The Coming Coffee Apocalypse

Okay, sure, yes, it’s been hot. And I know: “Blah blah blah hurricanes!” It’s past the point where you can brush off the fact that we’re having 100-year storms every other week by putting it down to coincidence. And okay, the poor polar bears, it’s tough times for them. Drought, famine and pestilence stalk the land. But whatever, these are all, I don’t know, incidental items. Now everything’s going to get real.

COFFEE-LOVERS be warned. Whether you are a three-double-espressos-a-day addict or just indulge in the occasional cappuccino, enjoy it while you can: a coffee drought may be on its way. Changing climate threatens to reduce the flow of coffee that fills 1.6 billion cups a day to a trickle. It may not be long before that after-dinner espresso costs more than the wine and some caffeine addicts will be forced to go cold turkey.

Can you imagine? Think about how unpleasant people are already, with coffee. Think about how unpleasant people are about coffee. And I’m not even talking about your garden-variety dickheads who debate the merits of pour-over brew versus the Estonian flatiron reverse-osmosis method, which is probably a thing even though I just made it up. I’m talking about the people who are all, “I can’t start the day without coffee,” as if the rest of us aren’t just as tired and irritable without feeling the apparently deep-seated need to broadcast just how dependent we are on hot water dripped through crushed beans to help us contend with the arduous tasks of getting to work and turning on a computer. These are the people we’re going to have to club to death first during our grim, coffeeless future, which the New Scientist (registration required) sees as coming “by 2080.” Oh, wait, 65 years? We’ll all be long dead by then. Never mind.

Photo by Raisa Kanareva, via Shutterstock