Your Morning Cup of Coffee Is in Danger. Can the Industry Adapt in Time?

Source: Time

Howard Schultz wants to know if I drink coffee. The Starbucks boss is sitting on a balcony overlooking the company’s leafy farm in the Costa Rican province of Alajuela, where I’m told the coffee–harvested and roasted on-site–is a must-try. Like more than 60% of Americans, I drink coffee at least once a day, and sometimes I indulge twice or even three times. The Costa Rican blend Schultz pours me has a special taste that mixes citrus and chocolate flavors.


 But the future of my cup of Costa Rican Arabica is not guaranteed, Schultz says. After nearly four decades at Starbucks, he is leaving at the end of June, and in the role of executive chairman for almost 15 months, he has been looking past Starbucks’ day-to-day operations to its long-term challenges and opportunities. Climate change ranks high among them. As temperatures rise and droughts intensify, good coffee will become increasingly difficult to grow and expensive to buy. Since governments are reacting slowly to the problem, companies like Starbucks have stepped in to save themselves, reaching to the bottom of their supply chains to ensure reliable access to their product. “Make no mistake,” Schultz tells me, “climate change is going to play a bigger role in affecting the quality and integrity of coffee.”

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