A Coffee Crisis?

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A Coffee Crisis?

We have officially made it to Friday, and, like 56% of Americans, most of us here at Echo started off each and every morning with a coffee or two.  Quite a few of us may have even kicked off the afternoon with an additional cup.  The world’s coffee obsession is palpable; whether it be iced, hot, a shot of espresso, lots of cream and sugar, or just black, we like our coffee.  There are songs about coffee obsession, lifehacks for your cup of joe, mugs in every single shape and size imaginable, even t-shirts expressing a distaste for literally everyone until you’ve had enough coffee (i.e. “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee”).  Coffee, or more specifically, caffeine has been shown to improve performance in Athletes, including power output of cyclists, speed of runners, and height of jumps in skilled basketball players. Even Google celebrated Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge’s 225th birthday today, and although he isolated an early treatment for malaria, quinine, developed a technique to dye clothing, and researched the effects of Belladonna (commonly known as Deadly Nightshade), he’s most well known for isolating caffeine from a bag of coffee he was given as a gift.  From the first sip, we have been hooked on caffeine and it’s effects.

I’ll be honest, we had a panic moment at the office this week when we ran out of coffee.  Once new supplies were delivered, we hoarded some in different spots around the office just in case.  Unfortunately, Echo isn’t the only place where there is a coffee scare, this obsession is catching up with us all.  A recent study has found that 60% of coffee species are close to extinction now.  This is bad for coffee drinkers, it’s bad for the environment, and when you look at the estimated 100 million small farms around the globe and consider what a huge industry we are dealing with, it’s bad for individuals and the economy.  The idea of running out of coffee has become so realistic that one company has even developed a bean free coffee.  How?  They won’t tell us!  There are quite a few factors that are threatening your favorite morning drink; global warming, deforestation, and different pathogens are all pushing the plant to the brink.  There is always a chance that new species will come through resistant to the pathogens, and able to handle freezes and droughts, but it would be even better if we took some action against the those threats ourselves.