Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

Cache and Curry

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.


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...

How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR

"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Beyond Bodegas

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development. 


Read more...

Party Like It’s 1999

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
pets-com-sock-puppetBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.


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