Bournemouth-based baristas are worried over a new report that claims half of the world’s coffee plants could go extinct.
A report from the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, published in Science Advance, claimed that 60% of the 124 known species of wild coffee are at risk of dying out.
A further report, in Global Change Biology, goes on to assert that the main coffee producing variety – Coffea Arabica – would also be hit significantly.
It is feared that the dying out of wild coffee species, which are not normally drunk in beverages, will have an adverse effect on the main species.
This is because wild coffee species help increase genetic diversity and help prevent the spread of diseases which affects regular coffee.
Lewis Vincent, manager of South Coast Roast in Bournemouth, says: “It’s [the extinction] going to make it harder to have a lot of coffee shops.
“I guess we’ll find ways to adapt – to find different coffee, to get different flavours from the beans we have. But it could halt the trade of the coffee trade out here.”
According to Ben Blades, manager of Bajan Brew Bros in Bournemouth, the reason for this dire situation is because of people’s coffee drinking habits.
Ben says: “People taste different coffees, and just add loads of sugar to it. They don’t necessarily drink the coffee, they just have it for what it does. If you try and eliminate that, I think that would cut half the costs of why people drink it.
“If you go look in these massive franchise coffee shops, you get a ginger nut latte or a caramel macchiato – you’re not tasting it. It’s not coffee necessarily itself.”
Bajan Brew Bros and South Coast Roast both say they ‘proudly serve’ locally roasted coffee. Lewis says it will be tough for new independent shops to come up if the report’s findings turn out to be true.
Ben, whose shop is also independent, says many people will not be concerned by the report because they don’t actually like the taste of coffee itself.
“I find a lot of people don’t really necessarily like the flavour too much of coffee. They prefer more of the idea of it. In the morning, people have a coffee to almost wake them up. But they don’t necessarily like the flavour of it. So it’s hard to say solutions-wise.”
In that regard, Ben says an alternative drink to simply wake people up would be a good solution.
Ben also called on franchises to step up and rectify the situation. He says: “People with lots of money have to do something about it – the Starbucks, the Costas, these massive companies. I can’t do anything – I’m a small person. If you got loads of money, there’s loads of things you can do.
“They obviously need to do something about it cause they’re the ones using it all. Their businesses are at that point that they’re the ones rinsing through the coffee. They’re the ones who created it.
“Create good coffee that limits people to having one a day that does the same thing that people have 3 a day for. That will help.”
The report says ‘targeted action’ is urgently required to save coffee. Maybe some of that is down to consumers’ habits.
Words by Akshay Kulkarni