How Expensive Will Arabica Coffee Be?

The price of coffee has gone up significantly. Commodities, in general, are up due to Covid-era inflation but coffee has outpaced them all and sits at a ten-year high as noted in Fortune. While both Arabica and Robusta coffee futures are up significantly, Arabica has outpaced its higher-caffeine cousin in the race of coffee prices to the top. The issue of expensive Arabica coffee is not confined to this year and the era of Covid-19. Climatic changes will effect coffee production and prices into the far future. How expensive will coffee be going forward?

Why Has the Price of Coffee Gone Up This Year?

The global coffee supply chain mess has been part of the picture so have higher labor and energy prices that effect costs from the farm all the way to your breakfast table. On top of that there is a drought in Brazil, the big dog in the coffee-producing world. While Vietnam exports a bit more Robusta than Brazil and Colombia exports more Arabica coffee, Brazil comes in a close second in both while Vietnam does not produce Arabica and Colombia does not grow anything but Arabica. Thus, Brazil is the largest coffee producer and exporter in the world by a long shot. The global coffee “deficit” due to Brazil’s drought is about 5.2 million bags (70 kg bags).

Why Will the Price of Arabica Coffee Keep Going Up Year by Year?

Back in the summer of 2021 we wrote about climate change and coffee production. As we noted in that article, the steady increase in temperatures has forced coffee farmers to grow their highest-quality Arabica coffees at higher and higher altitudes to avoid infestations of coffee leaf rust and pests like the coffee borer beetle. Because mountains get narrower as you approach the top, coffee farmers in regions like Colombia will have less and less land on which to plant their highest quality coffee over the years. Their alternatives for lower-lying cropland will be, in many areas, to switch to Robusta or other varieties that do better in heat, are more resistant to leaf rust and other diseases, and allow them to continue to farm to make a living.

What Is Pink Bourbon Coffee - Nevado del Huila
Nevado del Huila – Tallest Volcano in Colombia

Will New Coffee Varieties Help Keep Coffee Prices Down?

Colombia started working on leaf rust resistant coffee nearly 50 years ago and has developed several crosses between standard Arabica coffee and leaf rust resistant strains from Timor in the East Indies. Caturra is one that is grown extensively in the lower altitudes of the Colombia coffee growing region (3,000 to 5,000 feet). If the Colombian Coffee Growers Association plant scientists pull off a miracle, they may be able to keep growing high quality Arabica coffee at all altitudes. If not, the supply of Arabica from the largest Arabica producer, Colombia, will gradually be reduced. The law of supply and demand will exert itself and the price of the best quality coffee will gradually climb, year by year. The overall price for much of the coffee that people drink may not go up so much because people will be drinking more Robusta and similar varieties with more caffeine, less flavor, less aroma, and more-affordable prices.

How Expensive Will Arabica Coffee Be? – Slideshare Version

Drink Coffee and Live Longer

We drink coffee because we like it. Coffee helps us wake up in the morning and helps keep us awake and alert as the day presses on. It may come as a surprise to many people that coffee has a host of other benefits that result in a longer life as well. You can drink coffee and live longer because coffee reduces the risk of type II diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, heart attacks, and colon cancer. And, coffee drinkers have a lower risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases,

How Much Coffee Is Good for You?

Evidence from various studies indicates that the beneficial effects of drinking coffee keep increasing up to about six cups a day. After that you just get the jitters, the possibility of raising your blood pressure, and gastritis from all of that caffeine. From one to six cups it appears that the benefits of drinking coffee go up in a linear fashion. To the extent that coffee does give you the shakes or drive up your blood pressure, you can still get some of the benefits with a cup or two a day and do not need to drink six. And, because the benefits from drinking coffee come primarily from the antioxidants, decaffeinated coffee provides the same general benefits in most cases as normal coffee.

Why Can You Drink Coffee and Live Longer?

The reason you can drink coffee and live longer is that coffee contains antioxidants.

The American Institute for Cancer Research says that coffee contains the following antioxidants, chlorogenic acid, quinic acid, kahweo and Cafestol compounds, and n-metylpyridium which is produced when coffee is roasted.

Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit cell damage and cell death in human cells caused by oxidative breakdown of other molecules. Oxidation is a factor in sickness and aging.  Antioxidants in coffee do the same things chemically as other antioxidants in your food.

Antioxidants help avoid the damage caused by too much oxidation and to a degree slow the aging process. When an oxidative reaction caused by disease gets going it produces free radicals that start the chain reactions which in turn cause cell and tissue damage. The human body has and uses antioxidants to control this situation. Natural means of controlling oxidation include vitamins C and E and glutathione. Low levels of antioxidants lead to a condition referred to as oxidative stress and resultant damage to cells in the body. This breakdown product of trigonelline has been found to increase activity of phase II enzymes. Doctors believe that these enzymes protect against colon cancer, which is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the USA.

The bottom line is that you can drink coffee and live longer while you enjoy your delicious coffee from Colombia. If you want better tasting coffee with better aroma and coffee that helps you live longer, buy Arabica coffee instead of Robusta and get a high antioxidant level in your coffee instead of lots of caffeine.  If you would like a few sample packets from Colombia, contact us for instructions.

How Does Drinking Coffee Prevent Type II Diabetes

Drink Coffee and Live Longer – Slideshare Version

Coffee and Stroke

Over the years evidence has accumulated for many beneficial health effects of drinking coffee. Drinking coffee reduces the risk of type II diabetes. Drinking coffee also reduces the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. From helping with liver problems to improving athletic performance and even making sex better, a good cup of coffee is a great addition to our lives. Now investigations regarding coffee and stoke indicate that coffee is helpful in this arena as well.

Dementia and Stroke

According to the World Health Organization more than 55 million people suffer from dementia. It is the seventh leading cause of mortality across the globe. Dementia is a catch all for the generalized decline in mental function seen primarily in older people. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. In the USA stroke is the leading cause of death with more than 795,000 having strokes each year. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or ruptures. This deprives brain tissue of blood supply and that tissue dies.

How are Dementia and Stroke Related?

The two share sixty percent of the same risk factors as well as factors that prevent each of them. Having a stroke greatly increases the risk of dementia and researchers estimate that if all strokes were prevented that the incidence of dementia would go down by a third. When looking at ways to prevent strokes researchers look at many factors including lifestyle and one lifestyle factor is drinking coffee or tea. Because so many people drink these beverages any effect they have will be widely felt.

Cup of Java
Two to Three Cups a Day Reduces Incidence
of Strokes and Dementia

Can Coffee Prevent a Stroke?

Previously it has been shown that people who drink coffee or tea have a reduced risk of dementia compared to those who do not drink these beverages but there was little evidence relating to stroke. Thus the researchers looked at consumption of coffee, tea, or both as factors relating to incidence of stroke. They looked at the U.K. Biobank which contains health data for half a million people in the United Kingdom. They selected 365,682 participants chosen between 2006 and 2010 and followed their medical records until 2020.

Enrollees in the study reported how much coffee and tea they drank each day and the researchers looked at how many enrollees had a stroke and/or developed dementia during the period of the study. Using statistical analysis tools they accounted for things that would confuse the study such as smoking, alcohol use, diabetes, and other conditions.

Coffee and Tea Drinking Reduce the Incidence of Both Dementia and Stroke

During the course of the study 5,079 people were diagnosed with dementia and 10,053 with at least one stroke. When researchers looked at levels of coffee and tea consumption with those studied, they found that the lowest risks of both dementia and stroke were found in those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day, three  to five cups of tea a day, or four to six cups of tea and coffee a day. The coffee and tea group (two to three cups of coffee or two to three cups of tea) were 32% less likely to have had a stroke and 28% less likely to have developed dementia.

Coffee and Stroke – Slideshare Version

Why the Soil Is So Fertile Where They Grow Colombian Coffee

The “ocean of jungle” that still exists in parts of the Colombian coffee growing region is similar to what is seen in Hawaii or on the sides of Mt. Fuji in Japan. This lush growth is the result of volcanic activity. This is why the soil is so fertile where they grow Colombian coffee. Although volcanic eruptions can be hugely destructive they leave behind soil rich in nutrients that support healthy plant growth. The lava that flows intermittently from a volcano creates new land but the ash that can fall over hundreds of square miles is a constant source of nutrients. This is the case with Nevado Del Ruiz, the 15,500 foot volcano located 35 miles Southwest of Manizales, Colombia along the Colombian Northern Volcanic Front.

