Cold weather has caused coffee growers on the Tablelands to experience a crop shortage. Cruze Coffee Barista Tomas Kubinec is pictured with the last of the local coffee in supply at the store. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Cold weather has caused coffee growers on the Tablelands to experience a crop shortage. Cruze Coffee Barista Tomas Kubinec is pictured with the last of the local coffee in supply at the store. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Coffee crop plunges as big chill takes toll

FAR North Queensland coffee growers and retailers are feeling the pressure as cold weather across the region has resulted in a shortage of the highly sought after product.

Owner of Cruze coffee in Cairns, Gilberto Risa, has a coffee shortage due to cold snaps affecting crops and an increased demand.

He gets his beans from Howe Farming coffee plantation at Walkamin and said he had to wait until the next harvest in September to get more coffee. But that's only if the crop isn't further affected by cold weather.

"This is the first year that it's happened because the demand of coffee has gone up," he said. "We've been out for the last two to three months due to the fact that last crop they couldn't produce enough for us.

"This latest cold snap is probably going to make us run out of coffee next year even earlier, even though every year they plant more trees.

"We are very saddened by it because there's a lot of customers that rely on the local coffee and at the moment we can't satisfy it. And with the latest frost, it's going to be even worse."

Mr Risa said not only would the coffee shortage affect growers and retailers, but the region and local industry as a whole.

"It's more than just the customer in the morning that comes for the coffee, it's more than just the person that comes and takes a packet of our coffee home, the one that suffers the most is Cairns and the region," he said.

"That's because our local coffee goes all over Australia and all over the world with the brand Cairns, Tablelands, Australia, Cruze coffee, Jaques, Skybury and all the other local brands on it. That is a marketing missed opportunity that we now have."

Guy Gowan, who owns Domigo Coffee, which is grown at Mutchilba, said his crop was also being affected by cold weather.

"It will be a long picking season as the cold weather has stopped the coffee from maturing evenly," he said.

"One variety is still green but we have been able to harvest areas as they ripen."

Mr Risa said locally grown products such as coffee were an essential part of the region's economy.

"In the short-term farmers are losing their margins and retailers like us are missing out on selling our coffee, but the bigger picture is that we lose out in marketing this region to the world," he said.