Our cranky future
June 20, 2017 10:55 AM   Subscribe

 
i've got a silo out back and i home roast, i'm gonna be the immortan joe of coffee

bow now and you will twitch eternal, full-bodied and earthy
posted by entropicamericana at 11:09 AM on June 20, 2017 [55 favorites]


It looks like even Earl Grey Tea will not be a respite for this old man...

No coffee and no tea...

And my parents had the gall to ask for forgiveness...
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:13 AM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Goddamnit. I'm not surprised to read how coffee (LIKE EVERY OTHER AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT) is vulnerable to our seemingly ever-hotter climate , but I need coffee to live. I quit smoking cigarettes, I can't tolerate alcohol as well as I did when I was younger. Diabetes runs in my family so I've had to cut way back on sugar. Coffee is one of the few borderline vices I have left! The hell am I supposed to replace it with? Herbal tea?

The shortages are forecast to worsen by 2050. Maybe I'll be dead by then!
posted by little mouth at 11:14 AM on June 20, 2017 [11 favorites]


oh geeze, I can't find the link, but someone on mefi posted a short sci fi post-apoc type story about a commander in the near future that goes to war over having coffee (the nation of colorado or something like that). Scientists say they can create a brown liquid for everyone or fight over the remaining coffee crop.
posted by k5.user at 11:21 AM on June 20, 2017


The hell am I supposed to replace it with? Herbal tea?

Well, dandelions are supposed to do great under climate change scenarios, so maybe you could make yourself some nice dandelion coffee?
posted by ragtag at 11:25 AM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


The hell am I supposed to replace it with? Herbal tea?

My understanding is that the only thing left to eat will be algae, jellyfish and cockroaches. So we should start experimenting with ratios, temperatures and brewing times now.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:31 AM on June 20, 2017 [17 favorites]


Ristretto palmetto bug in a mug? Ew.

Say, how does chicory handle the heat?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:36 AM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Time to plant some yerba mate, I suppose. As far as I can tell it's the most practical source of caffeine I can grow.
posted by mmagin at 11:39 AM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that the only thing left to eat will be algae, jellyfish and cockroaches. So we should start experimenting with ratios, temperatures and brewing times now.

I recently saw some signage in a Koch-funded exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History that happily reported that rats also do well under hotter temperatures. The gross but lively ecosystem in my DC alley seems to support this hypothesis.

So, what I'm saying is we need to genetically engineer some caffeinated rats.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:39 AM on June 20, 2017 [9 favorites]


Screw coffee. What about chocolate?
posted by infinitewindow at 11:43 AM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


it will taste worse and cost more

Hasn't that already happened?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:50 AM on June 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


DAMNIT! SERIOUSLY!?
posted by The Power Nap at 11:51 AM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


But the whole POINT of coffee is that it tastes bad. Also, this is the same thing that apparently happened to bananas before I was born, and I like the new, bad bananas perfectly well. Not to mention the HUGE opportunity this represents for people who like to say stuff like, "I was into this band BEFORE THEY SOLD OUT..."
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:56 AM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I guess a re-watch of Hardware is in order.
posted by Token Meme at 12:01 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


My understanding is that the only thing left to eat will be algae, jellyfish and cockroaches.

This explains kombucha.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:13 PM on June 20, 2017 [36 favorites]


Smaller scale studies have been done about this, to varying degrees. But with each one that comes out, we know it's going to be pretty rough. It should also be pointed out that this will largely affect commodity level crops, but specialty-level crops are going to be shielded from the worst, because typically they have the money to flex and bend with the environment.

The fact that Ethiopia specifically is going to be hit hard by this, is significant. Most of the coffee produced in the world comes from a phenomenally small genetic pool...except in Ethiopia, where an almost limitless number of varietals are expressed in certain regions.

