Fair trade products have exploded in popularity over the last two decades. In 2014 more than 40 percent of all coffee was produced under one of four initiatives: Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, and 4C. But how much do these certifications, which pay farmers a premium above the …
It's a very small undertaking, about 30,000 trees on three dozen farms. Yet Californians are willing to pay $18 for a cup of locally grown coffee, says the Food Observer, produced by the University of California. "To make the most of their precious water, Southern California farmers have begun experimenting with coffee plantings and producing beans that fetch a premium."
Timber Creek High School in Keller, Texas, opened a coffee bar that sells lattes, mochas and iced blended coffee drinks along with muffins and fruit cups to students, joining several other schools in the Forth Worth area that offer the caffeinated perk, reports the Star-Telegram. "We have a generation that drinks coffee," said a food-service manager for the Keller schools who oversees the coffee shop.
As the avocado market struggles in California, niche growers on the southern coast are switching to an unexpected crop: coffee. “[T]hey are eyeing machinery that can harvest the beans, which would reduce labor costs, as well as a contraption called a demucilager that mechanically strips coffee berry skin and pulp off the beans, rather than using water to clean them,” says The New York Times.
The global stockpile of coffee is headed for a five-year low, at less than a three-month supply, thanks to record demand that has driven up coffee prices 31 percent since the start of the year, says a semi-annual USDA forecast. "Global consumption is forecast at a record 153.3 million bags," each weighing 60 kg, says USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.
Climate change could “cut the global area suitable for coffee production by as much as 50 percent by 2050,” largely because of drought and higher temperatures, says a report by the Climate Institute. Of the 25 million coffee farmers around the world, many are small landholders living in countries that are among the most vulnerable to climate change, including Vietnam, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Major retailers like Starbucks have already warned that their customers could see supply shortages, according to the Climate Institute.
Coffee growers in Vietnam, Indonesia and India, three of the seven largest coffee-producing nations on earth, will harvest smaller crops — down by a combined 2.5 percent — due to drought magnified by the El Niño weather pattern, according to a USDA forecast. The semi-annual Coffee: World Markets and Trade report said a record crop of Arabica beans in Brazil, the world's largest coffee grower, would lead to a modest rise in global production.
An exhaustive review of research finds no conclusive evidence of a risk of cancer from drinking coffee, said the International Agency for Research on Cancer in its first look at the hot drink since 1991, when it found a weak link to cancer of the bladder. On the five-point scale used by the WHO agency, the only lower rating than "not classifiable" for coffee is "probably not carcinogenic."
Coffee is one of the favorite beverages of the western world. It also has been rated since 1991 as "possibly carcinogenic to the human urinary bladder" by the WHO's cancer agency, which will open a week-long review of coffee, mate and "very hot beverages" on Tuesday.