Global warming has become such an overused phrase that it almost seems as if all meaning is lost. We’re told again and again that carbon dioxide levels are on the rise, and we’ve seen that winters seem to be getting wetter and milder, and summer weather is more and more erratic. It makes sense that this would influence weather, but how does that affect the coffee industry?!
This winter was much less cold than we’re used to – we barely saw a morning with a heavy frost or a flurry of snow – and for countries all over the world the weather is changing. In Brazil in the last few months there has been unprecedented hail storms, and there have been droughts as well.
This should be regarded as a huge problem for mobile coffee franchises and the coffee industry on a larger scale. Our much loved beans are ever so sensitive to any changes in climate and the weather systems around them, which means that if anything is amiss the coffee produce in that area is likely to be affected – if it can grow at all.
The Brazilian Droughts
It’s really important that mobile coffee franchises and shops keep a close eye on these sorts of changes. If there’s a problem with your main supply you’ll need to have alternative sources in mind – and remember that your competition is likely to be impacted by this as well.
Mauricio Galindo described this as being the biggest threat to the coffee industry as a whole: “If we don’t prepare ourselves we are heading for a big disaster.” While the demand for coffee (and thus the increase in high street coffee chains and mobile coffee franchises) is on the rise, if the availability of the main ingredient is on the decline then we are likely to see a rise in prices. This will hit at a wholesale price to start with, which, if not passed onto customers could severely impact profit margins. While some larger companies might choose to absorb these costs while they remain manageable, smaller and independent vendors will find that the costs need to be passed on as they already offer excellent value.
Brazil and its droughts haven’t been the only coffee producing country which is likely to see a sharp decline in coffee production this year; other countries whose main export is a simple bean have found that other factors will also be an issue. In Burundi, it’s not only weather which has been a problem. The country is inland, and war, democratic pressures, and lack of suitable fertiliser has meant that production has been on the decline since its peak in the mid-1990s.
As the owner of a mobile coffee franchise, how will you prepare for this? Would you still pay for your cuppa if it cost a bit more?