Coffee lovers beware: Those miracle beans just got all the more precious. Coffee rust, a fungal disease, and Brazil’s epic drought are driving up the cost of that vital morning fix.
As NPR reports, wholesale coffee prices have jumped by more than 60 percent since January, from $1.25 per pound to $1.85. And traders suspect that the worst is still to come. Some predict that during the main harvest next month, prices could shoot up to $3 a pound. The long-term forecast looks even grimmer: Global warming is only making it easier for the fungus to spread, and some studies even suggest that our favorite blends will be wiped out by 2080.
Will you need a savings plan just to cover your morning cuppa joe? Well, it’s really the farmers and distributors who bear the brunt of the rust. On the consumer end, the serious snobs will feel the sting most: Even if plants survive, the fungus can hurt the coffee’s flavor, so specialty shops will need go the extra distance, and pay the extra penny, to get the best beans.
Some shops are already raising their rates. Joe, a specialty coffee chain with 10 shops in New York City and Philadelphia, recently raised its prices by 25 cents a drink because of the higher cost of beans.
So at what price does the coffee habit no longer become worth it? Ugh … get me another cup and I’ll stew on it.