Nevado Del Ruiz Volcano Constantly Fertilizes the Colombian Coffee Growing District

Nevado Del Ruiz is a very broad volcano, capped by glaciers and extensive snow fields. There is evidence of it erupting going back 8,600 years and eruptions have been observed since 1570. This volcano was responsible for the greatest loss of life from a volcano in the history of Latin America when its 1985 eruption melted the dome of snow and ice. The resulting slurry of mud and ash inundated the towns of Amaro and Chinchina killing more than 20,000 people. Chinchina today is a thriving region for growing coffee and the town has come back. Amaro never rebuilt but coffee production on the regrown region is spectacular. Residents of Manizales routinely need to dust off their cars parked in the street and their balconies when the wind from the Southwest brings volcanic ash. This ash constantly fertilizes the departments of Caldas and Tolima.

Constituents of Colombian Volcanic Soil

Volcanic soil is in a soil category called anisols and can be derived from both lava and ash. This soil is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon and many other trace elements. When this kind of soil receives ample precipitation such as occurs across the coffee growing regions of Western Colombia it provides an ideal soil for growing virtually anything and especially an ideal soil for growing great Arabica coffee.

Continuing Activity of Nevado Del Ruiz

Nevado del Ruiz is in the news again due to increased emissions of ash. This is not really news in Manizales where “ Los Nevados” the several snow covered volcanos to the Southwest as well as the rest of the Northern Colombian Volcanic Front are a fact of life. Ever since the 1985 eruption and huge loss of life Colombia has diligently monitored the volcano and others. Meanwhile, Nevado Del Ruiz continues to fertilize the region of Western Colombia where they grow some of the best coffee in the world.

Colombian Northern Volcanic Front
Colombian Northern Volcanic Front

Caldera of Nevado Del Ruiz
Caldera and Snow-Covered Summit of Nevado del Ruiz

Rainfall Is Important for Volcanic Soil in Colombia

There are volcanic regions of the world that are barren. This is because they receive no rainfall. The rich nutrients in volcanic lava and ash are typically too strong and will diminish plant growth if there is not enough water. Manizales, the capital of the department of Caldas receives anywhere from five to nine inches of rain a month. Farther West near Buenaventura the annual rainfall is more than double that.

The bottom line is that Western Colombia is one of the most fertile regions in the world with high mountains that receive ample rainfall making it one of the best places on earth to grow coffee.

Why the Soil Is So Fertile Where They Grow Colombian Coffee – Slideshare Version

Coffee Supply Chain Nightmare

The price of coffee has gone up a bit on the NYMEX due to a predicted shortfall in Brazil’s coffee crop. But, the price that you pay for coffee is going up even more due to a coffee supply chain nightmare that is affecting global shipping on all goods. Bloomberg writes about freight snags driving shipping rates to astronomical levels. Coffee inventories in the USA are down and going lower as a global shipping container shortage has affected virtually all shipments of food and beverages.

Coffee Stockpiles in USA at a Six-Year Low

Coffee wholesalers in the USA are selling their reserve inventory. As the global supply chain disruption continues there is little hope for an early replenishment of coffee supplies. As the law of supply and demand asserts itself, US wholesale and resale prices are rising in excess of what would have been caused by the drought and reduced coffee crop in Brazil, the biggest producer and exporter. Meanwhile, demand for coffee has gone back up which, in turn, has served to drive prices higher.

Demonstrations Tie Up Coffee Shipping from Colombian Ports

Colombia dealt with the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic by ordering a virtual shutdown of society. To make sure that people did not starve to death the government delivered food door to door in the barrios. The combination of spending by the government and reduced tax income because of businesses shutting down has hurt Colombia’s credit rating and driven the peso to all-time lows. In an attempt to get back to a positive fiscal balance the government promoted measures like reducing the already-low monthly minimum wage and putting taxes on foodstuffs like rice and beans. The result was months of street demonstrations and blockage of major highways both of which slowed commerce to a virtual halt. The demonstrations spread to the two major ports of Cartagena on the Caribbean and Buenaventura on the Pacific. Thus, Colombia has shipping issues in excess of the shortage of shipping containers and global supply chain slowdown.

