Kiwi coffee scrubs up well in world survey, but prices may rise

The good news is that we have excellent coffee and are not overpaying.

The bad news is that growing bean costs and outrageous freight charges might drive up the price of our favourite pick-me-up in the coming months.

According to the Financial Times, coffee bean prices are soaring on international markets as a result of a severe drought in Brazil.

Anti-government riots in Colombia have also had an impact on exports, with Arabica beans reaching a four-and-a-half-year high of almost $1.70 per pound, up over 70% from a year earlier.

Trade Aid, which imports approximately a quarter of the country’s coffee beans, said there has been no indication of price increases as of yet, but this may be due to long-term contracts.

According to chief executive Geoff White, the beans constituted only a “minor” percentage of the entire cost of a cup.

“It’s the milk, it’s the labour, it’s the rent on the premises; they’re all far more expensive than the [raw] coffee.”

The most significant factor in the price of a cup of coffee is labour expenses. (Originally published in January 2020)
The growing cost of freight, labour, and other components, as well as overheads, said Roz Cattell, president of the New Zealand Coffee Roasters Association.

“At the moment, it’s extremely unknown. We need to be aware of what we’re putting into that cup of coffee… That cup has a lot in it.”

Fortunately, New Zealanders may rest easy knowing that they might be paying considerably higher prices elsewhere.

Researchers at CashNetUSA, a US-based online lender, gathered average coffee prices in 104 cities across the world, as well as consumption figures from Statista, a German data business.

The average price of a coffee in Wellington was US$3.30 (about NZ$4.75). However, there were 39 nations that were more costly than the United States.

The cost of coffee in New Zealand is just marginally higher than in Australia.

Coffee in Canberra was US$3.10, while costs across the rest of Oceania and Asia ranged from $US1.85 in Laos to a staggering US7.77 in South Korea.

Seoul, in fact, was the most expensive coffee capital in the world, thanks to a thriving theme cafe culture and more Starbucks than anyplace else.

Wellington also fared well in comparison to other major international cities. It cost $5.29 in Japan, $3.70 in London, and $3.77 in Washington, DC.

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