Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
Where I Live
A-Z Index
 Find Out
 The Team

Contact Us

  The real cost of coffee
Updated 01 May 2003, 17.08
Coffee beans

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Globalisation - environmental implications

Demand for cheap coffee threatens rhinos, elephants and tigers according to the Wildlife Conservation Society .

A quiz and design an advertising campaign.

Learning aims

  • Example of habitat destruction and species extinction

  • How global trade can damage the environment

Read the story:

Explain the global demand for coffee

Around the world 400 billion cups of coffee are drunk each year. Coffee grows on a small tree, it takes one tree a year to produce 2.2 kg of beans. It can take 40 beans to produce just one cup of espresso. There are 200,000 coffee bars in Italy alone. All of this means a massive demand for coffee

Quiz on coffee and the environment
* = right answer

[1] Coffee was probably first discovered in which country?

  • Brazil
  • Ethiopia*
  • Columbia

    [2] Coffee is the world's most popular beverage how many cups drunk each year

  • 400 billion*
  • 400 million
  • 400 squillion

    [3] Growing coffee is a giant global industry, how many people does it employ?

  • Half a million
  • 2 million
  • 20 million*

    [4] How many cups of coffee did the famous philosopher Voltaire drink each day?

  • 50*
  • 10
  • 30

    [5] Which is the world's most expensive coffee bean?

  • Jamaican blue mountain*
  • Brazilian cordeillera gold
  • Columbian black seal

    [6] Buying Fairtrade coffee means that;

  • You get cheap coffee
  • The grower gets a good deal
  • You both get a good deal*

    [7] 57 % of a raw coffee bean is not needed, what happens to a lot of the waste pulp?

  • Gets thrown in rivers causing pollution*
  • Fed to animals
  • Made into cheap supermarket coffee

    [8] Growing coffee can cause which of these environmental problems?

  • Deforestation
  • Pesticide pollution
  • Soil erosion
  • Water pollution
  • All of these*

    [9] Clearing trees to grow coffee reduces the number of birds in an area by how much?

  • 27%
  • 57%
  • 97%*

    Quick fun online activity on our favourite cuppas

    Main activity

    Marketing exercise for 'eco- coffee'

    Students working in groups devise a marketing campaign for a new brand of coffee, grown in a less environmentally damaging way.

      Elements of the campaign

      1. Think of a name and logo
      2. Script for a radio advert
      3. Advert for teen magazines
      4. Storyboard a TV advert
      5. A club style flyer
      6. A promotional event

      Information to get across

    • The new coffee is grown in the shade of trees. This means the forest is only partially cleared so some of the habitat survives.
    • The coffee costs more than normal brands, but buying it helps protect the environment.
    • The waste pulp and water from preparing the beans is disposed of without causing pollution.
    • The coffee plants used to grow in the shade require less fertilizer and pesticide than those grown in the sun.
    Extension activity
    If time allows students can present their ideas to the group and get feedback.

    Which other goods and services have a price that does not include their environmental cost
    Prompt: Transport, energy, water, fossil fuels, almost everything.

    Teachers' Background

  • A study by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society says that large areas of Indonesian lowland forest are being cut down to make way for coffee plantations.

  • Between 1996 and 2001, 28% more land was cleared to make way for coffee growing, says their report.

  • About 70% of Lampung's coffee production occurs inside and adjacent to Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park - one of the few remaining strongholds of Sumatran tigers, elephants and rhinoceros.

  • Between 1962 and 1989 coffee production was regulated by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) with strong support from the United States.

  • In 1989, the US left the ICO and the international agreements expired.

  • Throughout the 1990s, coffee production accelerated - especially in Indonesia and Vietnam - while prices plummeted, creating a coffee crisis. Meanwhile, Western consumption and demand for coffee continued.
    For all links and resources click at top right.

  • Watch/ListenBORDER=0
    Hear story!Hear story!

    More InfoBORDER=0
    PicturesIn pix: Rare rhinos
    Find OutAnimals in danger guide
    GamesPlay the hero in Poacher Patrol
    ChatChat about animals
    QuizEndangered animals quiz


    Past StoriesBORDER=0
    Rare rhinos on road to recovery
    Rhinos under new threat
    Sumatran tiger could be extinct in 12 years
    We have to stop elephants dying out


    Web Links
    International Rhino Foundation
    World Wildlife Fund
    Friends of the Earth
    People's Trust for Endangered Species
    Note: You will leave CBBC. We are not responsible for other websites.



    E-mail this page to a friend

    Full Teachers Section
    WALES curriculum relevance
    NORTHERN IRELAND curriculum relevance
    ENGLAND curriculum relevance
    SCOTLAND curriculum relevance
    Quiz: Test yourself on rainforests
    Global warming guide
    How green is your school? Tell Citizen X
    © BBC Back to top^^
    Homepage | UK | World | Sport | Music | TV/Film | Animals | Sci/Tech | Weather
    Pictures | Find Out | The Team | Games | Chat | Vote | Win | Quiz | Club