Local

Cup Of Joe Costing Too Much Dough? Coffee Prices On The Rise

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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(credit: Rick Macomber)

(credit: Rick Macomber)

Good Eats

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.”

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