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Maybe coffee does not seem threatened when our American grocery stores have shelves lined with gourmet options and there is a coffee shop on every corner, but some people in the coffee industry are concerned about how coffee might change in the next few decades.

Two major factors impact the ongoing success of the coffee industry. The first is climate change and the myriad of problems that it causes in the already limited area of the world that can grow coffee. The second is the genetics of the coffee plants themselves.

Drought and changing weather patterns have not only made some areas less friendly to coffee plants, it has brought new varieties of pests and diseases to coffee plantations. Lacking irrigation systems and the ability to fight off these new attackers, many coffee farmers are forced to watch their crop wither.

Some steps have been taken to reverse this problem. The coffee industry is working together to find solutions to plant disease, help farmers modernize their plantations, and plant new hardy coffee plants.

Those of us who usually only drink coffee, rather than grow it, may also not realize the importance of coffee plant genetics. Since this crop has grown in a limited area for centuries, it is vital that farmers introduce new, healthy plants at a regular rate to avoid crop depletion and poor health. Coffee seed vaults can be found in various places across the globe. They are responsible for storing viable coffee seed that can be used to replenish areas that need it. Some of these seed vaults hold almost 1,000 coffee seed varieties! These vital stores of seeds are required to maintain genetic variety and good health of coffee plants.

Billions of cups of coffee are consumed each day, but did you know how much work goes into making sure we can get it? That’s something to contemplate over a hot cup of coffee.

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