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Climate change is being blamed for lots of awful things – warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, drought – and threatening our coffee supply. That’s right, our coffee supply. Rising temperatures and the amount of rainfall may limit the areas where coffee can grow, scientists say.

Up to now, I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to global warming. Think about it. We live in a swamp. It’s August. It’s Houston. It’s hotter than hot.

And then I came across a study by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. No, I don’t regularly peruse the scholarly topics published by CIAT as it’s called in the agriculture biz, but I do skim a terrific online British publication called The Guardian, and there it was.

The headline screamed, “Coffee catastrophe beckons as climate change threatens arabica plant.” Screaming headlines and the word coffee always attract my attention. I love the stuff. Most humans bleed red. A few think they bleed blue. I bleed coffee. Yes, I drink that much.

Articles about coffee pique my interest. Articles about coffee catastrophes send chills up my spine. In a nutshell, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia, which produce 65 percent of all our arabica, will have trouble growing those precious beans because the coffee plant is particularly sensitive to temperature increases. That study recommends changing coffee’s genetics so it’ll grow in the warmer climate.

Changing coffee’s genetics sounds creepy and unnatural. I was depressed.

And then the New York Times came to my rescue. My favorite news source – next to The Tribune, of course – reports there is a new crop growing in Southern California’s famous avocado groves – coffee! California avocado farmers are getting a lot of competition from Mexico and they’re having trouble getting enough water for their avocado plants.

One of the avocado farmers figured out that those avocado trees provide perfect shade for coffee beans. The Times says that he’s been growing coffee under his avocado trees for more than 10 years and his fellow avocado farmers have started to notice.

You laugh? Listen, coffee reduces your chance of dying. There’s research that says four cups of coffee a day reduce the risk of death from any cause by 16 percent. Three cups a day reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 21 percent. The American Journal of Epidemiology published the research so it must be true.

And don’t even get me started on how coffee reduces the risk of cancer, helps you lose weight, is thought to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, lowers your risk of diabetes, cleans up the liver and “brightens your day…” according to a study from The Archives of Internal Medicine.

If climate change threatens my coffee consumption, then I’m worried about climate change. Fortunately, once again, California, and those California avocado farmers, have come to our rescue.

I know it’s true. The New York Times told me so.

You’ve heard about the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. It’s coming to my Mom’s backyard – a total eclipse – so we’re headed to Alliance, Neb. to see what all the fuss is about. And you’ll get a full report right here!

Do you have a meat dish you think needs reviewing? Email me. I’ll send Ted Mandel. He’ll eat it. Reach me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.