There is a global shortage of arabica coffee beans, the beans that provide the smoothest flavor of our favorite drink. But roasters want to switch to cheaper, robusta coffee beans. Coffee snobs around the world may not be very happy about this. This shortage is intimidating, and prices are likely to increase at cafes and supermarkets. That morning cup of joe might leave a bitter taste in your mouth, literally. There was extreme weather that destroyed a lot of the crops and it could take up to a few years until the market can be repaired. Not only are arabica prices increasing, but global shipping crowding makes it difficult to get them to their needed destination. According to Kona Haque, head researcher at commodity trader ED&F Man in London, “This is not just a short-term issue. It’s actually something that we’re going to be factoring in for the next couple of years.”
Now coffee retailers have to make a choice as to whether or not they will increase their prices. If not that, the other option is to use robusta coffee beans, which have a harsher taste than arabica. It can typically be found in instant coffees and also contains more caffeine. Arabica coffee originates from Brazil, and they are experiencing frost that followed after a drought that harmed the crops. Trees have been compromised and it will take years for new ones to grow once planted. Besides that, fertilizer prices are skyrocketing and there is a scarcity of laborers. Arabica bean prices have increased about 80% this year alone. There are a couple of cafes that are using either-or, but the majority are using a blend of the two to create a certain taste.
Coffee brands are debating whether or not to change their blends because they risk losing customers. Alexis Rubinstein, managing editor of Coffee & Cocoa for commodities brokerage StoneX Group said, “This is unprecedented. It’s never been this perfect storm before. It’s usually just been a supply-and-demand scenario. We’ve never been dealing with a supply-and-demand issue on top of a logistics issue, on top of labor issues, on top of a global pandemic.” Low supplies mean higher prices in most cases. Grace Wood, an industry analyst for market research firm IBISWorld explained “That is just going to contribute to more demand that is going to further disrupt operations and make it more difficult for operators who are already experiencing supply issues.”