Notes from Hanna Neuschwander: Making Progress on Climate Change: Coffee’s Potential Impact

For us Reco (recosymposium.org) is probably one of the most important movements in coffee. Their presentation of facts around coffee is always en lighting and informative and far from your typical knee jerk reaction you sometimes see.

They have started releasing their videos from April around climate change, to introduce it is Hanna Neuschwander:

Here are my notes:

An example of a perfect coffee plant was produced.

Effect on Arabica from Production Type: When growing coffee in an area with higher temperature than Arabica wants (18-25C), like when you grow at a lower altitude – since it is colder higher up, the plant ripens faster. As a result the sugars and volatile compounds we prefer in the coffee do not have enough time to develop.

This then also is applicable to climate change, since temperatures are rising world-wide, coffee quality will decrease as the temperatures increase, even though productivity may remain the same or even increase to a level. However with mean temperatures about 25C the plant stars struggles to photo synthesise, and essentially stops breathing, reducing productivity. At 30C the plant will die. Rising temperatures are also important when it comes to pests to the coffee plant. Most of them thrive at higher temperatures, like broca.

Temperatures are rising slowly. But dramatic climatic affects (weather as a result of climate change or not) are immediately apparent and these make producers sit up and take notice, and want to take action.

Crisis have affected coffee severely, like the effect of coffee rust in Guatemala resulted in job losses of 1.7 million.

Droughts in Brazil and currently in Ethiopia have radically affected production and they continue.

This may be why about 30% of coffee people are concerned about climate change.

What can we do about it? We know very little about climate change since there are no dedicated people researching this. Coffee is significantly under researched. But infrastructure is being developed on how to do this research, specifically around adaptation and mitigation.

It is estimated that 50% of the carbon foot print of coffee is in the preparation of the brew, this we can and must change.

Then watch the next video by Dr Aaron Davis- here…

 

 

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