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weinoo

State of Coffee 2011 - Going Up

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So lately I've been noticing the price of coffee is going up, up, up.

At the specialty shop where I buy my freshly roasted beans, we're talking $16 for 12 ounces of Stumptown, in a lot of cases.

Is there a point where you'll just switch to tea? And, what kind of prices are you all seeing?

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I have mixed feelings about this. I am going to continue to buy premium coffees even though the prices are increasing.

I must also confess that I really don't mind too much.

I bought some small lots of coffee futures last November. :rolleyes:

After several days of haranguing by a friend who trades constantly. It was easier than trying to find a logical excuse to say no.

Still hanging on.

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Here in Boston (well, Somerville), I'm buying single-origin Intelligentsia at $12.75-16+ for 12oz (generally slightly less than their online prices on a prorated basis). Stumptown house blend is also something like $12.75/12oz.

I don't think the prices have gone up that much in the past year or so--maybe 10% tops. I've been buying Intelligentsia for about 6 years now though, and a few years ago the prices climbed about 25% (from about $16/lb to about $20/lb online). This may have coincided with their move to always In-Season offerings and their push to match/exceed Fair Trade-like prices with farmers.

I don't think I'll really ever find tea to be a coffee substitute. Sure, it's hot and has caffeine, but IMO it's a totally different (though delicious) beverage. And as a one cup a day drinker, I can weather these price increases for a while.

Edit to add one more thought: If increased prices make me change my behavior, I bet it will prompt me to roast my own rather than stop drinking coffee. Or at least I'll try.


Edited by emannths (log)

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That's still something like $1.20/cup coffee. I'm not sure it's the best place to cut back.

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I get Costa Rica La Minita at Oren's in NYC. When I started buying it I think it was $11.49 a pound... now it's up to about $14.99. Expensive, but over the course of 10 years, that's really not that much of an increase.

Maybe I'll have sticker shock the next time I go to refill...

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I'm roasting my own more and more, using a west bend poppery II that I found on ebay for $20.

Most recently I was able to buy some green beans from a local roaster for $6/lb - this was a Peru origin that undoubtedly is pretty cheap and unremarkable, but I find that freshness goes a really long way in producing an enjoyable cup of coffee and you can't beat the price compared to roasted beans at the store.

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Here, prices are running the equivalent of USD 15/lb. of conventionally grown varietals, but a chunk of that is the 25% sales tax. Quality here tends to be iffy, so we usually load up on coffee when we go to Italy, where the prices are still not so high, and the quality and selection are orders of magnitude better. I also sometimes pick up Jim's Organic espresso roast when I'm in NYC, but less and less frequently these days, since I'm always in a panic when I travel with it: I worry that a TSA agent will decide I might be actually smuggling drugs in it, and I'll end up being strip-searched, or worse, having the coffee confiscated altogether (yes, I have a lurid imagination...)

Edit: Corrected more-than-usually spectacular and embarrassing typo.


Edited by Mjx (log)

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I've discussed the whole home roasting thing before (NYC apartment - not happening) and NEVER plan on giving up my daily two cups and a shot or two from Miss Silvia.

According to this, the "commodity" has hit a 14-year high. Notably:

Coffee futures have doubled in the last year, closing at $2.46 per pound on Thursday. That's the highest price since May 1997, when coffee was trading at $3.20 per pound.

andiesenji might be onto something :wink: . Of course, in May 1997 I doubt there were this many specialty roasters and independent coffee shops in existence.

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I doubt I will stop drinking coffee. I found a small roaster that has good prices, even at the expensive places, it's a lot cheaper to brew my own coffee than drinking something at Starbucks. Some Japanese coffee shop charge almost 10$ for a cup of coffee, but it's one good cup. If I buy the same beans, I can get a cup for less than 2$ .

Not stopping and I am seriously considering home roasting.

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My roastery is paying now twice what it was paying this time last yea for Fair-trade organic beans. Whether or not this actually benefits producers is a point of debate. Some discussion can be found here: http://www.coffeed.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3433

Mjx: I am curious where in Italy you are finding coffee orders and magnitudes better than what is available stateside. My experience with Italian coffee has been a mixed bag.

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Here in Boston (well, Somerville), I'm buying single-origin Intelligentsia at $12.75-16+ for 12oz (generally slightly less than their online prices on a prorated basis). Stumptown house blend is also something like $12.75/12oz.

Where are you getting Stumptown and Intellgentsia in Somerville? I usually get Rao's or Jim's, it's like $10-11 for a 12-oz bag. Prices seem to have been fairly stable over the last few years, but who knows what the future will bring. Historically coffee prices have tended to be pretty volatile (it's hardly the first time people have complained about expensive coffee), like most ag products, but in the long run will probably increase for a variety of factors--growing global demand, environmental changes, etc.

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Where are you getting Stumptown and Intellgentsia in Somerville?

Both are available at Bloc 11 (Union Sq) and Diesel Cafe (Davis Sq). I've also heard good things about Barismo, sold at Simon's in Cambridge, but I still haven't gotten around to trying their beans.

Edit to add: Btw, the roast date is on the barcode at the bottom of the Intelligentsia bags (in a 03.10.11 format). Bloc 11 usually gets their shipment of Intelligentsia on Friday, so if you look through the bags on the weekend, you can usually find some less than a week old. I think the date is more obvious the Stumptown and Barismo bags.


Edited by emannths (log)

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If the $1 - $1.50 per serving price of beans is too much, Sweet Maria's sells green beans. A little practice and you'll be churning out top quality fresh coffee.

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