Every morning, millions of Americans start their day with a jolt of coffee to help them wake up. Coffee beans, grown in temperate climates, usually within 10-degrees on either side of the Equator, are a massive industry for countries in South America, Central America and on the African continent. The weakness of the coffee industry directly relates to abnormalities in the weather during the peak growing season.
Coffee bean consumption first appeared in recorded history in Ethiopia around 850 C.E..; 400 years later, coffee trees were cultivated in Arabia and a boiled beverage becomes popular. Constantinople opened the first in a long series of coffee houses for gentlemen in 1475, and after that, the popularity and use of coffee spread to Europe and then to the rest of the world. By 1900, workers began taking coffee breaks and fashionable women gathered to drink coffee and share companionship.
Coffee produced from Arabica beans is the most popular variety in the world. Cheaper coffee beans, such as Canephora, are sometimes combined with Arabica beans to produce a less expensive coffee blend. More coffee beans come from Brazil than any other nation, with Vietnam and Columbia taking second and third place, respectively.
In 2004, the coffee industry accepted the Fair Trade Act, which instituted a pre-determined price for coffee beans for all growers. This strengthened the economy of small villages that were dependent upon coffee as a major industry as it gave them the opportunity to sell their beans for the same price the corporate coffee farms received.
The coffee industry worldwide is dependent on global weather. A dry growing season around the Equator is the biggest factor in an unstable coffee market. Studies conducted by medical researchers impact the coffee industry every time a new one comes out. Fortunately for coffee growers, recent studies indicate coffee may be beneficial in treating Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease and gout. However, it may also contribute to temporary hardening of the arteries and lead to a magnesium deficiency.
As more results of the health benefits of drinking coffee in moderation become public, industry experts predict a growing diversity in the methods of coffee consumption. On the down side, the increased cost, in both machinery and labor, to produce these specialty blends, reduces the number of customers who will purchase the product. The goal is to reach a happy medium of introducing new beverages while controlling costs.