Columbia coffee drinkers still buying despite higher prices - DatelineCarolina

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Coffee keeps brewing while prices increase

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Immaculate Consumption owner Rob Reed rings up a customer. Reed thinks people will keep buying coffee despite price increases. Immaculate Consumption owner Rob Reed rings up a customer. Reed thinks people will keep buying coffee despite price increases.
Coffee beans from all over the world wait in the basement of Immaculate Consumption to be roasted and brewed. Coffee beans from all over the world wait in the basement of Immaculate Consumption to be roasted and brewed.

Coffee keeps brewing while prices increase

By Johnny Dickerson
Edited by Tiffany Melanis

Caution: that coffee may be more expensive.

Coffee prices have risen from about $1.43 per pound in January to $1.75 per pound in August, according to the International Coffee Organization. That's up from $1.28 per pound last year.

The recent coffee price increase hasn't been enough to empty Columbia coffee drinkers' wallets or break their caffeine addictions.

At Immaculate Consumption on Main Street, owner Rob Reed says he has seen about a 10 percent price increase in roasted coffee beans, from $11 to $12.15 per pound.

He hasn't increased drink prices yet, but expects to soon and doesn't think coffee drinkers will cut back over a few extra cents a cup.

"In order to keep costs in line, you have to bump it up … but it's not going to kill anybody," Reed said.

On the nearby USC campus, coffee drinker Elizabeth Freeman said, "I need coffee to study."

She hasn't noticed a difference in price, but said it would have to go way up for her to quit buying coffee. Freeman pays about $12 for her can of Folgers and says she would pay up to $20.

On College Street, Cool Beans Coffee Co. owner Kitty Mirosavich said she had to increase prices by 25 cents in June.

Nationally, Starbucks announced Wednesday it would be raising prices of specialty drinks and larger-sized beverages, but will hold the line on its $1.50 small coffee.

Shealy Coffee of Columbia, which distributes coffee to restaurants and offices statewide, has seen 6 to 8 percent price increases from Maxwell House, Folgers and Green Mountain Coffee, President Becky Shealy said.

She expects another 6 to 8 percent increase by Jan. 1, but hopes prices will come back down.

Her business is still growing at the company as people have been asking for higher-quality coffee that is more expensive.

"I think people are still going to want their coffee," Shealy said. "We haven't seen decreases even with the economy."

Prices are going up because high-quality Arabica beans cost more, according to Nestor Osorio, executive director of the International Coffee Organization, in a letter posted on its website.

The price of Robusta, a lower-quality popular coffee bean, has actually been decreasing.

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