El Nino to heat up coffee prices

El Nino is fueling concerns for key coffee-producing countries, which might put pressure on the price of instant coffee and espressos prepared with robusta beans. 


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An El Nino that is expected to form in the next few months could cause widespread extreme weather events, disrupting local businesses, fish populations, and even your daily coffee fix. The approaching El Nino is generating fears that robusta beans in key coffee producers such as Vietnam and Indonesia could be harmed, resulting in skyrocketing prices. 

Robusta beans are recognised for their bitterness and greater acidity, and they contain more caffeine than their premium and more expensive arabica counterparts. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the main producers of robusta are Vietnam, Indonesia, and Brazil. 

The naturally occurring weather phenomenon disrupts typical rain and temperature patterns and, in some locations, can generate extreme circumstances such as drought or abnormally abundant rainfall. 

Weather changes caused by a global El Nino event can be harmful to the crops that provide the world’s coffee, many of which are cultivated in climate-change-affected areas. 

“It seems that the negative influences of El Nino are exacerbated by long-term climate change, which is of concern for coffee farmers and food security in general”, according to Aaron P. Davis, senior research leader of crops and global change at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 

This means that the price of instant coffee and espressos, which are frequently produced with robusta beans, could rise due to supply concerns and higher-than-usual demand for robusta as customers seek cheaper alternatives to arabica.

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