It feels like this has been a bad year for news from coffee farms. Climate change, theft, violence—and now continuing in this vein, US News and World Reports (via Reuters) reports that there’s a new threat to this year’s Colombian coffee production: clouds.

Cloud cover is expected to have a serious impact on the amount of coffee coming out of Colombia this year. The article notes that the 2016 output of 14.2 million bags was the highest in 23 years, and 2017 was expected to be even better, with a projected output of 14.5 millions bags. But with the cloud cover keeping the sunshine from getting to the coffee trees, estimates have the total output falling below 14 million 60kg bags of green coffee. That’s 30 million kilos, 6.6 million pounds of coffee lost due to cloud coverage.

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From the article:

Colombia’s coffee harvest fell 3 percent in the first half compared with the same period in 2016, to 6.37 million bags, mainly due to rainfall and cloudiness in the producing areas.

“It’s not the water, it’s the cloudiness that prevents the sun getting in, without sunshine the plants don’t bloom and don’t bear fruit,” [Roberto Velez, head of the National Coffee Growers Federation] said.

These projections could impact the 560,000 or so families in Colombia that work on coffee farms and rely on production for their paycheck.

It continues to be an uphill battle for the fate of coffee farms around the world, and this is just another instance highlighting the volatility of coffee production. With estimates that wild coffee will be extinct by 2080 due to climate change and an ever-changing roster of hurdles, the task of keeping coffee alive feels almost Sisyphean. Yet the people working in coffee at origin remain resilient. And for that, we coffee drinkers halfway around the world, removed from the direct impact these issues pose, should be immensely grateful.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

*top image via Raw Material

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