Roasters cope with rising coffee costs

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2011
Wednesday, March 02, 2011

 

0311_Roasters
Adam McClellan at Sustainable Harvest says rising costs challenge local roasters to maintain quality. // Photo by Teresa Meier
0311_RoastersDataburst

Raw coffee beans are getting more expensive. Whether or not the price you pay at the local café or grocery story for roasted beans or coffee has increased because of it depends largely on where you buy them.

Stumptown, Ristretto Roasters and Portland Coffee Roasters have increased prices to varying degrees on both roasted beans and drinks; Whole Foods has maintained prices on its premium line, Allegro Coffee, but has passed on the increases from its wholesale accounts with local roasters.

“I’ve seen some of the local roasters certainly being challenged with the market price,” says Bonnie Meyer, the regional coffee and tea coordinator for Whole Foods. But, she says sales of the higher-quality beans haven’t been significantly affected at her stores. “I think customers are willing to pay a little bit more to support their local favorites.”

Arabica beans, the variety almost exclusively used by premium roasters, increased by 54.8% per pound from February 2010 to January 2011. Industry professionals disagree on what is the driving force behind the increase, citing  increased demand from emerging markets, bad weather, low production and commodities spectulation.

Aleco Chigounis, a buyer for Portland-based Stumptown, says premium buyers are having an increasingly difficult time securing high-quality beans because they now must compete with the high prices farmers can get by selling their beans on the open market, without fretting over quality controls that companies like Stumptown have built their reputations on. Competition has increased from large buyers such as Nestle and Kraft — even at the higher price points once exclusive to high-quality buyers. “So now with this crazy spike, since August or September, we’re starting to notice that there are a lot more players in our arena for coffee,” Chigounis says.

Adam McClellan, with Portland-based Sustainable Harvest, which works with small farmers around the world to source high-quality beans to North America, says the premium roasters for which Portland has become famous will have to work harder to maintain their quality distinction. “I think what you’re seeing is an even greater separation of what is specialty coffee,” McClellan says. “The small roasters are really well positioned to separate further that good quality, and people will keep paying for that.”

ILIE MITARU
 

More Articles

Uncertainty about convention center hotel could cost Portland an NBA All-Star Game

The Latest
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
463545460BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

NBA commissioner: "I would love to end up having an All-Star Game in Portland. It's really just a function of ensuring that we can fit in town."


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


Read more...

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


Read more...

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...

Raising the Stakes

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

The 2014 Bend Venture Conference set a record for the most cash, investments and prizes awarded at an angel conference in the Pacific Northwest. Investments in the six winning companies exceeded $1 million. The 11th annual conference was hosted by Economic Development of Central Oregon.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS