Africa is the land of origin of Coffea,or the coffee plant belongs to the botanical family Rubiaceae.In recent years, the coffee production trend on this continent has suffered a sharp setback. The cause? Once again climate change. We have tried to take stock of the situation in this article.

The main African coffee-producing countries

The plant of coffee is a tropical plant of which there are at least a hundred different species throughout the world, although the most important for the purpose of marketing coffee are about ten. We have already discussed this in the article The coffee plant.  

In the various African states the methods of cultivation of this plant and those for the production of coffee are different. In Ethiopia, considered the cradle of coffee and the largest exporter of Africa Arabica quality, the method of washing is mainly used. Instead of being naturally dried, the coffee beans are washed and placed on suspended benches covered with sheets. Tunnels are created where the air that passes determines the drying. The coffee produced is distinguished by the typical floral and citrus scents, jasmine and bergamot.

Uganda is, however, the largest African producer of Robusta.In addition to the traditional dry method, the so-called wet method is also used for production. The berries are pulped with the aid of a machine that separates the pulp from the beans. They are then left to ferment in large pools of water for a couple of days. Then it is washed and dried in the sun or in mechanical dryers. Ugandan coffee is typically spicy, characterized by a full aroma and herbaceous notes.

In Kenya theis produced double A quality, the most prestigious, characterized by the greater size of the beans. It is a coffee known for its vinous aftertaste with aromatic notes of lemon and blackcurrant. The “washed” type is produced by cleaning the grains from the outer skin and washing them to remove the layer of pulp that covers the grain. With this procedure the coffee body remains intact.

Although Cameroon produces excellent coffee, both natural and washed Arabica Robusta. An excellent coffee is the one produced by the variety Coffea Charrieriana, among the few of the genus coffea to be caffeine-free by nature.

The effects of climate change

Some scientists have already sounded the alarm: by 2100 East Africa may no longer be able to produce coffee! It is estimated that by 2050 due to global warming , crops will be reduced by 50% to 100% by the end of the century. It will always get hotter and hotter and drier: this will have a profound effect on the microclimate necessary for the coffee plant to survive. In addition, as the temperature rises, the diseases that attack the plant will increase.

Already in the 2016-2017 two-year period, Foreign Agricultural Service data outlined the ongoing negative trend: 11.9 million bags produced compared to 12.9 million in the previous two years. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are the most affected.

To stem the problem, a solution could be to replace the Arabica species, the most delicate, with the Robusta, able to withstand the heat better. It is lost, however, in quality.

If action is not taken immediately, then, in the next few years in the world there will be less coffee, it will be less good and it will cost more.