So, I noticed this article detailing the shortage of Arabica beans on the Wall Street Journal site earlier today and thought it might be interesting to discuss in a blog post.

I’m not really sure the details on Arabica vs. Robusta, but I’ve always heard that Robusta is the inferior product and has a more bitter taste (although twice as much caffeine for those of us that turn to coffee for that). I have seen roasters that advertise their blends as 100% Arabica, but I am not really sure the difference in taste myself. What I am pretty sure about is that all of the roasters I order from us at least some Arabica beans.

I’m not sure what  that means in terms of the taste of my favorite blends, but I think the big concern is that if roasters want to deliver the same (or better, since some roasters are always getting better) quality of blends that means they have to make a choice between affordability or raising prices for us, the consumers. Otherwise they won’t be able to make a profit.

My main question is how much of a hike we can expect, if it’s something like a few additional cents or so per bag, most of us won’t feel the pinch too bad, but I have the feeling it might be a bit more substantial than that if they don’t find a solution soon.

Now, it’s probably only a short term problem, because one can hope that conditions will improve, but I’m curious to hear from you and maybe some of the roasters that read these posts (are there any?) about their game plan or what you as consumers think will happen in the near future with coffee prices.
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Comments

Submitted by jbviau on
Any idea on how to circumvent their online paywall? Can't read the whole article. Anyway, I'm not worried much about price, but I'll be curious (like you) to see what happens.

Submitted by EricBNC on
<br>prices will trend - trend being the key word - lower in short order - coffee production is ramping up to cash in on the high prices - increased supply equals lower prices sooner rather than later - good coffee will always demand a premium.

Submitted by Chamie on
...mostly the cheaper coffees in terms of coffee quality, because they're the ones who mix in robusta to bring the cost down. For those of us who drink mostly coffee from specialty roasters, we'll probably see a price increase with little difference in quality. Based on some of what I've read about the changing climate around the coffee belt, it may take a little while for coffee production to adjust. In a lot of mountainous areas, coffee production at lower elevations is dropping while the elevation at which coffee grows well is creeping upward. It's an interesting dynamic that I've been watching closely because it ties into my other main writing area, environmental concerns and renewable energy.

I'm hoping that we will not see too much of a price hike. Hopefully, the farmers will be able to catch up with the demand for great coffee.

Submitted by yeahyeah on
I'm fine with price increases so long as the farmers can improve their take as prices go up.

Well typically coffee has been boom and bust cycles, prices have already come down off of highs. A lot of this is just based on weather so we will see what happens.

I am hoping that the price won't be increasing too much. But as many people had mentioned, the coffee price cycles year to year. Let's hope for the best.

Submitted by wakeknot on
I do wonder how coffee prices affect consumption. Economists often assume consumers are rational, and I am fairly certain that this is not true.

Submitted by Gazy on
Back in the mid-50s, the price of green coffee beans in the market was really soaring, because it went from less than $1/lb to almost $2/lb. Today, 60-odd years later, the market price is around $2.20/lb. A mere 10% increase in the price that the exporter of green beans receive. Of course, the farmer ges less than that. Meanwhile, the price of fertilizers, tractors, gasoline, steel for tools, clothing, etc. -meaning all the stuff that the farmer needs- have soared much more than the 10% increase in the price of green beans. The defense rests.

Coffee getting more expensive?

| by

So, I noticed this article detailing the shortage of Arabica beans on the Wall Street Journal site earlier today and thought it might be interesting to discuss in a blog post.

I’m not really sure the details on Arabica vs. Robusta, but I’ve always heard that Robusta is the inferior product and has a more bitter taste (although twice as much caffeine for those of us that turn to coffee for that). I have seen roasters that advertise their blends as 100% Arabica, but I am not really sure the difference in taste myself. What I am pretty sure about is that all of the roasters I order from us at least some Arabica beans.

I’m not sure what  that means in terms of the taste of my favorite blends, but I think the big concern is that if roasters want to deliver the same (or better, since some roasters are always getting better) quality of blends that means they have to make a choice between affordability or raising prices for us, the consumers. Otherwise they won’t be able to make a profit.

My main question is how much of a hike we can expect, if it’s something like a few additional cents or so per bag, most of us won’t feel the pinch too bad, but I have the feeling it might be a bit more substantial than that if they don’t find a solution soon.

Now, it’s probably only a short term problem, because one can hope that conditions will improve, but I’m curious to hear from you and maybe some of the roasters that read these posts (are there any?) about their game plan or what you as consumers think will happen in the near future with coffee prices.

Category: BLOG

Coffee prices

March 26, 2012 | by Gazy

Back in the mid-50s, the price of green coffee beans in the market was really soaring, because it went from less than $1/lb to almost $2/lb. Today, 60-odd years later, the market price is around $2.20/lb. A mere 10% increase in the price that the exporter of green beans receive. Of course, the farmer ges less than that. Meanwhile, the price of fertilizers, tractors, gasoline, steel for tools, clothing, etc. -meaning all the stuff that the farmer needs- have soared much more than the 10% increase in the price of green beans. The defense rests.

good question

January 24, 2012 | by wakeknot

I do wonder how coffee prices affect consumption. Economists often assume consumers are rational, and I am fairly certain that this is not true.

Hope not

January 9, 2012 | by samuellaw178

I am hoping that the price won't be increasing too much. But as many people had mentioned, the coffee price cycles year to year. Let's hope for the best.

Well typically coffee has

January 9, 2012 | by intrepid510

Well typically coffee has been boom and bust cycles, prices have already come down off of highs. A lot of this is just based on weather so we will see what happens.

Coffee

January 9, 2012 | by yeahyeah

I'm fine with price increases so long as the farmers can improve their take as prices go up.

hopefully not too much!

January 9, 2012 | by sontondaman

I'm hoping that we will not see too much of a price hike. Hopefully, the farmers will be able to catch up with the demand for great coffee.

@EricBNC

January 9, 2012 | by Karrde

I wonder if this means we'll see a slight decrease in the cost of supermarket coffee brands (corresponding to the ramp up in coffee production) and a slight increase in the cost of specialty blends that use Arabica.

@Chamie

January 9, 2012 | by Karrde

Interesting comment. I've been following a few posts about the climate issues as well. Hopefully it'll all straighten itself out in due order without much effect on the quality of our daily cups.

@jbviau

January 9, 2012 | by Karrde

Hmm, I'm not sure. It shows the whole article for me without logging in.

It will affect

January 9, 2012 | by Chamie

...mostly the cheaper coffees in terms of coffee quality, because they're the ones who mix in robusta to bring the cost down. For those of us who drink mostly coffee from specialty roasters, we'll probably see a price increase with little difference in quality. Based on some of what I've read about the changing climate around the coffee belt, it may take a little while for coffee production to adjust. In a lot of mountainous areas, coffee production at lower elevations is dropping while the elevation at which coffee grows well is creeping upward. It's an interesting dynamic that I've been watching closely because it ties into my other main writing area, environmental concerns and renewable energy.

lower

January 9, 2012 | by EricBNC


prices will trend - trend being the key word - lower in short order - coffee production is ramping up to cash in on the high prices - increased supply equals lower prices sooner rather than later - good coffee will always demand a premium.

WSJ

January 8, 2012 | by jbviau

Any idea on how to circumvent their online paywall? Can't read the whole article. Anyway, I'm not worried much about price, but I'll be curious (like you) to see what happens.

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