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Demand for Coffee Hits Record High as Global Supply Tightens

Millennials have led the surge in java consumption

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smithsonian.com

These days, it seems like millennials are the favorite scapegoat for just about everything wrong with the world, from vacations to trees to the traditional 9-to-5 workday. Now, a new report is picking on the beleaguered generation for exacerbating an oncoming dearth of coffee as they increasingly demand their cups of joe.

According to Bloomberg’s Marvin Perez, the bulk of the world’s java-lovers are young people between the ages of 19 to 34, who are drinking more coffee than ever before. While older generations may be drifting away from the brew, so many more young people are more than making up for any resulting drop in coffee drinkers.

These days, millennials born after 1995 typically start drinking coffee around the beginning of high school, while those born closer to 1982 typically began drinking it closer to graduation. The amount of coffee they drink has surged over the last few years, Daisy Meager writes for Munchies. But while this might sound like good news for coffee growers, the combination of spiking demand and a combination of problems in the fields could spell trouble for coffee-lovers everywhere.

Over the last few years, a perfect storm of a devastating fungus, unseasonably and increasingly warm and dry weather, as well as higher prices for fertilizer have hit coffee farmers and their crops hard. Most of the world’s coffee-growing regions can be found around the equator, but as global temperatures have risen, that sweet spot has shrunk, according to a recent report by The Climate Institute in Australia. If things keep going this way, climate experts warn that more than half of the world’s coffee growers could be out of luck and out of business by 2050, Wyatt Marshall reports for Munchies.

“[Demand for coffee] has been running well above expectations, thereby tightening coffee markets significantly,” commodities analyst Harish Sundaresh tells Perez.

On top of this spiking demand, one of the world’s most-used types of coffee—the robusta bean—is becoming harder and harder to grow thanks to the increasingly warmer and drier climate. That means more producers are switching to the smoother-tasting arabica bean, Eve Peyser reports for Gizmodo. Because of this, the price for arabica-coffee futures has jumped, causing places like Starbucks to raise the price of its java.

 Millennials just have to ruin everything, don’t they?

About Danny Lewis

Danny Lewis is a multimedia journalist working in print, radio, and illustration. He focuses on stories with a health/science bent and has reported some of his favorite pieces from the prow of a canoe. Danny is based in Brooklyn, NY.

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