The silicon supply chain crunch is worrying. Now comes a critical concern: A coffee shortage

Droughts and transport bottlenecks reduce supply and hike costs. Can the world survive this crisis?


Between a certain virus, the recession it caused, political turmoil in the USA, and the usual round of strife, the last twelve months have been distinctly sub-optimal.

And now The Register brings you news of a terrifying new crisis: a coffee shortage.

Bloomberg’s Indian outpost Quint details the disaster: droughts in Brazil have crimped supply, even as the ships and containers needed to get the diminished crop to market have become hard to find.

Quint pointed to research from liquidity hub Marex Spectron about the dire state of the market.

Stockpiles of the precious beans are at record lows, coffee futures are spiking faster than your heart rate after a triple-espresso, and the industry is bracing for cost increases.

Your correspondent, for whom a daily large skim milk latte is utterly essential between 08:30 and 09:15, recently sampled a very fine brew prepared from beans grown in a suburban backyard and roasted in a popcorn-making machine. However, advice from gardening site Garden Drum suggests 30 plants, and six years of horticulture, are required to produce sufficient beans for a daily jolt.

If COVID-related lockdowns last long enough to make home-grown home-brew a feasible alternative, we’ll have a lot more problems than coffee shortages. ®


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