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September 3, 2018

Global Coffee Shortage? The Truth Behind the Rumor

Now and then coffee lovers hear a terrible rumor. It’s mostly whispered across cafes, sometimes written about, and sometimes even shouted about by people worried it’s coming soon.

You know the rumor we’re talking about: that the world is running out of coffee! I know, I know.

Take a moment to catch your breath, we needed one when we first heard it too.

So where did this rumor come from? And is there any truth to it? Let’s resolve this here and now.


Given we’ve been drinking coffee for centuries now it’s easy to think not much has changed, and nothing ever will. In some respects this is true, as famous coffee regions have been producing beans year in, and year out, for a long time.

But really there’s a whole ton of factors that are changing things today, and set to change how the global coffee industry works in years ahead. In 2018 alone, it’s predicted the world will produce 11.4 million more bags of coffee than last year! As well as more coffee being produced, the way in which it’s harvested, shipped, and enjoyed will all continue to change with technology.

So does that mean we are going to run out?


While the rumor is worrying it’s also a reality that old saying ‘there’s usually some truth in a rumor’ applies here. Till now, the world has always had an abundant and essentially unending supply of coffee on hand.  Coffee that has been tasty, widely available, and (even for premium beans) pretty affordable.

The rumors suggest that is set to change. That at a time in the not too distant future, coffee may go from being something we enjoy each day, to some delicacy more like caviar! Certainly some changes can impact the availability of particular beans now and then.

Weather issues like a big drought or flood can ruin a whole ton of beans across a coffee producing country. It’s also true that there’s a difference in how each country treats their coffee industry.

Also the changes in the way certain countries that make coffee deal with their local industry.

Some places are great and really treasure their coffee growing, but others are not so great.

In cases like that, it means it’s harder for some businesses to grow beans year in and year out.


At some point in the distance future it’s possible that the coffee supply we have now could go into decline. But this fails to recognise that other supplies can also be grown and produced.

Even more exciting, the potential for great new varieties and coffee regions to emerge.

Even if we do see a drop off in supply in the availability of some beans from some parts of the world, many more beans from elsewhere will become available.

There is also the potential for many businesses that have stopped for a while to come back into action. Sometimes coffee makers are unable to put out their best beans because they have to deal  with issues like a bad growing season. It doesn’t mean they won’t come back strong next time around!

So, for the present, and into the future, we can look forward to having plenty of coffee on hand. Make a cup to celebrate!

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