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Sunday, April 27, 2014
Current Affairs ... Photo ...

It seems that a coffee crisis is brewing these days. A drought in Brazil has caused wholesale coffee prices to jump significantly in the past month or two. And obviously, that means that retail prices at supermarkets, restaurants, fast food joints and coffee shops will follow their lead (they already have, actually; in my local supermarket, decaf beans can’t be had for under $9 a pound, whereas last year you could get the store brand for about $6.75). Brazil farmers still have some reserve bean supplies that they are releasing, which is temporarily keeping prices from spiking even further. But if the drought goes on, the legions of coffee junkies around the globe are going to really feel the pinch in the wallet.

Is this an early sign of the effects of global warming? Well, some people are saying that. I think we might need a few more years before making such a conclusion.

I myself was never a true coffee hound (I’m very sensitive to caffeine, it can wire me up too high and then keep me up at night). I often have a cup of decaf after a restaurant meal and maybe with the zen group on Sunday, but I generally start my workday mornings with decaf green tea (or Chinese oolong or white tea on occasion for variety). In the past year or so, however, I got interested in cold brewing from home-ground beans, and I’ve come to look forward to a cold half-cup of refrigerator brew after my weeknight evening meal (decaf, of course; cold brewing does nothing in itself to remove caffeine).

A few years ago I bought some new plants for my indoor garden, and thus brought home a pot of four small coffee trees. Over time, three of them died off, but the last tree standing seems to be doing fairly well. Survival of the fittest, I guess. So I re-potted it today to give its root system some room to expand. It has roughly doubled in size in about 4 years. But it still has a way to go before it could flower and grow me some beans. It’s barely a foot high, and I think that even an indoor coffee tree needs to reach about 5 feet before it could bloom. I’m not sure where I would put a 5 foot tree in my crowded apartment. So, I (or my tree) may not live long enough to brew up a cup of home-grown joe. Oh well, I guess I gotta just pay up to keep the java flowing!!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 5:53 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim, As a long time coffee drinker (of about 60 years until one day about 15 years ago I just up and quit because I found that I could not find any coffee strong enough and that my situation was becoming ridiculous) I can understand the need for coffee. (Decaf was a “why bother” to me.) There is (well “was” now for me) nothing like a good *strong* cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate! Heaven!

    When I was drinking coffee, I’d pay the price, whatever it was. Tea has, somehow, never interersted me in the slightest tho there was a period when I kind of tho’t oolong might be a good substitute for coffee–but no.

    But I must say I never saw a coffee tree, much less the beautiful leaves, upclose and person as in your picture. What a lovely plant. And if all coffee trees are as beautiful as the one you have, no wonder people have drunk coffee for such a long time; the beauty of the plant is enough to make one want to think about drinking coffee again. (But I think I’ll take a pass on that tho’t.) MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — April 27, 2014 @ 6:19 pm

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