This was one of the thoughts racing through my head as I straddled a shivering coffee tree on a steep, crumbly volcanic mountainside in Colombia's Narino district. However, mostly I was thinking: "Don't die! Don't die!"
The "grande gringo" as I became known to my coffee farmer hosts did not fall to his death, but, following my visit, coffee prices did.
In 2012, while I traveled to Honduras and Colombia researching my latest book Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy, the global price for a pound of coffee beans stood at $1.60. By November of 2013, prices fell to $1.00 per pound -- a six-and-a-half year low.
When I read the reports of the low prices, I couldn't help but think of Felipe Ordonez, the Colombian farmer who allowed me to molest his trees. Felipe is a wiry man who bound up and down his sloped mountainside of coffee like a billy goat. Like other farmers around the world, Felipe was concerned about the changing climate. (On my global farming adventure, I met farmers on four continents and not a single one of them was a climate change denier.) His crop, facing wetter wet seasons and drier dry seasons, was threatened by coffee rust and beetles.