THE UK could face a coffee shortage because of the coronavirus lockdowns in South America.
There are growing concerns that restrictions on movement, reduced working hours and bank closures will cause a labour shortage on the coffee farms, particularly in Colombia, Brazil and Peru.
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The continent supplies two thirds of the world’s coffee and over half of the UK’s imports, leaving caffeine-addicts in the lurch.
Production was already predicted to drop this year due to smaller harvests, reports the Financial Times, with stockpiles leftover by last year’s bumper harvest to plug the gap.
But a labour shortage could cause the surplus to shrink or be wiped out for next season.
Panic buying and stockpiling ahead of the coronavirus lockdown has also driven down reserves.
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One supplier said that it had sold 800,000 bags of coffee beans this year compared with 360,000 at the same time last year.
And as parts of Asia are starting to see life return to normal as lockdowns are slowly lifted, suppliers are seeing demand increase, putting more strain on production.
The head of Colombia’s Coffee Growers Federation said that there “is a shortage” of the arabica beans, which are grown in South America.
Even though some farms in Brazil use machines to collect the beans, many, such as the ones in Colombia, are still picked by hand.
Workers typically travel to the farms during harvest season, which is due to start next month, but often live in close conditions.
Understandably, many are avoiding the farms to decrease their risk of catching the virus by living in close quarters as many other workers.
The UK also imports coffee beans from Vietnam, Indonesia and Ethiopia but in smaller supplies.
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People are coming up with creative ways of making their coffees at home while they’re not able to head out to a cafe for their usual pick-me-up.
Whipped coffee is the latest trend that’s taking social media by storm – and it’s pretty easy to make yourself.
Some people are even making coffee fruit cakes in their slow cookers and it only requires three ingredients.
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