Coffee price jitters

Students get a jolt over java’s increasing expenses, with no end in sight 

Todd Miller | Collegio Reporter

Even though the past several months have seen steady increases in the price of coffee, students are saying that they either haven’t noticed, or that it hasn’t affected them.

According to the Department of Labor, a single-pound can of coffee that sold for $3.64 will now cost $5.10. That’s a 40 percent increase.

Photoillustration by Hunter Peterson

Photoillustration by Hunter Peterson

Brandon Roark, senior in technology management, says he didn’t even realize that prices were rising. He says it is probably because he only buys coffee occasionally and usually buys whatever is cheapest.

Whitney Nickelson, junior in justice studies, however, enjoys drinking coffee often and has indeed noticed the price increase.

“It sucks,” Nickelson said. “The prices will probably keep going up, but I hope they don’t.”

But what is causing the rise in price? Bienvenido Cortes, department chair of economics, finance and banking, says the problem could lie anywhere among the supply ­– the producers, makers and sellers of coffee – or among con

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sumers.

“If more people are buying coffee, then the demand could outdo the supply, causing the prices to rise,” Cortes said.

Some students, such as Brad Jordan, graduate student in mathematics, blame the rise in gas prices. Jordan believes that as gas prices go up, the cost of transporting the coffee goes up with it and therefore causing the price of the coffee to rise.

The blame could also lie with bad weather in South America, which has caused poor growth in coffee beans last year, making fewer of the beans available.

Despite the rise in prices, though, many people don’t seem as if they’re going to change their coffee-drinking habits.

Roark says the rising prices won’t bother him because he doesn’t drink coffee often.

Nickelson and Jordan also say they’re continuing to buy coffee regularly, despite the rise in prices. But Jordan says he has a limit.

“Five dollars is just too much,” he said.

Cortes says that reactions like this are normal.

“Most people will keep buying to a point were it starts cutting into their budget,” said Cortes. “But those that consider it a necessity will keep buying it (despite the rising prices). Coffee is a day-to-day purchase. The demand is constant.”

Kathleen Ismert, graduate student in communication, says that people might have their priorities misplaced.

“People will complain about gas being $3.50, but they’ll buy a cup of coffee at the same price,” Ismert said.

Cortes says that a better production year for coffee won’t likely fix the price.

“Prices tend to rise rather than go down,” Cortes said.

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