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Start Hoarding Coffee Beans, Because a Major Shortage May Be Looming

The world needs to produce more coffee — a lot more — to keep up with demand.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Sleepy mornings may become less pleasant in the coming years if one coffee roaster's projections are accurate. Global demand for the planet's favorite caffeinated beverage is rising, especially in emerging markets, and coffee production around the world needs to increase by an extra 40 million to 50 million bags in the next decade to compensate, Andrea Illy of roaster Illycafe SpA told Bloomberg. That's a daunting task, considering those numbers are more than the entire crop Brazil currently produces.

In addition to demand, climate change is reportedly taking its toll on global production. In Central and South America, Brazil, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Mexico are facing crop losses due to rising temperatures. One study published by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture says production may need to move to parts Asia and eastern Africa, where higher altitudes can combat warmer temperatures. China is already making a move into the market, and the country could become a crucial producer in the coming years.

A solution to the issue might not be immediately apparent, but Illy told Bloomberg the industry needs to get to work: "Sooner or later, in months or years, we'll have to make a bold decision about what to do. We don't know where this coffee will come from."

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