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

Storyteller in Chief: Natural Prophets

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN

Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.


Read more...

Child care challenge

News
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Flattery with Numbers

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The false promise of economic impact statements.


Read more...

Bendafornia: What’s driving the Northern California migration?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
bendiforniathumbBY KEN MAES

A huge migration from Northern California has contributed to average 16% growth per year since 1990.


Read more...

Reader Input: School Choice

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Which of the following would be most effective in reducing the cost of operating a public university in Oregon?


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened a third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; a Bend outpost broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


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