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Don’t serve the coffee too hot

Monday, June 2, 2014

What’s worse? Bad coffee, or no coffee at all? Either one seems like a terrible prospect but that is exactly what climate change is brewing for us. Climate change is pushing up temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, and that’s going to result in a bitter cup of coffee for both billions of consumers and millions of growers. 


You drink two kinds of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is good for about 70 per cent of world consumption; Robusta 30 per cent. For the consumer the difference is one of taste. Generally speaking, if you drink “real” coffee, brewed from a ground bean, it’s going to be the smoother tasting Arabica bean. Instant coffee is usually made from lower quality, harsh tasting Robusta beans. 


My grandfather had a cocoa estate in Gran Couva. There weren’t many coffee trees, but he had a few planted along the estate traces, as a secondary crop. One of my earliest memories is helping one of the workers pick the tiny fruit from the coffee trees. I probably got more in her way than that I helped, but it left an impression on me.



My grandfather’s pride was his cocoa. Trinidad’s cocoa is among the best in the world. Our coffee on the other hand, less so. It’s too hot for it to grow properly here. And that’s very much what this article is about.