Food & Drink

Massive El Niño Might Push Coffee Prices Up More Than 100%

Published On 09/04/2015 Published On 09/04/2015
Lee Breslouer/Thrillist

Think El Niño is just a threat to the West Coast? Think again.

A potentially record-breaking El Niño is brewing in the Pacific and could spell bad news for coffee growers in Africa -- and ultimately, coffee drinkers. While the tropical weather phenomenon might bring needed precipitation -- and even flooding -- to drought-stricken California, some fear a powerful El Niño will also result in "torrential" rainfall in key African coffee growing regions like Uganda, which might mess with coffee crops, according to a report by Bloomberg.

El Niño is known to cause dramatic shifts in precipitation and temperature around the world due to unusually warm surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. Experts think areas of eastern Africa -- home to the continent's largest coffee producer, Uganda -- will see a deluge of rainfall and severe flooding, TIME reported. Too much moisture could interfere with how the coffee plants flower and prevent the coffee beans from drying properly after they're harvested. These factors, economists said, will potentially skyrocket coffee prices up as much as 107%.

However, as the Bloomberg report points out, big coffee companies like Starbucks secure their coffee bean supplies "far enough in advance," so it's unclear how the weather event could impact how much you'll have to cough up for a cup. In case you forgot, Starbucks already raised the price of several drinks in July.

Doesn't El Niño know better than to mess with our coffee addiction?

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and loves saying El Nino. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.



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