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

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