Coffee Supply Chain Nightmare

Coffee Shipping Costs

The cost of the cup of coffee you drink at breakfast or pick up from your favorite coffee shop on the way to work is driven by the cost of the green coffee beans at the source, shipping costs to the roaster, roasting and roaster profit, and retailer or coffee shop markup. Inflation is asserting itself as the economy comes out of the Covid recession so prices are up across the board. But, right now, the biggest uptick in prices is coming from the cost of shipping your coffee from anywhere in the coffee belt to warehouses in the USA, Europe, Japan, and everywhere else where coffee is consumed. At this moment the movement of shipping containers across the world has hit numerous bottlenecks and that has made timely shipping or shipping at all impossible from some locations. While there are around six million shipping containers in transit across the world at any given time, there are not enough in the right places and at the right times to keep prices down and keep the coffee supply chain from the current nightmare.

Coffee shipping costs have doubled and tripled in some instances. At Buy Organic Coffee we continue to provide coffee direct from Colombia albeit at a higher cost, not because the coffee farmer charges more but because of supply chain problems.

Coffee Supply Chain Nightmare – Slideshare Version

Best Coffee for the Best Price

For the best coffee flavor and aroma your best choice is Arabica coffee, whole bean, and freshly ground. Robusta gives you more caffeine but does not have the taste of a good Arabica from Colombia. Fresh is always better too. Green coffee retains its freshness for up to three years. Whole bean coffee retains its freshness for up to six months. And, ground coffee starts to lose its freshness, flavor, and aroma as soon as it is exposed to the air. Once you have these issues covered, coffee of higher quality is better than lower quality but generally costs more. With this thought in mind, what is the best coffee for the best price and how much flavor improvement do you get for each dollar spent.

The Most Expensive Coffee in the USA

A few years ago we looked at expensive coffees including Gesha coffee from Panama. People who are interested in Third Wave coffees where they know precisely where and under which conditions the coffee is grown are happy to pay more for the experience. However, at an auction shortly before we wrote the article, a bag of Gesha coffee from Panama sold for $350 a pound. If you are buying this coffee in your local coffee shop you will not be paying $350 for a cup of coffee but may be paying $30 instead of $5 for a great cup of coffee. However, if you buy coffee directly from Colombia through Buy Organic Coffee you can pay a few dollars for a bag of whole bean roasted coffee that could easily sell for $50 in a coffee shop in the USA.

Coffee Direct from Colombia
Coffee from Colombia

How Much a Pound Do You Want to Pay for the Best Coffee?

Putting aside from the snob value of drinking an expensive cup of coffee, what is a great cup of coffee worth? The success of Starbucks and other coffee shops proves that people are willing to pay more for a good cup of coffee. The fact that Starbucks can only charge so much for their fanciest latte also shows that there is always a limit to how much their customers are willing to pay for higher quality coffee. In one of our articles about coffee from Colombia we offered to buy Colombian “store bought” Arabica coffee and have it mailed to you directly from the heart of the coffee growing region. For $30 for the coffee and $30 for shipping you can get four bags of high quality Arabica coffee for $15 each whereas you could buy coffee of similar quality for a large multiple of this price like $30, $45, or $60. If you put coffee quality on one axis of a graph and price per pound on the other it will not generate a straight line. Coffee that is twice as expensive is twice as good on the low end of the graph but at the high (Panama Gesha) end of the graph the improvement in quality per dollar is minuscule! Our suggestion is that you consider coffee directly from Colombia if you want the best coffee for the best price.

Best Coffee for the Best Price – Slideshare Version

Coffee Pests and Diseases

There are diseases and pests that can infest a coffee crop and ruin it. Knowing how to prevent or treat these problems is essential for a coffee farmer to avoid financial ruin. The greatest damage to coffee crops comes from pathogenic fungi followed by bacteria or viruses. Some coffee diseases only take hold in weakened fields of coffee and others attack healthy coffee plants. Coffee leaf rust, root rot disease, and coffee berry disease are among those coffee pests and diseases that take hold in otherwise healthy coffee crops.

