How the increase in demand for coffee exacerbates the climate crisis

What analysts say

imagew 105 Coffee, CRISIS

Coffee cultivation causes huge deforestation, exacerbating climate crisis - Laboratory coffee solution via bioreactor, but until approved prices will remain volatile - What analysts say

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, but the rapid increase in demand is already threatening the planet, causing concerns to many environmentalists and scientists regarding the sustainability of its production.

"Most of the coffee is processed through the use of fresh water so that it can be purified. "Any next steps up to our mug use large amounts of energy," said Bambi Semroc, vice president of Conservation International's Center for Sustainable Lands and Waters.

Over the past 30 years, increased demand for coffee has led to a 60% increase in production, according to the International Coffee Organization.

From deforestation to the use of large amounts of fresh water and energy, research shows that coffee is a major contributor to climate change.

Brazil, the world's largest producer, has had the highest deforestation rate in 15 years, according to the country's National Institute for Space Research. About 13.235 acres of jungle were deforested for coffee and other crops between August 2020 and July 2021.

Coffee production, as mentioned above, uses huge amounts of water. 140 liters of water are needed to produce 125mm coffee, according to the Water Footprint Network.

The coffee industry is also a tool of climate change. Brazil experienced periods of drought and frost in June, which pushed the prices of the Arabica variety to seven years high.

Analysts estimate that prices will continue to rise, according to Semroc.

Laboratory coffee

Scientists in Finland are trying to create a viable, laboratory coffee solution, but the technology for producing it is very expensive.

The VTT Technical Research Center of Finland produced laboratory coffee in a bioreactor through the use of cell culture. This technology avoids deforestation and the use of vast amounts of water resources.

The future is laboratory coffee

An additional advantage is the fact that coffee can be produced under adverse conditions, avoiding market volatility and the environmental and financial costs of sending coffee from the country of production to the country of consumption.

Although it will take about 4 years for regulators to approve the consumption of this coffee, there are many companies that invest in technology, especially in Finland which is the largest consumer of coffee in the world.


The same is not true of developing economies, which are for the most part the main producers of the coffee varieties we enjoy. Programs such as World Coffee Research and Conversation International are trying to help coffee farms, but according to CEO Jennifer Long, these countries do not have the potential to invest in facilitating and expanding production.

More than 100 country leaders attending the recent UN Cop26 Summit have signed an agreement on total deforestation by 2030. Nevertheless, experts warn that a lack of investment in crop improvement could lead to high prices in the near future. .

Coffee production is a huge part of the exports of many developing economies. Potential price volatility is going to hit poor coffee growers, according to Long.

Of the 12,5 million small and medium-sized farmers, about 5,5 live below the poverty line, according to non-profit Enveritas.

"Investment in agriculture, especially in the development of new technologies and research, is crucial," Long said, adding that climate targets and forest protection could be achieved despite the threat of climate change.