September 26, 2011
Perk your interest: Coffee prices, a coffee talk, and a tasting

Choc Fish.JPG

If I were to make a list of things that I absolutely would not do without - and would accept no substitutes - coffee would be right up near the top. After oxygen and water. Just check out these coffees we had Sunday when the GF and I rode our bikes to Chocolate Fish to enjoy some coffee, some reading and plenty of relaxing on the front patio. It was sublime.

Yes, we coffee lovers want the best, we're willing to pay for it and, well, we've noticed that the prices have gone through the roof over the past year or so, thanks to volatility in the commodities markets, among other things. When I recently visited Chocolate Fish at Q and 3rd, I noticed a binder containing articles explaining the rising coffee prices. Chocolate Fish just raised its prices last week by about 13 percent, the first jump since 2009, according to co-owner Andy Baker. A 12-ounce brewed coffee, for instance, went from $1.85 to $2.15. At Temple Coffee, another top coffeehouse in town, owner Sean Komescher says he has had to raise prices twice in the past year - each time by 25 cents, for a total of 50 cents.

"Coffee prices have been insane for the last 16 months. We hit all-time highs multiple times," Komescher told me Monday, before noting the latest drop in prices.

But will that price decrease for coffee in the markets mean further price reductions or is it an aberration and prices will continue to skyrocket? No one knows for sure. But things are anything but stable right now in the world of coffee.

If you'd like to explore this issue in more detail - and taste some great coffee along the way - Chocolate Fish is hosting a presentation by Juan Luis Barrios, a Guatemalan coffee producer. The event is Oct. 5. The event is free and open to the public.

Here's an excerpt from the Chocolate Fish press release:

"Hear how this has affected the entire chain of coffee production from the producers, roasters and coffeehouse owners to the daily customers of our favorite morning drink.

"Juan Luis Barrios, owner/manager of Finca La Merced and Retiro de Quisaya, will be speaking about the current rise in coffee prices, Guatemalan coffee production methods and social responsibility in coffee growing. Juan Luis is a third generation coffee grower."

So far, the price hikes don't seem to be getting people to give up their coffee. People want what they want and they're willing to pay. For fans of premium coffees, price doesn't seem to be a major concern - yet -- as coffee is still relatively affordable compared to other popular beverages.

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