Months after we all started fretting over the prospect of a global coffee shortage, it seems we might actually start to feel the caffeine-related effects of Brazil's massive drought and Central America's coffee fungus, in the form industry-wide retail price increases.
For now, retail prices for coffee are stable. Roasters typically have enough supplies to cover themselves for a few months. But if the price of the Arabica (pronounced uh-RAB-ick-uh) beans continues to rise, consumers could start seeing the cost of their morning coffee creep up later this year.
And that's exactly what appears to be happening. Starbucks said today that consumers at more than 7,100 stores in the U.S. should expect prices on some drinks to jump by 5 to 20 cents each. According to Reuters, grande and venti coffees will be 15 to 20 cents more expensive at most locations. The cost of a grande coffee hasn't risen in nearly four years.
Starbucks will also increase the prices of bags of whole and ground coffee beans sold at other locations by about $1 per bag.
The company made its announcement soon after Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis said that "coffee prices will go up a little bit in our stores, but not by much." J.M. Smucker, which owns Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts supermarket brands, said that it also plans on raising coffee prices by about 9 percent.
Many Americans, however, seem to have already adjusted their habits to avoid the effects of the shortage, drinking less cups of straight joe and more espresso-based drinks. Reuters reports:
The number of American adults who enjoy a daily cup of coffee has dropped to 61 percent this year, from 63 percent in 2013... The popularity of espresso-based coffee drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes, however, jumped with 18 percent of the 3,000 adults surveyed saying they drink these daily. This is up from 13 percent last year....
And, Reuters adds, more drinkers are brewing single-serve coffee at home:
The way Americans are brewing their own coffee has also changed, with 29 percent of the survey respondents saying they made their previous day's java with a single-cup brewer. This is up sharply from 20 percent in 2013.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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