Reporting Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you need coffee to get you going in the morning, here’s a jolt! The price of coffee beans has hit a 34-year high, and you’re going to be paying for it (see related article).
Part of the reason for the increase is that supply is running low due to the impact of heavy rain on coffee crops in several countries.
“The weather and the rain always impact the supply, and the increased demand, like any product, can cause this kind of pricing,” said Jack Kirshner, who has been in the wholesale business for 34 years.
Kirshner is CEO of Coffeeforless, in East Falls. He says nearly $3 a pound prices mean that after roasting, packaging and distributing, the cost is up to about $7 a pound, meaning that coffee customers could end up paying double for a cup of joe.
Luckily, local coffee roasters say they’ve been able to keep prices fairly steady so far. At La Colombe near Rittenhouse Square, two increases last year (as wholesale prices were climbing) amounted to just pennies per cup, and that couldn’t discourage customers.
Like one coffee drinker said, “The incremental price that it increases is really not that big of a deal, and plus, it’s coffee, so it’s worth it. A good cup of coffee is worth money.”
And at Capriccio Cafe in Center City, a small cup of coffee is still $1.55 and has been for the past three years.
“Luckily, we’ve been really fortunate,” said Capriccio’s manager, Suzanne Barrile. “We have a really good customer base and haven’t really passed the price on to them so far.”
And coffee drinker loyalty is actually one of the forces driving the price increase. Speculators know that no matter how high prices go, we need our coffee.
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Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060; Jericka Duncan, CBS 3