Coffee fungus causes prices to rise


POSTED: Monday, May 19, 2014 - 4:41pm

UPDATED: Monday, May 19, 2014 - 8:48pm

A fungus is invading coffee plants in Central America, causing more than $ billion dollars in damage, and the price of your cup of joe to escalate. "This is a terrible thing, its truly a crisis in a number of ways," said Rich Rhinehart, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

It's called 'coffee rust' and its deadly, killing acres of coffee. Rhinehart said, "it was an unexpected outbreak, farmers were ill-prepared for it, institutions were ill-prepared for it, and frankly no one anticipated it would reach that high of altitude." Prices are already on the rise here in the United States, and Rhinehart added you'll see this influx "in specialty stores that feature especially high end coffees, you'll definitely see some price increases, those coffees have become more scarce and more price competitive."

"We do specialty coffees, we draw from the coffees that are made in Central America," said Ellen Winegeart, manager of Grounds for Justice in Tyler. Each cup of freshly brewed coffee at Grounds for Justice, helps provide safe housing for women.They're afraid if prices become to high, they'll have to adjust. Winegeart added, "if we can't make the money that we're making to pay our rent, to collect the money for the girls, then we would have to change. So we would figure out something else that Tyler, Texas would like to eat or drink or whatever."

"This is a threat to that great cup, it's a threat to that interaction, but mostly compellingly its a threat to the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people in Meso-America," said Rhinehart.

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