The end of coffee: could Australia save the world's beans?

April 3, 2019

Climate change may devastate the globe’s major coffee-growing regions through extreme weather events – but Australia could be the solution


If a future of relentless fires, droughts, superstorms and rising sea levels makes you feel like you need a strong caffeinated beverage, there is some bad news: climate change is coming for the world’s coffee beans.

Greg Meenahan, the partnership director at the non-profit institute World Coffee Research, puts it this way: “Demand for coffee is expected to double by the year 2050 and, if nothing is done, more than half of the world’s suitable coffee land will be pushed into unsuitability due to climate change. Without research and development, the coffee sector will need up to 180m more bags of coffee in 2050 than we are likely to have.”


To address this, the organisation is undertaking the international multi-location variety trial, testing 35 coffee types across 23 countries to measure performance in different climates – including in regions not typically associated with coffee production, such as Australia.


In what could be Australia’s most significant contribution to coffee since the flat white, scientists at Southern Cross University will be testing 20 “climate-resistant” varieties.