Climate Change Could Forever Change Your Morning Cup of Coffee

Get ready for Liberica excelsa

So many coffee beans
Climate change is affecting coffee, too.
Mike Kenneally/Unsplash

If you aren’t concerned about climate change yet — but you are a regular coffee drinker — maybe this will change your mind: last month, The Guardian reported on a study indicating that climate change would lead to lower harvests of coffee beans going forward. Do you enjoy drinking plentiful amounts of coffee right now? Well, that might not always be the case.

Writing at the New York Times, Somini Sengupta looked at how some coffee growers in Uganda are pushing back against this trend. Sengupta notes that a variety of coffee, Liberica excelsa, is largely overlooked compared to Arabica and robusta but has an ability to thrive in warming climates that are harsher to its better-known cohorts. And in Uganda, some farmers are embracing this quality and betting on its growing popularity.

As Sengupta explains, Liberica excelsa itself is originally from Central Africa, though a variety of it can also be found in Southeast Asia. The article describes climate change causing robusta harvests to shrink, even as Liberica excelsa harvests remain steady — something that’s also led Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organization to seek out new buyers for this variety of coffee.

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All of which begs the question of what coffee drinkers can expect from a cup of this particular type of coffee. In a 2021 article for Perfect Daily Grind, Isabelle Mani SanMax wrote that “medium-light roasts can produce berry-like and fruity notes, as well as woody and popcorn-like flavours. As the roast gets darker, the bean yields a fuller body with notes of chocolate and cream.” That sounds promising indeed.


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