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Why Has The Cost Of Coffee Gone Up?

Coffee cherries in hands
Source: Livier Garcia @ Pexels

You may have noticed our prices have crept up within the last few months. This isn’t a malicious incentive to get you to shell out more for your beans, but rather a decision we have been forced into by the rising cost of coffee. We know many of you are understanding of and sympathetic to these decisions, but we thought it might be a good idea to give you an expanded explanation of exactly why coffee has gone up in price and how it’s been affecting everyone in the industry and beyond.

In early 2022, a study published by coffee supplier UCC found that the price of a cup of coffee had increased by up to 22% in the last year. That’s a startling amount in such a short space of time and an interesting example of how drastically the industry is changing. Though this may come as no surprise due to the recently increased cost of living, it is remarkable that your morning cup of coffee can be influenced by so many global issues.

But what exactly are the factors currently impacting the coffee industry? And what can you do to reduce your coffee costs?

Extreme weather means fewer crops

One of the biggest issues the coffee industry is currently facing is climate change. Brazil, one of the world’s largest coffee suppliers, has faced unprecedented climate issues over the past year. A combination of extreme drought and frost had led to significant crop shortages - the lowest in more than two decades, in fact.

Arabica, the type of coffee used by most coffee roasteries, is finicky to grow and attractive to pests. This, combined with changes in soil quality and temperature fluctuations, makes it very difficult to cultivate.

Because there is so little product and the demand is high, producers have increased their prices of green coffee, meaning suppliers are forced to do the same. It’s a domino effect and unfortunately, these changes trickle down to you, the consumers.

Living costs have exponentially increased

It’s been drummed into us for months now, but the cost of living crisis is truly affecting every aspect of our lives, coffee included. This is primarily due to the pandemic, which caused disruption to supply chains around the world and made it difficult to transport coffee to consumers, but also the war in Ukraine, which led to a price increase of fertiliser.

Brazil requires a significant amount of fertiliser due to the soil being poor in nutrients. The country imports approximately 85% of its fertiliser, with Russia accounting for around 23%. With sanctions in place, farmers were forced to reduce the amount of fertiliser they used or turn to more natural alternatives, which may have been less effective.

A huge rise in inflation hasn’t helped either - with the highest percentage since the 1980s, coffee, like eggs and cheese, is just another victim of the rising costs of feed, transport and labour.

So, how can you as a consumer save money on coffee?

You’ve probably noticed plenty of coffee companies offering their beans at a fraction of both our price and those of other roasteries. Naturally, everyone is entitled to their own pricing strategy, but we do ask customers to take into consideration what they’re paying for when buying coffee beans. In our case, we source our green beans from one of the top suppliers in the country, one that has direct relationships with farmers and pays them a fair wage. Many lower-cost coffees are unethically sourced and significantly underpay the producers, something we work hard to avoid.

A great way of reducing your coffee expenditure while still making ethical choices is by making coffee at home. Brewing a great cup of coffee is not difficult if you learn the basics and you don’t need expensive machinery to do so. Naturally, you’ll never be able to replicate a flat white at home (unless you have a spenny espresso machine), but there are still several ways to make great coffee without the hefty price tag.

Our 250g bags of beans equate to around 12 cups of coffee, so you’re really getting a bargain when you think about the average price of a latte is just over £3. Combine Earth or Air with a V60 or AeroPress and you can make amazing filter coffee in the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, the classic Moka pot or French press means you can get multiple cups in one go.

Though the cost of coffee has indeed gone up significantly, there are ways to cut back on costs without sacrificing the things you love most. Buying fewer takeaway coffees and investing in bags of beans will allow you to keep your morning brew and save a few pennies in the long run. If you are interested in why your favourite roastery has increased its prices, ask! There are various other factors including packaging that can further drive costs up, and most roasters will be transparent with customers about their choices.

Have you noticed an increase in the cost of coffee in the last few years? How has it affected your coffee spending?


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