Kathleen Pierce reports in The Boston Globe that the price of coffee beans is at a historic high, as droughts and heavy rain in the world’s leading coffee-producing regions limit supply, while a growing taste for coffee over tea in Asia fuels demand.
Restaurants and cafes have raised their prices, tacking on anywhere from 5 to 20 cents a cup in recent weeks. The escalating price of the popular Arabica bean has affected almost all coffees, from Maxwell House to organic blends.
“I’ve been here for five years, and this is the most significant increase,’’ said Dave Maffucci, a barista for a Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Wellesley, one of five locations the chain has in Massachusetts. Two weeks ago the price of a large cup of joe went up 20 cents to $2.25, a 10 percent jump.
So far, few business owners have reported a decline in sales or a customer backlash. Coffee drinkers, it seems, are a loyal — or addicted — bunch.
“Even during the Great Depression, coffee sales didn’t drop,’’ said Meghan Hubbs, co-owner at Equal Exchange, a West Bridgewater fair-trade roaster and importer that supplies beans to 70 cafes and restaurants in the state and owns cafes in Boston and Seattle.
Some big chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s have been able to hold down prices because they buy in bulk and their size gives them purchasing power.
And in some cases, franchisees absorb the costs.
Clayton Turnbull, who owns 18 Dunkin’ Donuts in Greater Boston, has not raised his prices since the beginning of the year. “We’ve taken a hit and hope we can outrun the trend,’’ he said. His strategy is to lure customers in with other products to offset the increase.
But many coffee vendors have gone with price hikes, another hit for consumers who are already faced with record-high food and fuel costs.
Read More: The Boston Globe