In coffee country, people don’t need need an extra shot to recognize their future is tough.
On an iconic Indonesian island, powerful forces are eroding an industry that not only helped caffeinate the world, but provided livelihoods for generations and had a significant historical role as a template for economic development. It’s not outlandish to contemplate Java without java.
Climate change has been central to the good times and instrumental to coffee’s discouraging prognosis in Indonesia, the world’s fourth-biggest producer. Crop shortfalls around the globe drove an epic advance last year in the price of beans, a rally that’s cooled in recent months along with retreats in commodity prices. Folks along the coffee chain don’t like the omens. The long-term challenges they describe aren’t limited to Indonesia. The travails are shared, to degrees, by Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia. Ultimately, they will be felt by urbanites in New York, Tokyo, London, anywhere lattes and mocha are a staple of social and professional life — or just surviving a weekend with young kids.