After a year in which any research that was non-pandemic-related seemed almost quaint, the scientific output largely resumed course in 2021.
In peer-reviewed study after peer-reviewed study, the academic world politely presented the industry with the current or likely effects of climate change, poverty among coffee-farming communities, pests and disease and impending supply chain shocks.
These are the comets hurtling directly towards planet Coffee, and they are real.
Meanwhile, on the sunnier side of the desk, researchers explored post-COVID market dynamics, factors affecting coffee quality, and a reimagined vision of the “Third Place.”
Of course, plenty of research was devoted to coffee’s effects on human health, where some more good news came to light in 2021, particularly regarding the habitual consumption of black coffee.
Below is our annual review of science and market research news stories, broken into three general sections: Sustainability; Market/Quality; and Health.
[Editor’s note: This feature is part of our ongoing 2021 year-end coverage. Click here for additional stories, updated daily through Dec. 31.]
Researchers from the British Ecological Society reported “dramatic results” over the two year length of the study, which focused on post-agricultural land in the coffee lands of Costa Rica, a global leader in sustainable agriculture.
Incorporating advanced modeling for climates, topography and soils using specific geographical reference points throughout the Ethiopian coffeelands, the research provides a first-of-its-kind prediction of how specific Ethiopian coffee growing regions will be affected through 2090.
More than two years after the rediscovery of what’s being popularly referred to as the “lost coffee species” — formally Coffea Stenophylla — researchers have triumphantly offered a potential gustatory alternative to the arabica coffee species in the face of long-term climate change.
The troubling findings come from Cenicafé, the Colombian national coffee research institution of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC). The group says it has identified six new races (a.k.a. subspecies) of leaf rust in the country, plus nine new variants of the destructive fungus.
New research focused on Colombia suggests that if current conditions and practices persist, climate change will dramatically reshape where arabica coffee can be grown by the middle part of this century.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause a “severe production crisis” as a complex web of socio-economic factors make conditions worse for smallholder coffee farmers, according to groundbreaking new research.
Despite sweeping claims made by the coffee industry’s corporate giants regarding sustainability accolades, at least 10 of the world’s biggest coffee roasters have failed to guarantee a living income for coffee farmers in their supply chains, according to a new report from the Columbia Center of Sustainable Development.
Nearly half (48%) of all new coffee product launches in 2020 boasted at least one ethical or environmental claim, up from 25% nearly a decade ago in 2012, according to a new report from the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).
While not likely to be transformed by commercial applications any time soon, the six new species are significant considering coffee’s remarkable lack of genetic diversity combined with the fact that many of the world’s wild coffee species are in danger of extinction.
A wide-ranging new study from Fairtrade International suggests that intensifying impacts of climate change will present a financial threat to millions of agricultural producers, including coffee farmers, all over the globe.
While the coffee sector has in many ways taken a leadership role in environmental sustainability, coffee farming continues to be a major cause of deforestation and biodiversity decline in tropical countries, from the Americas across the tropical belt to Australasia.
A new study has concluded that environmental shifts associated with climate change and climate adaptation can indeed affect the quality of coffee. The findings have implications for consumers who prefer higher-quality coffees, farmers and producers who rely on both volume and quality for income, and every other actor in the seed-to-cup nexus.
A kind of specialty-category-focused compendium to the NCA’s annual National Coffee Data Trends publication, released earlier this year, the report illuminates the myriad ways specialty coffee consumption has been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coffee shop as the prototypical “third place” — a place that is not the home (first place) or the workplace (second place), yet provides important social functions — has suffered a series of definitive blows over the past two decades.
The Association’s 28th symposium was available to guests in video format due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — opening up a plethora of valuable information shared by some of the world’s leading scholars, academics, and professional researchers with interests surrounding coffee.
While coffee body in academic and industrial settings is often considered in terms of viscosity, the new research suggests small chemical molecules and our mouths’ receptors may have more to do with the perception of the body than the mere physical viscosity of the brew.
While the specialty coffee industry has continued to gain global market share as compared to its foil, “conventional coffee” or “commodity coffee,” definitions of the term “specialty coffee” have remained largely debatable, blowing around with the prevailing market winds, and subject to individual “I know it when I see it” interpretation.
Out-of-home coffee consumption at coffee shops, workplaces and elsewhere in the United States has seen a dramatic rebound to numbers approximating pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) report from the National Coffee Association (NCA).
You’ve probably heard it before: drinking coffee is good for your health. Studies have shown that drinking a moderate amount of coffee is associated with many health benefits, including a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But while these associations have been demonstrated many times, they don’t actually prove that coffee reduces disease risk. In fact, proving that coffee is good for your health is complicated.
Coffee consumption may be linked to lower risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a review of 16 different studies involving more than 1 million men. The study also suggested that the more coffee men consume, the lower their risk of developing prostate cancer, noting a “relative risk” reduction of about 1% per each additional daily cup.
While the pandemic has caused thousands of small businesses to temporarily close or shutter for good, the disappearance of the corner coffee shop means more than lost wages. It also represents a collective loss of creativity.
Newly published research suggests that consuming caffeinated coffee during the day helps to minimize deficits in attention and brain function caused by sleep loss. There you have it: The entire body of anecdotal evidence of your adult life has been confirmed.
A meta-analysis just published in a journal of the American Heart Association has found that drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day was associated with a significantly decreased risk of heart failure.
Researchers based at the University of Granada in Spain found that the consumption of about 3 milligrams per 1 kilogram of body weight, or “the equivalent of a strong coffee,” ingested half an hour before aerobic exercise significantly increased the rate of fat oxidation in adult men.
Coffee contains within it myriad small miracles, yet the ability to perform brain surgery or even operate a motor vehicle at a high level while deprived of sleep may not be among them.
Consuming coffee is associated with significantly reduced risk of developing chronic liver disease while reducing the risk of dying from liver diseases by nearly half, according to newly published research.
New research suggests daily coffee drinking may be good for long-term heart health, with reduced incidence of stroke, cardiovascular disease and even all-cause mortality (death of any kind).
New research has found that people who drank more than six cups of coffee per day were more than twice as likely to develop dementia than people who drank coffee in moderation.
“We found participants with no memory impairments and with higher coffee consumption at the start of the study had lower risk of transitioning to mild cognitive impairment — which often precedes Alzheimer’s disease — or developing Alzheimer’s disease over the course of the study,” said lead researcher Samantha Gardener of Australia’s Edith Cowan University (ECU).
A randomized trial designed to understand the real-time, short-term effects of caffeinated coffee consumption found good news and bad news for coffee drinkers.
Daily coffee consumption may significantly reduce the formation of kidney stones, according to a study recently published in the United States National Kidney Foundation‘s (NKF) American Journal of Kidney Diseases.