Coffee is also a prime candidate for genetic engineering. Coffee is a fragile, fragile plant. Being able to add in some resistance. If there's a Coffea relative out there that could tolerate a wider range of growing conditions, and be crossed with tasty arabica cultivars, this would change the industry in a few years. I'm aware of my educational limitations but I've personally been trying to self educate about botany/agronomy practices, as well as much "at home CRISPR" information I can gobble up in the hopes that I could at least stay educated on the topic, and maybe run some mad scientist shit in the garage with my sort of alive (70MASL REPRESENNNNNT) typica plant.

So. Don't buy cheap coffee. Environmental problems aside, you're contributing to slavery (number 1 reason to stop). Buy your coffee from folks that are transparent about how much cash their suppliers and farmers get. This will allow them the financial flexibility to at least keep on producing even though conditions become less than ideal.

If hunting around for coffee that is ethically produced and pays their farmers well is too difficult, just straight up start buying Ecuadorian coffee. Ecuador is a really interesting place, and Red Fox Coffee Merchants wrote a really good journal entry about why.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:16 PM on June 20, 2017 [19 favorites]


I buy my coffee in dime bags out of my dealer's trunk in a back alley, the way it was meant to be distributed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:19 PM on June 20, 2017 [16 favorites]


I buy my coffee in dime bags out of my dealer's trunk in a back alley, the way it was meant to be distributed.

This is exactly how I made beer-money when I lived in Maine. I home roasted and folks would text me that they wanted coffee, and I was overly paranoid about not having any health certificates or anything, so they needed a code word (and so I could track who was referring me to whom). I roasted everything up Friday morning, delivered Friday evening, and had a nice wad of cash at the end of the night. I only roasted single varietal coffees, that scored above an 87pt cupping score. I was able to charge a fair amount from this bootleg coffee.

Until recently, this was my highest paying job if you're going by straight hourly wages.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:28 PM on June 20, 2017 [21 favorites]


So, what I'm saying is we need to genetically engineer some caffeinated rats.

Hm....
Rats are mammals.
Mammals produce milk.
Maybe they can be genetically engineered to produce coffee instead?
Perhaps even a variety of strains that produce black coffee, coffee with sugar, coffee with sugar and milk, etc?

I envision massive coffee rat factory farms where billions of mutant rodents are hooked up to tiny little milking devices 24/7.

If any venture capitalists are reading this, feel free to memail me.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:30 PM on June 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooope.

I will hoard all of the coffee and you will pry it out of my warm, jittery hands.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:34 PM on June 20, 2017


Of course branding is essential.

Covfefeâ„¢: I Can't Believe It's Not Tree Coffee
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:37 PM on June 20, 2017 [10 favorites]


We need to get the folks up in Marin County on this. based on their, um, previous product efforts, they should be able to breed a killer hybrid that gives you three days of caffeine in a thimble.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:40 PM on June 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


The supply of coffee, and to a lesser extent tea, is much, much more vulnerable to political and social instability. The whole of Central America. Swaths of Africa. Indonesia. Et cetera. (Hawaii? You good, girl.)

My suspicion is that because no one could be convinced to give a damn about the campesinos in the 80s and 90s, the next step is try and get people to freak out over weather.

Still: I don't care what's going to happen 100 years from now. I'll be dead. Climate change, nuclear winter, general bio-apocalypse -- I can't control any of it.

Until people can make smaller, specific arguments and provide next steps for people who are currently alive, and will be alive 70 years from now, none of this handwringing matters.

And even then: if things are as bad as is claimed, and happened in the extremely short timespan presented by the IPCC, then there is literally NOTHING we can do in under that time to make any real dent. It's basic logic. You didn't get fat overnight, so you aren't gonna get thin overnight.
posted by gsh at 12:57 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


This explains kombucha.

"My good man, kombucha is neither an algae nor a jellyfish, but rather an complex symbiosis of yeast and bacteria forming a biofilm that's really rather remarkable - even beautiful - when you think about it. Now .." [wife begins hitting me with rolled up newspaper]
posted by ryanshepard at 1:00 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


The shortages are forecast to worsen by 2050. Maybe I'll be dead by then!

With no coffee I most certainly will be,
posted by generichuman at 1:01 PM on June 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


I'm not wild about the title of this article, because that's not exactly what the linked article is saying. there's a lot of conjecture, and a lot of hand wringing (deservedly so) over the way climate change is affecting traditional coffee producing areas, but climate change is also going to move the tropics northward, and may create areas where coffee can thrive that currently don't exist.
There are lots of reasons to decry climate change, but the immediate demise of tasty coffee is not among them.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:01 PM on June 20, 2017


Yeah, the article is pretty good, but it's mostly about ongoing drought in coffee-producing regions, the impact on farmers, and changing ecology. It's grim, but they do suggest moving coffee-producing areas. Not that that will help the Ethiopian or Brazilian farmers right now--pretty sure the impacts are going to be much worse for them than for any Western caffeine addict.
posted by epanalepsis at 1:08 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


The shortages are forecast to worsen by 2050. Maybe I'll be dead by then!

With no coffee I most certainly will be


With no coffee, I'm bound to kill a lot of people.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:28 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Go Louisiana style: start cutting your coffee with chicory now.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:28 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


[A few deleted. Folks, maybe enough with the general despair comments. Let's keep this thread to coffee please]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:33 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


the only thing left to eat will be algae, jellyfish and cockroaches.

Please, it's Fish, and plankton. And sea greens, and protein from the sea.
posted by achrise at 1:35 PM on June 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


[A few deleted. Folks, maybe enough with the general despair comments. Let's keep this thread to coffee please]

For many of us, these two things are intimately related. Coffee wards off despair.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:49 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


People, people, let's not panic! Caffeine can be synthesized.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:58 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


No_doz, when snorted, is minty fresh.
posted by clavdivs at 2:04 PM on June 20, 2017


God dammit- who got Fringe's Walternate universe in my crap community theater production of Children of Men?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:07 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


So the New York state wine country may turn into the Finger Lakes Robusta farms? Cool.
posted by wenestvedt at 2:37 PM on June 20, 2017


I don't drink coffee so this doesn't affect me in the least. But the likelihood of this happening to chocolate, cinnamon, or god forbid, hops, could keep me up at night. This world is going to hell in a hand basket and all Lord Dampnut does is pour gasoline on the basket.
posted by Ber at 2:42 PM on June 20, 2017


My good man, kombucha is neither an algae nor a jellyfish, but rather an complex symbiosis of yeast and bacteria forming a biofilm that's really rather remarkable

What's remarkable is that people who complain about coffee being bitter are convinced to drink something that tastes like milky tea left three days in the sun.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:06 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


Surely this....
posted by msalt at 3:25 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Maybe I'll be dead by then!
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 3:43 PM on June 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


I DID NOT NEED THIS NEWS

*slurps coffee frantically*
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:13 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't like coffee so I'm relieved on this score, except I hear similar things are happening with chocolate.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:53 PM on June 20, 2017


From that Eater story about tea: "Too Much Rain Is Dulling the Flavor of Tea".

I KNEW IT! Over the past couple of years, both PC and Yorkshire Gold have started tasting like pallid shadows of themselves. Only Tetley Bold seems to be holding on, and it still can't compare to Yorkshire at its peak. Guess it's time to start looking for organic Assam ...
posted by maudlin at 8:18 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


the only thing left to eat will be algae, jellyfish and cockroaches

Don't be ridiculous; we can always eat sunfish. They're slow and easy to catch and huge. (And about as tasty as algae, jellyfish, and cockroaches combined... it says something when sharks find a fish too unpalatable to go after.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:29 PM on June 20, 2017


Until people can make smaller, specific arguments and provide next steps for people who are currently alive, and will be alive 70 years from now, none of this handwringing matters.

Good news! There's a lot we can do right now, on an individual level, on a city level, and at the state level!
posted by Existential Dread at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


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