Scientists from the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, in the UK, published a study that coffee is officially considered endangered, as 60 percent of the 124 known species in the world are threatened with extinction because of deforestation, diseases, and climate change.
Arabica, responsible for around 70 percent of the world’s supply of coffee, is included in the endangered list. This particular coffee is noted for being difficult to grow, since it cannot survive under intense heat and droughts (products of climate change).
Head of coffee research at Kew and lead author of the Science Advances paper, Aaron Davis, shares, “Among the coffee species threatened with extinction are those that have potential to be used to breed and develop the coffees of the future, including those resistant to disease and capable of withstanding worsening climatic conditions.
“The use and development of wild coffee resources could be key to the long-term sustainability of the coffee sector. Targeted action is urgently required in specific tropical countries, particularly in Africa, to protect the future of coffee,” he adds.
We may not drink these wild variants directly (because we only drink farm-grown coffee), however, they are utilized to genetically enhance the ones we do consume against insects, diseaser, and warmer climates.
Losing wild coffee species will ultimately deal a huge blow on the world’s coffee production, considering that mainstream coffees will also eventually succumb to unfavorable environmental pressures.
You can check which coffee species are endangered here.