BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Wednesday is National Coffee Day. As it wakes you up in the morning, a Burlington cafe says it does more than that.
“It’s a fun day. We can play with our coffee products, ”said Richard Vaughn, owner of Perky Planet.
For Vaughn, coffee is more important than caffeine.
“I appreciate it as a catalyst for people to come together and get to know each other in an environment for everyone involved,” said Vaughn.
This is the environment Vaughn says he tries to foster and there is a lot of it in Vermont.
“It’s booming, it’s a really booming economy,” said Dan Cox, president of Coffee Enterprises.
The Hinesburg company tests and studies coffee.
Cox says the brave little state of Vermont has a robust coffee selection that he has seen grow in his 40s. But he says we won’t be immune to year-end problems.
“When Brazil sneezes, everyone catches a cold so to speak,” Cox said.
Brazil grows around 30-35% of the world’s coffee, Cox said, but experienced a prolonged drought and two frosts in July that significantly weakened the product.
Because coffee is an agricultural product, bad weather can mean a bad year.
“So if you are a heavy Brazilian coffee user you could say I might not get as much as I need from Brazil so you switch and buy coffees from other countries. As soon as you do that, the price of those coffees also goes up, and then you add more. Then you also have to add the effects of COVID, they don’t necessarily have enough workers to pick the coffee, then once it’s picked, process the coffee, then once it’s processed, bring it in ships to ship it, ”said Helmsman.
But this is only in the short term.
“It’s here, it’s not going to go away and there are certain areas, certain geographic areas that are going to be totally devastated,” Cox said.
The threat he says is climate change. Warmer and drier years, especially in Africa, Central America and parts of Asia, could threaten producers or force an adjustment, which means higher prices.
Cox says if you like coffee, it’s important to be careful.
“We don’t think too much about the climate day in and day out, until we have these hurricanes, until we have these droughts,” Cox said.
He says when this happens, it’s important to understand the connection to products like coffee.
Back in Burlington, Vaughn says the coffee is just too precious. The best mug he ever had could have been six years old and freeze dried, but it was the last mug he shared with his mother. So when you pour a cup-o-joe, it encourages you to share it.
“The most important thing about coffee is enjoying it with someone you love, someone you want to get to know,” Vaughn said.
Cox says he respects decaffeinated drinkers who often pay more and get less and still love the product.
A few places will have deals to celebrate National Coffee Day, so check to see if your morning cup is free.
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