Hugh Bollinger
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Bad Brew

In the beverage category, I'm mostly a fan of drinks made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis (tea). However, today I needed something stronger and purchased a grande Kona coffee with half & half, to go, at my local coffee shop. Just as I began driving on down the road, reporters from American Public Media's (APM) Marketplace came on the airwaves telling me the bad news about coffee ( Coffea arabica ) supplies and bean prices. [caption id="attachment_3679" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="coffee lattes source: Coffee Detectives"][/caption] Worldwide production from coffee bushes has plateaued, or is declining, and prices could go up sharply for a cup of java soon. It seems we may have hit-- peak coffee --the dreadful state of  affairs where economic supply and demand are the inverse of each other. Mostly we hear about production constraints like peak oil but this may be the beginning of other commodities reaching limits on availability as well. According to APM interviewee, Adriene Hill: "what's happening seems to be related to weather issues. Producers are seeing unusual rainfall, they're seeing unusual temperatures-- things that are not good for coffee beans; especially the very finicky, the very precious arabica bean is not interested in big weather changes.  It looks like, and some scientists think, it could be related to climate change." Climate change is usually discussed in regards to impacts on glaciers, coral reefs, and storm intensity. Now the confluence of climate altered weather instability, production declines, and price increases could combine in a very bad brew as people everywhere have come to enjoy coffee as their morning beverage. First is was gas, now coffee, what could be next? WHB  
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