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Common Coffee Species Are at Risk of Extinction – Here's What We Need to Do

By Sophie Hirsh

It may be time to stop taking your morning cup of joe for granted. (At the very least, your assistant would surely appreciate it.) According to a new study, the two varieties of coffee that make up most of our consumption — along with a variety of others — are at risk of extinction. And if we don't take action in the near future, certain coffee crops could be extinct in 10 to 20 years.

The study, which was published by Science Advances and conducted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, the University of Nottingham, and Queen Mary University of London, found that 60 percent of coffee species are threatened with extinction. To be specific, of the 124 known coffee species in existence, 13 species are critically endangered, 40 are endangered, and 22 are vulnerable. 35 coffee species are not threatened, and the remaining 14 did not have enough data to draw any conclusions.

Arabica and robusta the are world's most widely-consumed coffee varieties (you've probably seen blurry versions of those words written on coffee bean packages while waiting for your barista to finish brewing your first cup of the day). According to a study published on Nature, arabica makes up 60 percent of global coffee production, and robusta makes up the other 40 percent. So yes, they are both on the list of endangered coffee species.