‘Coffee has been far too cheap for far too long’
If you’re anything like me, your current morning routine likely includes Wordle, doomscrolling, and a cup of coffee, as Bethany Reitsma writes.
Indeed, you’re most likely sipping coffee as you read this. And what you’re most likely missing as you gaze lovingly into your latte art is the lengthy journey it took to reach your lips.
This journey has become increasingly difficult in recent months. And as a result of what suppliers refer to as the “perfect storm” of Covid, supply chain shortages, and climate change, the price of our precious flat whites is set to increase.
Jacob Parsons of Mt Atkinson Coffee says coffee has been “far too cheap for far too long” in an industry that is “suffering” due to Covid-19.
“We’ve been forced to increase our prices for wholesale and retail customers. We understand how critical coffee is to everyone, especially New Zealanders, and hospo is fighting a losing battle “The owner of a West Auckland cafe and roastery shared.
“If this year’s harvest is good, the market will be flooded with coffee once again, driving the price down. However, higher prices are necessary, as people must pay more.”
And Mike Murphy of Auckland coffee roaster Kokako concurs, stating that price increases are due to increased shipping costs, crop damage, and the pandemic. Because coffee is traded on a futures contract, the price increases in advance if farmers have a bad year.
“Some of our green coffee importers are seeing a fivefold increase in the cost of shipping a container,” he tells the Herald.
“Many coffee farmers’ yields have also been reduced as a result of climate volatility and crop harvesting irregularity – this means that some coffee farmers and co-operatives now have less coffee to sell – and, of course, Covid, which has impacted the supply chains of the majority of products globally.”
According to Stefan Marusich, managing director of Avalanche Coffee, the market has also seen a “spike in demand,” which means your cup of coffee will only get more expensive.
“Roasters and café owners have also seen cost increases on nearly everything else that goes into making a cup of coffee, including packaging, labour, and the cost of major disruptions and shutdowns as a result of our Covid response,” he explains.
Marusich adds that coffee farmers have been selling at historically low prices for a long period of time and that, while price increases benefit growers, they must be sustained for an extended period of time.
“And, despite the rising cost of coffee, we all need to support our local cafés, as these businesses have been struggling recently as a result of Covid,” he adds.
“They are the lifeblood of their communities, and they require all of our assistance to get through this difficult time.”