Roya Fungus Is Causing Coffee Shortage And Possible Increased Prices

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-The smell and sound of coffee pouring into a cup is something many people demand to start a long work day.

And as workers at PT's Roasting Coffee Company continue to pack coffee bags for customers all over the nation, Co-Founder, Jeff Taylor, can't help but think about the possible upcoming coffee shortage.

" I would say if prices go up it could happen in the next 2-3 months and by next year it will stay high," said Taylor.

The reason of the coffee shortage is a fungus called Roya, which is also known as coffee rust.

"Roya is a fungus that spreads with the wind and it tends to attach itself to old growth leafs of trees and it's devastating to the trees; it will actually cause the trees to lose all their leafs," said Taylor.

And this slowly kills the plant which produces coffee. Controlling the fungus may require 3-6 sprayings of fungicides. And that could be costly for bigger coffee companies needing high volumes of coffee, meaning a likely price increase to consumers.

"Where you will see the problem is the bigger roasters like Folgers and Starbucks may have some problems," said Taylor.

Jeff Taylor says there shouldn't be much of a price difference at PT's because it gets coffee seeds higher up in the mountains where the Roya fungus hasn't reached.