Factors That Influence Susceptibility to Coffee Plant Diseases

A major factor that influences coffee plant susceptibility to leaf rust is genetics, the coffee variety. We have written about how many Arabica coffee varieties are susceptible to leaf rust while Robusta is not. Coffee farmers in the Colombian department of Huila use a cross between red and yellow bourbon coffee called pink bourbon which is not only a great tasting coffee but more resistant to coffee leaf rust. The Colombian Coffee Growers Association has developed strains over the years to preserve the high quality of Colombian Arabica coffees while reducing the damage done by coffee leaf rust.

Pink Bourbon Coffee Finca La Paula

Environmental Factors That Affect Coffee Plant Diseases

Historically, Arabica coffees are grown at higher altitudes because the heat and humidity of the lower altitudes in the tropics are conducive to infestations by the coffee borer beetle as well as fungal infestations like leaf rust. A long term concern is that as temperatures rise Arabica strains will need to be planted at higher and higher altitudes until reduced area under cultivation reduces Arabica production and raises prices for even the most standard Arabica crops.

Coffee Crop Management

Sustainable agricultural practices are essential to help keep coffee crops healthy. Cleaning up decaying plant matter at the base of coffee plants helps reduce the likelihood of fungal infestations as well as insect problems. Proper application of the right fertilizers is important as well. Prompt removal of infected plants helps farmers stay ahead of spreading plant diseases and this practice occasionally requires removal of and burning of whole sections of a coffee farm.

Economics of Plant Protection

Poor coffee farmers are more likely to be devastated by coffee plant diseases as they cannot afford to pay for the help to deal with problems, buy pesticides when necessary, or fertilize as needed to maintain healthy plants. Their crops may suffer from chronic infestations and perpetuate successive waves of plant diseases for years on end. With more than 900 types of birds, mammals, mollusks, and parasites to worry about on top of viral, bacterial, and fungal diseases the tasks can be overwhelming.

The Most Common Coffee Pests

Insect infestations kill coffee plants, make them prone to secondary infections for fungi and reduce the value of the surviving crop. A prime concern of coffee farmers is the Coffee Berry Borer. This pest is a little black beetle that burrows into the coffee cherry where it is protected from pesticides. The pest causes cherries to fall from the plant and surviving berries are too small and of poor quality.

The Coffee Leaf Miner is a kind of moth. They eat coffee plant leaves. When enough leaves are killed the plant cannot photosynthesize and grow. Berries do not mature and yield is drastically reduced. And, when diseased beans make into the cupping stage they taste bitter.


Mealybugs feed on many different plants where they attack roots, flowers, nodes, and leaves. They feed on the sap of the coffee plant and in turn secrete a sticky sweet material that attracts ants. A black mold then covers the plant cutting off photosynthesis. Many coffee plants die and the ones that survive produce bitter coffee.

These are just a few of the pests that attack coffee and make the coffee grower’s life a chore.

Coffee Pests and Diseases – Slideshare Version

Coffee Pests and Diseases – PDF

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker

There are many ways to make coffee. A simple pot for pour over coffee as well as an Ibrik for Turkish coffee, a ceramic pot for café de olla, a large pot on the stove for egg coffee, a French press, or a percolator for making commercial quantities. The best coffee beans make the best coffee and the best coffee deserves a clean coffee maker. Here are the best ways to clean a coffee maker so that your just ground, whole bean coffee from Colombia is always the best possible.

When Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

Don’t wait until your coffee is getting bitter to clean your coffee maker. You can see when your coffee maker is getting mineral buildup and accumulation of oily sludge in the coffee pot and maker. However, germ buildup happens before you see any evidence of a problem. National Sanitation Foundation International, which helps set food safety standards in more than 170 countries says that your coffee maker is the fifth worst reservoir of germs in your entire home. Half of all coffee makers tested by them had mold, yeast, and bacteria buildup. So, a routine schedule of cleaning is a good idea rather than waiting for the bitter taste or signs of mold growth!

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker - Mineral Buildup Results
Coffee Maker in Need of Cleaning

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker

Simple coffee making gear can get by with simple cleaning. But, home coffee makers, Keurig coffee makers, and large restaurant percolators need a bit more attention.

