Endangered espresso

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Coffee is grown around the world, from Kenya to Costa Rica, and is the world’s second-most valuable commodity after oil — but it may be in danger of extinction.

According to NEW SCIENTIST, the crops on those far-flung plantations nearly all derive from a handful of varieties of the arabica bean. Because there’s so little genetic variablity among the cultivated plants, they’re highly vulnerable to disease; coffee rust, for instance, devastated the Brazilian crop in the 1970s.

Until now, growers have always been able to get new stock from southwest Ethiopia, the genetic home of the arabica, where there are hundreds of varieties and arabica bushes make up much of the forest undergrowth. In the past 30 years, though, those forests have been cleared for lumber, plantations, and settlement by Ethiopians displaced by drought in other parts of the country. As a result, the forests have been drastically reduced, leaving their future, and that of your morning caffeine jolt, in jeopardy.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate