Bean counters raise coffee price

MELBOURNE’S coffee connoisseurs should brace themselves for a $4 cuppa as world bean prices soar.

Cafe owners warn that rising coffee prices coupled with higher overheads will force them to charge more.

Melburnians pay between $2.80 and $3.50 for their coffee fix, but not for much longer, industry experts say.

Even the instant version will cost more at the supermarket.

The global price of arabica beans, used in most espresso coffee shops, has jumped to the highest point in a decade.

Tolly Avgerinos, owner of Atomica cafe in Fitzroy, said that the bean cost was just part of the retail price of a flat white or cafe latte.

Cafe owners and operators said the coffee increase followed rises in the cost of rent, milk and staff.

Mr Avgerinos said customers also were becoming more coffee-savvy and wanted a premium brew, which cost more.

“People are starting to understand what goes into a good coffee,” he said. “And sometimes you have to pay for it, like you would do for good wine.”

Angelo Augello, managing director of the Bean Alliance roasting company in Reservoir, said investment speculators in world commodity markets had driven prices to an 11-year high.

Mr Augello, who is also on the Australian Coffee Traders Association, said arabica bean prices had jumped by up to 30 per cent in the past four months.

“We might be able to hold prices for a couple of weeks,” he said.

But he said coffee was a relatively small part of the cost of a cup and talk of a $1 rise was exaggerated.

Consumers had become more demanding and expected a quality product properly prepared by trained professionals.

Fresh brewed coffee makes up about 20 per cent of Australia’s $1 billion-a-year market.

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