Spit-Take! Coffee Demand Will Outpace Supply In 2020

Ah, let me take a big sip of my hot, fresh mug of coffee and catch up on the latest—oh dear.

The International Coffee Organization found in its November 2019 report that, in all likelihood, more coffee will be consumed than produced in 2020. The ICO—the London-based coffee industry oversight group, under the auspices of the UN—expects a global deficit of 502,000 bags. Look, I was a history major. I'm not a numbers person. But 502,000 bags of coffee sounds like...uh, a lot of bags of coffee.

The growth of coffee consumption has slowed overall, but it's still going up, and demand is higher than ever. That, combined with smaller crop yields caused by bad weather, means that coffee demand is going to be higher than coffee supply in 2020. Specifically, the ICO cites the low output Brazil's Arabica crop had this year, and poor growing conditions in parts of Central America and Asia have also contributed to the problem. In fact, global coffee exports fell 13.4% (to 8.91 million coffee bags, whoa) from October 2018 to October 2019.

This isn't the first bummer coffee news of the week. On Monday, The Takeout reported on how climbing demand and climate-change-related factors like droughts in Honduras have led to a spike in coffee prices, which the recent ICO report confirms. Given the looming coffee deficit, it appears those prices will remain high into the new year.

We can't get our hands on that upcycled molecular coffee fast enough.