Millennials' Love of Coffee Could Contribute to a Global Shortage

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Whether it’s the rise of hookup culture or the death of the napkin industry, Millennials are used to taking the blame. Now, it looks like a global coffee shortage could be the latest problem traced back to 19- to 34-year-olds. As Bloomberg reports, young people’s coffee-drinking habits are driving up global demand to record heights

Outlets have been reporting a looming coffee bean shortage all year, and the situation is growing increasingly dire. Since dry weather in Brazil has slowed the country’s crop of Robusta beans used for instant coffee, more companies have turned to Arabica beans as an alternative. But suppliers are struggling to keep up with the demand: During the last week in October, Arabica coffee prices in New York surged to their highest point in 20 months.

Demand for coffee in the U.S. is on its way to reaching record-breaking numbers, and Millennials’ taste for the beverage is contributing to the problem. The generation accounts for roughly 44 percent of the country’s total coffee consumption. According to the National Coffee Association, 48 percent of people aged 18 to 24 and 60 percent aged 25 to 39 drink coffee on a daily basis. Coffee drinkers are also developing the habit earlier in life, with Millennials born after 1995 starting up before age 15 (for comparison, average Millennials on the older end of the spectrum started drinking coffee at age 17).

The pressure Millennials are putting on the industry isn’t limited to the coffee-loving U.S. Markets like Brazil and China are also feeling the effects of their younger populations’ java cravings. Fortunately, stockpiles of unroasted coffee beans can provide coffee companies with a temporary cushion in case demand doesn’t slow down—which it doesn’t appear to be doing any time soon. In the meantime, Millennials might consider cutting down their coffee consumption with some alternative caffeine sources.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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