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Here's why there's a coffee shortage around the world right now

coffee bean shortage
(Image credit: Pexels)

Coffee lovers may be feeling a pinch soon because their favorite drink is becoming more expensive and difficult to find. Global coffee prices surged by 21.6% in 2021, reaching its highest peak in four years, and experts suggest this might just be the start. But, why exactly is there a coffee shortage right now? The answer lies in the world's biggest exporter of the bitter bean; Brazil. 

Brazil has been experiencing a considerable drought throughout its usual wet season this year. The crisis was first reported by Bloomberg way back in May, but has since been compounded by frosts and the additional shipping strains that many businesses are feeling. During this drought, some of the biggest coffee farms on the planet received under half of the usual rainfall they were expecting, dramatically reducing the season's harvest.

Not all coffee has been affected, however, Arabica plants are the most widely damaged crops — the kind of coffee usually bought by brands like Starbucks. That means there are many coffee roasters and cafes feeling the strain along the supply chain. 

Roasters are paying more for their wholesale beans before moving them on to coffee shops and brands, which in turn ups the price of a simple cup of Joe. At the moment, price increases are fairly negligible for the consumer. However, the surge in costs could start to seriously threaten smaller cafes and roasters in the middle.

Coffee isn't the only commodity feeling the strain of the last two years. Supply chain issues are also making a range of common grocery items difficult to find right now. Ben & Jerry's ice cream, diapers, toilet paper, and chicken are all facing shipping and labor difficulties as well. 

We're rounding up all the best Cuisinart coffee makers for those after an affordable drip pot. Or, check out the best Keurigs on the market right now. We're also getting you prepped for this year's Black Friday coffee makers deals with all the cheap coffee makers you can expect to see on sale in November.

Tabitha Baker

Tabs is a deals editor on our sister site TechRadar. She spends most of her time searching for the best prices on top consumer tech, but has also written about everything from flower delivery to mattresses. Happiest with a DualSense controller in her hand, she's also contributed to GamesRadar and T3 and specializes in gaming hardware and computing.