What You Need to Clean a Coffee Maker

To do a good job cleaning your coffee maker you need water, white vinegar, and a coffee filter.

First Step:

Fill the reservoir of your filter with half water and half white vinegar. Go heavy on the vinegar if you have obvious signs of mineral buildup. The vinegar not only kills germs but also dissolves minerals.

Step Two:

Put a filter in the basket and turn the coffee maker on just like you would to make coffee. Let it “brew” for about half the usual time and then turn the coffee maker off to let the vinegar solution soak in the reservoir and carafe. Let it sit for half an hour to an hour. And, let it sit longer with more vinegar if there is a lot of obvious buildup.

Third Step

Turn the coffee maker on again and run the rest of the cycle. Discard the vinegar and the filter paper. Then fill the reservoir with fresh water, add a filter to the basket and run another brewing cycle. Discard the water and the filter and repeat the process. After the second “water cycle” use a clean cloth to wipe down the coffee maker and pot.

How to Clean Your Keurig Coffee Maker

A Keurig coffee maker may appear more formidable when it comes to cleaning but the process is the similar with water, white vinegar, a toothbrush and liquid dish detergent.

First Step

Clean the exterior of the coffee maker with a damp cloth and detergent if needed. Put the drip tray, cover, and reservoir lid in the dishwasher or let them soak for fifteen minutes in the sink with hot water and a teaspoon of dish detergent. Dry with a towel when done.

Second Step

While the parts that you can remove are soaking or in the dishwasher, use a clean toothbrush to clean up any coffee grounds that are stuck in the K-Cup holder. Remove any mineral or oily buildup with a damp cloth. Then give the exterior one more wiping down with a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner.

For stubborn mineral buildup soak a corner of your cloth with white vinegar and scrub, soak for a few minutes, and scrub again. You should be able to watch the mineral buildup disappear. Dry everything with a soft cloth and put the coffee maker back together.

Step Three

Make sure there are no pods in the coffee maker. Then put a large mug in the tray and fill the reservoir half and half with fresh water and white vinegar. Use the setting for the largest cup and run the cycle as many times as it takes for the More/Add Water light to come on. Dump the vinegar water from the mug after each cycle.

Fourth Step

Now leave the remaining liquid in the reservoir for thirty minutes. Then empty the reservoir and rinse multiple times with fresh water until any odor of vinegar is long gone.

Fifth Step

Now, just like with the standard coffee maker, run the coffee maker with just water in it. Fill the reservoir with water, use a large mug, make your “water coffee” and throw out the water until the reservoir is empty.

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker – Slideshare Version

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker – PDF

Uses of Robusta Coffee Beans

The two main commercial types of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is better-tasting coffee which Colombian coffee growers produce. Robusta has a higher caffeine content, adds a “kick” to Italian espresso, and is the main source of caffeine in soft drinks sold worldwide. The world’s biggest producer and exporter of Arabica is Colombia followed by Brazil. Brazil and Vietnam are the biggest exporters of Robusta coffee beans.

Robusta Coffee Beans

The scientific name for Robusta is Coffea Robusta or Coffea Canephora. Robusta is a very hardy coffee plant, much less susceptible to coffee leaf rust and the various insect infestations to which coffee is prone such as the coffee borer beetle. Robusta is cheaper to cultivate, grows to a larger size (up to 30 feet high), produces more coffee beans, and produces beans sooner than the Arabica plant. Whereas Arabica comes originally from Ethiopia, Robusta comes from the central and western sub-Sahara regions of Africa. While Arabica coffee beans have about 1.5% caffeine, Robusta beans have about 2.7%.

About a third of world coffee production is Robusta with most coming from Africa and throughout the Indian Ocean. In the Americas Brazil is the main Robusta producer. Vietnam is the most recent large producer and has moved up to rival Brazil in Robusta production.

Robusta in Your Cola Drink, Instant, and Espresso

The one niche where you can find Robusta in fine coffees is in Italian espresso where a quantity of Robusta is mixed with Arabica to give the espresso more caffeine.  And, you can find Robusta in coffees like Death Wish. Although much of the caffeine in soft drinks is synthetic, some also comes from Robusta beans.

