Buzzkill: Coffee prices go up and up!

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Okay, let's get this straight right now: I am not a coffee addict. Sure, when I was in college and used to make myself 9-12 cups of espresso a day...well, that was excessive. And later, when I first started teaching and used to put away a pot a day...well, okay, that was a bit much. Nowadays, though, I've got it under control. I drink one 12-ounce cup every morning, along with a few packets of Splenda and a little bit of 1% milk. That's it. Just a little fix to get me through the day.

That having been said, my heart started going a little faster when I read this week's news about Maxwell House. It seems that the price of the famed "good to the last drop" coffee just went up 7%. This is the second increase in three weeks. Although a dime or two here and there doesn't make a huge difference, this is indicative of a larger problem: coffee is getting more and more expensive, across the board. On February 11, Folger's raised its prices by 6% and raised them again later in the month. Starbucks, on the other hand, has kept prices consistent since it raised them in July of last year.

The reason for this is pretty simple: Coffee beans have gotten really pricey lately. Arabica beans, the strain used by Maxwell House and Starbucks, reached a 10-year high last week; Robusta beans, which are used in espresso, hit a 12-year high. The cause seems to be a lack of supply.

In other news, Kopi Luwak, the famed "cat poop coffee" that is collected from civet feces in Indonesia and sold to gullible rich people, remains constant. Prices are still $180 per pound for Arabica and $110 a pound for Robusta. And, no, I'm not full of it (although, presumably, the Kopi Luwak is).

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. His local bodega charges $0.50 a cup for coffee.

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