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The Price of Beans.
February 12, 2013 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Himileia Vastatrix, colloquially known as Roya or coffee rust, outbreaks are occurring at a frightening pace in Central America. Coffee futures and associated prices for specialty coffees, especially from small family-run farms are expected to rise, drastically, on top of a lower estimated harvest.

Some research is putting the blame on climate change, but others suggest that farming practices, monoculture and the high rate of pesticide and anti-fungal use are to blame. Specialty coffee production in many Central American countries is already threatened by abnormal weather patterns, and some farms are now exploring the possibility of replacing decades-old Bourbon varietal plants with newer cultivars that yield less, and are resistant to rusting.
posted by furnace.heart (16 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh great. I suppose now they're going to start cutting the product with chicory again.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:58 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I should go out and buy coffee right now?


Mmm. Coffee.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:21 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I roast all my own coffee from mail-ordered beans. I think the price has already gone up about a dollar per pound across the board over the last two years. Very roughly 8% year over year? If I am recalling that correctly, the price of beans has been rising faster than the US inflation rate for a while now.
posted by mindsound at 12:29 PM on February 12, 2013


I'm not panicking about whether or not coffee futures are expected to rise. They're futures. They'll rise when the market believes prices will rise. If they haven't, then they don't.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:02 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here are the coffee futures on the NYMEX exchange. You can click on the little "graph" icons to see how various futures trading prices have changed over the past few months for coffee.

Perhaps there's something I'm missing, but there doesn't seem to have been any significant rise in coffee futures over the past 3 months.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:18 PM on February 12, 2013


OH MY GOD!!!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:29 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Himileia Vastatrix

Note for fanfic writers: This fungus works equally well as the name of either a Sith apprentice or a Death Eater.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:30 PM on February 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


From the "expected to rise, drastically" link:
Prices reacted to the news after months of steady decline, with Colombian Milds, Other Milds and Brazilian Naturals increasing by 2.9 per cent, 3 per cent, and 3.2 per cent respectively.
This post is a little, um, overcaffeinated.
posted by yoink at 1:36 PM on February 12, 2013


I think I probably know more about coffee rust than I do about coffee itself, and this highly entertaining book (no, really) is the reason why.
posted by WidgetAlley at 2:02 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't the spot price be a better way to judge the supply/demand situation of coffee? Futures have several complicated factors that drive their market price.
posted by indubitable at 3:31 PM on February 12, 2013


Since we're still in the early stages of this world wide coffee shortage, I'd like to offer you all the opportunity to have your head smashed in by this pic axe while it's still pretty sharp.
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:49 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


indubitable> Wouldn't the spot price be a better way to judge the supply/demand situation of coffee? Futures have several complicated factors that drive their market price.

Okay, here's the spot price of coffee for the trading days so far in February. Here are the spot prices for January. And the monthly averages for the past 3 years.

If the coffee crop is in trouble, then commodity traders are unaware of the crisis.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 3:55 PM on February 12, 2013


THE COFFEE CROP IS IN TROUBLE???
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:02 PM on February 12, 2013


The Nat Geo link points out it is only Arabica that is in trouble, not Robusta which comes from a separate species. In my part of the world, Arabica was lost to disease long ago. Along with Robusta, some farmers grow a third species, Coffea liberica. It's delicious when roasted well and super caffeinated. It yields more and requires less care than Arabica. I'm basically over the arabica holocaust is what I'm saying. Switch now and avoid the rush!
posted by BinGregory at 5:53 PM on February 12, 2013


The Nat Geo link points out it is only Arabica that is in trouble, not Robusta which comes from a separate species.

In further news, all the cows have died off but dogs are doing just fine. Would you care for some more foam on your latte?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:57 PM on February 12, 2013


Coffee Slumps To Lowest In Two Years On Brazil 'Monster' Crop
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:14 PM on February 12, 2013


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