The bulk of robusta coffee goes into making instant coffee, commercially packaged espressos, and as filler in average grade blends of ground coffees. Throughout Southeast Asia it is more likely to find yourself drinking Robusta than Arabica coffee.

Uses of Robusta Coffee Beans - Robusta Coffee Tree

Will We Drink More Robusta in the Future?

We recently wrote about climate change and coffee production. The main problem for growing Arabica coffee in a hotter climate is that more heat means more coffee diseases. Because Robusta is a hardier plant we can expect to see it replace Arabica to some degree over the years. We also expect to see attempts at cross breeding to keep the flavor and aroma of Arabica while gaining the strength and endurance of Robusta. An added benefit of growing Robusta is the greater production per plant than what is seen with high quality Arabica varieties. Robusta produces coffee beans earlier, produces more per plant, and very commonly produces coffee beans for more years than Arabica.

Does that mean we will eventually only be drinking poor quality but higher caffeine content coffee? That will probably not be the case. Organizations like the research arm of the Colombian coffee growers will keep working on Arabica strains that are increasingly disease resistant while retaining the flavor and aroma of the Arabica we love. It may even turn out that future Arabica cross breeds will have a higher caffeine content and be more productive.

Uses of Robusta Coffee Beans – Slideshare Version

Uses of Robusta Coffee Beans – PDF

Coffee Prices Over the Years

The New York Times just published an article saying that your daily coffee habit is about to get more expensive. They note the fact that climate issues in Brazil and export problems due to civil unrest in Colombia, the two biggest exporters of Arabica coffee, have conspired to drive coffee futures up. And, if you check CME Group coffee futures, you can see that September 2021 coffee futures are $1.84 a pound while December 2022 futures are $1.93 a pound. Coffee prices over the years go up and down. Is this any different?

Coffee Prices Go Up and Down

Macro Trends published a chart of coffee price variations from September of 1973 through July of 2021. As the chart shows, coffee prices go up and down over the years with $3.23 a pound in 1977 and $2.88 a pound in April of 2011 being the highest price spikes over that time period. During that same period coffee fell to $.0.51 a pound in August of 1992 and $0.45 a pound in November of 2001.

Coffee Prices Over the Years
Coffee Prices Over the Years Since 1973

Coffee traders are looking at higher coffee prices in the coming months and years as shown by CME Group coffee futures.

Coffee Prices Over the Years - CME Futures
CME Coffee Futures

How Much Do You Pay for Colombian Coffee?

In Colombia coffee farmers are paid based on the CME price for dried green coffee beans that they present to their local cooperative. Price adjustments are made (downward) for any imperfections and a premium is paid for Arabica coffee grown in the Colombian coffee growing district running from Caldas down to Huila and West to Antioquia. At Buy Organic Coffee in Manizales we purchase coffee from local growers, cooperatives, and small local coffee processors and roasters. The price that we pay is free from middle-man expenses and is for fresh coffee from the most recent harvest. Because we purchase at the source in Colombia and arrange shipping directly to you in the USA or anywhere in the world, our prices for high quality Arabica coffee from Colombia typically beans prices paid for coffee of equal quality anywhere in the world.

How High Will the Price of Coffee Go?

CME Group coffee futures for the end of 2022 are going for just under $2 a pound and that price lasts into futures for July of 2023. Baring other unforeseen events, we are not looking at matching or surpassing the peak prices seen in the last fifty years, at least not in the near term. Looking longer down the line you need to consider climate change and coffee production. It is likely in the decades to come, that higher quality coffee (Arabica) will be scarcer and more expensive. The prevailing weather patterns across the North and West of South America are such that droughts and forest fires seen elsewhere are unlikely. More rain simply runs down the mountain sides where coffee is planted so crops are not drowned out. Flooding in low areas such as the Cauca River Valley around Cali affects crops like sugar cane and pineapple but not coffee.

Over the next decades we expect Arabica coffee prices denominated in US dollars to double or triple depending on any devaluation of the dollar.

Coffee Prices Over the Years – Slideshare Version

Coffee Prices Over the Years – PDF