>> Latin America takes it's coffee seriously. Case in point, in Costa Rica, farmers there plant only the high end and more flavorful Arabica bean. And since 1988, it's been illegal to plant the cheaper, more bitter variety, Robusta. But now a growing number of farmers in quality coffee growing nations like Nicaragua and Guatemala are dedicating more land to the beans cheaper cousin, Robusta.
Reuter's Mercy Nicolson lays out the reasons why.>> One is because of climate change. Temperatures are getting warmer. Arabica trees do not do as well in the high temperatures that bring about a lot of insects and crop disease. The other is that there's increased amount for Robusta consumption.
Robusta is used in instant coffee. There's increasing consumption in Asian countries. It's also used as a cheaper component in roasted blends with Arabica coffee. So there's a demand there. The third reason is that it's seen as a good alternative crop in low lying areas. For example, in Nicaragua, vegetable root farmers, have started growing Robusta because it brings in a better profit for them there.
>> Still, in countries like Columbia and Costa Rica, some have feared shifting to the lowbrow bean will spoil their reputation as suppliers of the world's best coffee. But expansions of Robusta appear well-timed. According to the US Department of Agriculture, demand for all coffee worldwide is on track to reach a record this year.
Arabica accounts for roughly 60% of the world's beans. The more bitter and less flavor for Robusta accounts for the rest. And they don't call it Robusta for nothing. It's more durable and disease resistant which is increasingly important in a changing climate. A cold bitter truth for a warming world.