Two and a half billion times per day a human hand reaches for a fresh cup of coffee. Although arguably dispensable for life per se, with an industry value of US$174 billion, coffee provides the lifeblood that sustains economies of producing countries located in the “coffee belt” situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. As a “solvent” in which many human interactions take place, coffee is witness to the broad spectrum of human activities from the mundane to the pleasurable and personal. However, in opposition to its economic, cultural, and physiological importance, diseases such as coffee rust (caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix) dictate activity on stock markets with their periodic epidemics, which in turn affects the migration patterns of displaced farm workers [1]. Other diseases, such as those caused by coffee ringspot virus (CoRSV), currently fly mostly under the radar of many integrated pest management systems. The unique biology of this and related viruses offers exciting research opportunities ranging from cell biology, plant pathology and physiology, conservation ecology, to climate change-related epidemiology. This review highlights important aspects of CoRSV, including its unique features, and examines the potential role of climate change in its emergence (Fig 1).

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Published in PLOS Pathogens, v. 15, no. 1, e1007462, p. 1-6.

© 2019 Goodin, Dos Reis Figueira.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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This publication recognizes support from the Kentucky Science & Engineering Foundation (KSEF-3490-RDE-019) awarded to MG.