Red, White, and Brew

Sep 24, 2021

Your morning brew may soon look a little more red, white, and blue.

Thanks to some enterprising farmers, a forward-thinking American coffee company, and a changing climate, coffee farms are popping up in Southern California—and this may be just the beginning.

Give me the venti: It’s no surprise that the U.S. leads the world in the consumption of coffee (I’ll take another refill, please). Yet the U.S. produces only .01% of the world’s coffee crop.

And until recently, nearly all of that was grown in Hawaii, thanks to that sultry tropical climate that coffee trees love.

But times (and the climate), they are-a-changin’.

Mainland bound: Frinj Coffee, the California-based specialty coffee company, partners with java-loving farmers and provides them with seedlings, post-harvest processing, and marketing services.

Their latest partnership, with the Smith Hobson Ranch of Ventura, just added 20,000 coffee trees to the Golden State.

But wait, there’s more: Back east, scientists at the University of Florida are currently piloting a coffee plantation in an effort to determine if the crop can survive and thrive in the Sunshine State.

California and Florida, notably, don’t have the historical climate preferred by coffee trees, but unique irrigation and interplanting techniques, along with the warming climate, are making sustainable growing more possible.

Where this goes: With drought and freezing temperatures wreaking havoc on Brazil’s coffee crop, and Vietnam dealing with a major COVID outbreak (cue the broken record), the world’s #1 and #2 coffee producers are having a hard time topping off those lattes. That, paired with warmer northern temps may result in “Product of USA” stamped on your bag of coffee sooner rather than later.