Climate change is killing coffee, but we can stop it

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge has a plan to reverse dwindling supplies of coffee beans.The Sustainable Coffee Challenge has a plan to reverse dwindling supplies of coffee beans. (Source: Conservation International video,

So with a warming planet, doesn’t that mean more stuff will grow in more places?


Consider coffee, which grows all over the world — optimally in areas where the temperature ranges from 64 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

NOAA map based on Wikipedia's list of top coffee-exporting countries

NOAA map based on Wikipedia’s list of top coffee-exporting countries

Coffee beans actually are pits (or seeds) of the plant’s fruit. And when temperatures exceed the optimal range, the fruit ripens faster, which degrades the quality of the coffee.

Won’t the growing region simply shift?


Rising global temperatures are creating conditions too hot and dry for coffee plants. The hotter temperatures also threaten coffee-pollinating honey bees, and provide favorable conditions for fungus that kills the plants.

Coffee, of course, is not the only thing threatened by global warming. Even slight temperature increases cause coral bleaching, which can permanently kill an entire coral reef. And higher temperatures also are contributing to the current run-up to mass extinction.

As you can see, rising global temperatures are not good. But the good news is there are a number of ways to stop this madness.

Regarding coffee, the Sustainable Coffee Challenge was created to lead the way. Launched during the 2015 Paris Climate Talks by Conservation International and Starbucks, the SCC is a collaborative effort between government and industry to transition the coffee sector to be fully sustainable.

If you want to keep enjoying coffee and save the planet at the same time, reduce your carbon footprint and focus on buying sustainable coffee.

* Full disclosure: Mayorga Cafe Cubano is one of my favorites.