct.

the global coffee supply is currently at risk, with shortages already starting to affect the world.

half of the world's area that's deemed suitable for growing coffee will be lost by 2050 if climate change remains unchecked, according to a new report from The Climate Institute of Australia.

By 2080, the report estimates that wild coffee (which helps us find genetic varietals that might be more resistant to climate stress) could go extinct.

Temperature and heavy rain have helped a fungus called Coffee Leaf Rust spread through Central America and into South America, destroying crops. Pests like the Coffee Berry Borer are spreading for the same reasons.

Even a half a degree of temperature change can make a region that used to be a coffee gold mine unsuitable. Moving production to higher altitudes is not always feasible and can be especially difficult for the small farmers that make up 80-90% of coffee growers.

By 2050, half of currently suitable land will no longer be suitable, unless the world can limit warming to the 1.5-2 degree Celsius rise that was set as a goal at the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, and really, even 1.5 degrees is pushing it for most farmers.

From the report:

  • Over 120 million people in more than 70 countries rely on the coffee value chain for their livelihoods.
  • Many countries where coffee exports form a main plank of the economy are also amongst the most vulnerable to climate risk.
  • Crop adaptation strategies include developing more resilient production systems, diversifying crops, and shifting plantations upslope. The global trend, however, is towards intensification as producers seek to lift yields at the expense of more complex and carbon-rich landscapes. Ultimately, climate change is likely to push many producers out of coffee altogether.

Time Magazine, Nov. 16, 2012, Coffee Under Threat: How Wild Arabica Could Go Extinct.

Coffee grown on commercial plantations, like many other crops grown to produce high yields, lack genetic diversity — and are thus highly susceptible to disease. Wild Arabica, which makes up just 5% of Ethiopia’s coffee crop compared to other kinds of coffee, is thought to account for over 98% of the coffee bean’s gene pool and has an estimated value to the coffee industry of almost $1.5 billion per year.

If disease or climate change causes a die-off of commercially grown Arabica, it’d still be possible to re-engineer it from a wider genetic pool — which is why wild Arabica is so precious.

Also see BBC Magazine, May 24, 2015, Saving coffee from extinction.

The world might need to deploy climate engineering (CO2 removal or solar radiation management) in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the impact on food, water, and economic security.

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As well as chocolate and quality whisky, the price of coffee will tend to raise over the years. Mainly because of the enormous (and still partially unexploited) asian markets. Many asian cultures (for example the Japanese) are slowly adopting western behaviors such as drinking coffee in their breakfast. This will cause a great demand of coffee beans which, plus the raising temperatures and droughts that can severely reduce the productivity of the coffee plantations, can explain this phenomenon.

If this tendency keeps the same rhythm, coffee will probably become a luxury in 50 or 60 years.

This is just a socioeconomic point of view. This complex environments can be analyzed in many ways.

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