Is this the last of your latte? Climate change set to hit coffee hard: Research

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
Oleksandr Rupeta | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Climate change could dramatically impact the quality, price and production of coffee, according to a new report.

Extreme weather events and rising temperatures could slash areas where coffee can be grown by as much as 50 percent by 2050, according to Sydney, Australia-based The Climate Institute.

"Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world every day, with nearly half of Australians drinking coffee regularly," John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, said in a statement.

"Yet coffee is just one of a multitude of things increasingly subject to negative climate impacts, and its negative flow-on effects," Connor added.

The paper, A Brewing Storm: The climate change risks to coffee report, was commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand and released on Monday.

The Climate Institute said in a news release that 80 to 90 percent of the 25 million coffee farmers worldwide were "smallholders who are among those most exposed to climate change." The report said that if no "strong" climate action was taken, coffee producing areas could halve in decades, with wild coffee facing potential extinction by 2080.

"Companies such as Starbucks and Lavazza, as well as the International Coffee Organisation, have already publicly acknowledged the severity of climate risks," Connor said. "Consumers are likely to face supply shortages, impacts on flavor and aromas, and rising prices."

Connor went on to say that steps could be taken to mitigate the impact. These included consumers purchasing brands that are carbon- or climate-neutral, and demanding action from coffee companies and governments to ensure that "all products, business models and economies are carbon or climate neutral."

Earlier this year Andrea Illy, chairman of global coffee business illy, told CNBC at Davos that climate change was a threat to coffee production in the medium and long term.

"Coffee is one of the crops which is severely affected by climate change, which is a threat both in terms of too high temperature in some regions when it is produced, (and) a threat in terms of water security – either droughts or excessive rains – in certain other regions," Illy said.

Illy went on to explain that while climate change looks set to impact production, consumption was still growing.

"We predict that we will need twice as much as coffee at least – more probably three times as much – by the end of the century, with less than 50 percent of the land available. I think we have a problem we need to fix."