By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — For more and more of Americans, that daily cup is a necessity, not a luxury.

U.S. coffee consumption is growing like crazy, especially in the last few years. That high demand is part of the reason that coffee prices, whether you buy whole beans or a nice hot cup, keep climbing.

And customers at Polcari’s Coffee in Boston’s North End have noticed.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

“In the last eight months, I have had to raise my coffee prices three times,” said Polcari’s owner, Bob Eustace. He says his wholesalers keep raising their prices and there’s only so much he can do.

“I’ve absorbed a few little hits, but the larger ones,” he says, he has no choice but to pass along. “And do I feel bad about it? Yes.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports.

Not too long ago, Eustace had memorized all the prices for his 40-plus varieties of coffee. These days, they change so much, he can’t keep up. And while the prices have turned some away, most people are, well, addicted.

“Some people are like, ‘Gee, I don’t care what it costs, I need my fix,'” Eustace explained.

Polcari’s only sells beans and ground coffee. For the brewed stuff, you have to head a few doors down Salem Street, to Boston Common Coffee.

“The business flow is as good as ever,” said Tony Massari, one of the coffeehouse’s owners. Like a lot of smaller chains and independent shops, Boston Common Coffee is raising prices by a nickel here, a quarter there. It’s been about six months, Massari says, since their last price hike. Another one is planned very soon.

“Margins have been cut a little bit, but we’ve made it up with some volume increases,” Massari said.

Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity, right after oil. So, once more, we can blame speculators for driving up the prices. Bad weather in some prime coffee-growing areas has dented supply, and that forces prices up as well.

Your ready-made cup might be pricier because costs for sugar and milk are on the rise, too.

As a result, some of the big chain coffee shops have been raising their prices for months, and more are expected.

Canton-based Dunkin Donuts acknowledges some of their franchise owners have had to raise prices as a result of more costly commodities. A company spokesman added that “price adjustments . . . will vary given that Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants are owned and operated by individual franchisees who are responsible for making their own business decisions.”

Comments (4)
  1. emom says:

    Lets see,, first of the BIG time coffee companies wil survive, due to they are huge enough and have more coffee to process., the little coffee shops well they could hurt a bit… But this has happened before what needs to happen is more coffee has to be grown to keep up with supply and deman…There is plenty of coffee to go around , no shortage and well no fear of running out,, BUT they are putting the fear out there and panic will happen… just stock up for awhile and all will be good,, takes a year to grow a new crop so ,,,,,,,,, plan on stocking up for a year or so and watch the prices drop soon after,, its happened like 3 other times…

  2. emom says:

    Oh and another thing,,,,, Just dont go to the big time expensive shops,,, You know like SB,, not a fan of that coffee,,, I will stick to 2 local shops that are great and still give a smile when you are served…… OH and its not DD….

  3. swag says:

    Despite the recent increases, coffee prices are still below their prices in 1977.

    1977!!! Gas cost $0.62 a gallon back then.

    How I wish a lot more things I could buy at 1977 prices. Coffee drinkers have gotten a free ride the past 34 years.

  4. Glen Gracia says:

    McDonald’s (client) offers special New England style blend of Newman’s Own Organics you can only get locally – any size hot is $1.

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