The recession in Europe has changed what kind of coffee southern European residents drink in their sidewalk cafes. And it provides a lesson in the economic law of supply and demand.
Per capita consumption of coffee remains the highest in the world, but the cheaper and bitterer robusta bean is taking over from the arabica. Robusta beans are also easier to grow. Robustas are often used in instant coffee and are blended with the more expensive arabica beans to make them go further.
The result has been a decline in price and demand for the arabica beans, and a subsequent increase in the value of the previously cheaper robustas.