They came up with a best-case scenario that predicts a 38 per cent reduction in land capable of yielding Arabica by 2080. The worst-case scenario puts the loss at between 90 per cent and 100 per cent.
There is a “high risk of extinction” says the study, which was published in the academic journal Plos One.
That would be bad news for both coffee drinkers and coffee-producing countries such as Ethiopia, Brazil and Colombia, which in 2009/2010 shipped some 93 million bags of coffee around the world, worth an estimated $15.4 billion.
Most coffee is made from Arabica beans. They are prized for their genetic diversity and grow best at between 18 C and 21 C. Above that, the plants ripen too quickly — which affects taste — or grow too slowly. Other coffee stems from Robusta beans.
The study goes on to note that its results are “conservative” because it did not take into account the large-scale deforestation of the Arabica-suitable highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan.
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