Climate Change Is Wiping Out Your Beloved Coffee and Wines

How climate change is affecting coffee crops and vineyards


It's another doomsday tale of the effects of climate change — and it's going to affect what you drink in the morning (and night). New reports show that climate change's impact on coffee crops, as well as vineyards worldwide, will be huge. 

It's all about adapting to the rising temperatures for both coffee growers and grape growers, but for coffee growers, the challenges are especially tough. The U.S. News & World Report reports on the problems that the most beloved coffee bean, the Arabica coffee bean, is facing, including "coffee leaf rust." The fungus has been known to wipe out nearly entire colonies of coffee beans, like Sri Lanka's crop in the 1860s; now, farmers are beginning to see coffee leaf rust form in South and Central America. Writes Jason Koebler: "For decades, coffee farmers in South and Central America were insulated from the disease's effects because coffee plants in the Americas are grown in the cool mountains, where temperatures weren't warm enough to be suitable for the plant. But in the 1970s, the first cases of coffee rust reached Brazil, and increasing temperatures and rainfall caused by climate change have allowed the fungus to live at higher altitudes." That's not a good sign for coffee growers. There is one (somewhat) silver lining: the Robusta bean is doing just fine with climate change. The downside? No one like Robusta beans. Well, we may have to settle for them one day. 

For wine growers, vineyards worldwide are adapting to changing temperatures, soils, and unpredictable weather events. But what's interesting is that climate change is reshaping the wines they produce. Certain regions, like Beaujolais and Alsace, are finding big changes to their signature wines and their acidity, sugars, and aromatics. Another effect of climate change on wines? It's, as Discovery News puts it, remapping the world's wine regions to include regions, like Denmark or Sweden, that had never been wine producers before. The (very small) silver lining of it all? Certain wine regions, like Tasmania, New Zealand, Chile, Ontario, and others with colder climates may be able to better ripen grapes in warmer tepmeratures. Not that the global warming naysayers should use that as an excuse to deny global warming, or anything. 


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