My Grandparents grew up during the Great Depression and they started buying a Chicory/Coffee mix to help cut the cost. They were used to drinking coffe all day and night, right up to bed time.
I never could figure out how they got a wink of sleep!
Coffee rust reaches new heights in Central America
Coffee rust first hit Central America in the 1970s. For decades, coffee growers simply coped with the blight and lower yields. But as rust spread to the highlands, the problem demanded action. Last year, Guatemala declared a national emergency, with officials estimating rust had affected 70 percent of the nation's crop.
In neighboring El Salvador, the rate of infection is 74 percent, according to the London-based International Coffee Organization. In Costa Rica, it's 64 percent; in Nicaragua, 37 percent; and in Honduras, 25 percent.
In its April report, the ICO said the average price for coffee hit a two-year high — more than US$1.70 per pound — as market watchers worried about production in Brazil, where severe drought is affecting the world's largest coffee crop, and an El Nino weather pattern is expected to further hurt supply across the region.
The spread of rust has prompted growers to adopt new measures, such as "stumping," the practice of pruning trees of all infected vegetation in hopes of encouraging them to regrow with greater vibrancy. They are also using fungicides and installing shade covers, which appear to help keep the fungus at bay.
Rust also has hit farms in Southern Mexico, which produces much of the region's shade-grown coffee, and where the government is leading a sweeping replanting project.
"We have old, unproductive coffee plantations that haven't been pruned. In some case they're 40 years old," said Belisario Dominguez Mendez, who heads up coffee issues for Mexico's Agriculture Department. "Coffee rust is a good pretext to transform the coffee industry in Mexico," he said, noting the government intends to replace about 20 percent of coffee plants each year, hoping to have them all replaced within five years.
None of that will make rust go away, however.
"It's an issue of managing it, controlling it," Dominguez Mendez said. "We have lived with rust for 30 years, and we will continue living with it for as long as we are around."
In El Salvador, Claudia Herrera de Calderon worries over her family inheritance, two large coffee farms high in the mountains near the Guatemalan border. She has been stumping plants on the two parcels, which total about 500 hectares (1,200 acres) and spraying fungicides. But it's not enough.
"Even if you cut them back, the problem is that with the climate changes we are seeing — the rains, the droughts, the rust — basically, we are looking at the need to replant everything," Herrera de Calderon said.
With little government help, and her farms falling below the break-even point, she has had to lay off workers and lacks the funds needed to replant. And because the fungus spreads so easily, the cautionary steps have to be taken all together, or one farm will simply infect the next.