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The entire world is on the brink of a major coffee shortage thanks to a drought in Brazil, the world’s largest coffee bean producer. And the UK is expected to get hit particularly hard, given that it is a major importer of coffee. In fact, the EU as a whole imports half the world’s coffee beans.

The Telegraph reported that over the past five years or so, Great Britain has become a nation of coffee connoisseurs, with high end coffee shops sprouting up all over the country. In addition to this, more and more Brits are buying espresso machines for their home.

Brits not only want coffee, but they want high quality coffee. That caliber of coffee comes from arabica beans, which are grown on high altitude farms that produce low yields. Simply put, the supply just can’t keep up with the higher demands. And then add a global coffee crisis into the mix, and things don’t look good.

“But unlike with wine farmers or other high value commodities, we’ve effectively got people living in poor regions in the tropics and they take what they can get,” food and drinks market analyst Jeffrey Young told The Telegraph. “Coffee prices, in real terms, haven’t gone up in years so it is becoming less worthy of farmers’ time to grow coffee.”

To keep up with demand, coffee production will have to increase exponentially. According to Bloomberg, Illy CEO Andrea Illy said that coffee exports will have to increase 40 million to 50 million bags over the next 10 years. That’s more than what Brazil produces now. Add in the drought and the fact that climate change is affecting the crop, and that producing beans just isn’t profitable for farmers, and it sounds like upping coffee production just isn’t feasible.

“Sooner or later, in months or years, we’ll have to make a bold decision about what to do,” Illy said in an interview on Wednesday. “We don’t know where this coffee will come from.”

Given this perfect storm of circumstances, Great Britain is on a course to hit a major coffee crisis in three to five years. Of course, things aren’t looking so good on this side of the pond either. Maybe our chaps across the Atlantic should go back to drinking tea and save some beans for us. Sound fair?

 

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By 2018, The UK Will Probably Run Out Of Coffee

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