Cup of perk gets pricier

June 4, 2011 at 9:49 AM
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LOS ANGELES, June 4 (UPI) -- Two national coffee sellers said the price for a cup of joe in the United States would rise, due to higher costs for coffee beans.

J.M. Smucker Co., which operates on the wholesale level, and national chain Starbucks on the retail level recently said they would raise prices 11 percent and 17 percent, respectively, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Behind the price hikes are wildly escalating prices of commodities. The price of raw coffee beans, as a commodity, have risen 92 percent in 12 months, the Times said.

"At this time last year I was paying $1.85 for coffee that I'm now paying $3.60 for," said Chuck Jones, co-owner of Jones Coffee Roasters, which sells roasted beans to national brands such as Starbucks.

"These are big increases and I don't think we're done with it," said editor Phil Lempert.

"We're going to see higher prices on coffee for a very, very long time," he said.

At the customer level, Shallom Berkman, co-owner of Los Angeles bistro chain Urth Caffe, worries some will turn away from their morning cup of perk.

"Ours is already more expensive, and the first thing that gets cut back is the luxury items," Berkman said.

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