Coffee Prices Jolt Higher in NYC

Wednesday, Mar 2, 2011  |  Updated 9:33 AM EDT
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New Yorkers are seeing coffee prices heat up all over the city, due to a rising demand for coffee around the world and a shorter supply that has been reduced by poor harvests.

The Wall Street Journal reports that apologetic signs went up last week at six Joe's coffee shops in the city explaining why the cost of an average cup is rising 10 to 20 cents.

At the Porto Rico Importing Co., the cost of a pound of coffee beans has gone up $2 in the last year. And at Third Rail Coffee in Greenwich Village, prices are soon expected to go up 5 percent, the Journal said.

Starbucks also raised prices last year on some drinks, but has so far avoided hiking the cost of a regular cup.

Donald Schoenholt, president of supplier Gillies Coffee Co., told the paper that he doesn't know of any coffee shop that hasn't had to raise prices in the last 20 months.

"The smaller players, the specialty coffee segment, is particularly at risk," he said. "This is the roughest that I have seen it since the black frost of 1975-76."

That was when a frost in Brazil devastated crops.

Amanda Byron, director of coffee at Joe's, told the Journal that the company decided to raise prices last week after nearly two months of losing money.

One customer at Porto Rico, Devin Nee, told the paper that he had noticed the price hike but said "for good coffee, it's worth it."

"I'm addicted," he added.

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