As if the daily torrent of climate change news isn’t grim enough, here’s another to start your day: global warming is affecting the quality of your morning cup of joe.
Computer simulations by researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that the acreage suitable for high-quality specialty coffee in Ethiopia will likely shrink if climate change continues unchecked. Ethiopia is the largest coffee-producing nation in Africa.
The renowned Yirgacheffe, one of the world’s oldest and most sought-after coffee varieties grown in southwestern Ethiopia, could lose more than 40% of its suitable cultivation area by the end of the century under the worst-case scenario.
The researchers looked at a total of 19 climatic factors, including mean temperature, annual rainfall and seasonality, and how they affect the cultivation of five distinct specialty coffee types. A warmer climate means the coffee cherry will mature faster than the development of the bean, leading to coffee that is lower in quality.
There is some consolation if you’re not fussy about your coffee. Climate change may actually increase the area that is suitable for average quality coffee.