How much is your morning cup? – The Durango Herald

How much is your morning cup? – The Durango Herald

Some coffee shops around Durango have had to raise prices because of market struggles

Ellyn King makes a chai latte on Thursday at Durango Joes as Bridget Cahill works the cash register at the Town Plaza location. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Cups of coffee in Durango have gone up in price at a number of local coffee shops in recent months because of shipping strains caused by the pandemic, coffee prices driven up by frosts in Brazil, and a scarcity of lids and cups.

Getting word in December that coffee prices were going up, a local coffee shop made the decision to raise its coffee drink prices by 10%.

“I just hope things don’t go up anymore this year,” said Durango Joes owner Joe Lloyd. “I don’t think they will, and I’m pretty set on what I’m going to be charging.”

Lloyd said the price of a small 12-ounce coffee has risen from $2.10 to $2.45. The last time Durango Joes had to raise its prices was 18 months ago, he said.

“We’ve prided ourselves over the last two decades to try and be more creative than just raising prices,” he said.

Crossroads Coffee, located in the lobby of the Crossroads Building downtown, also decided to raise its prices recently.

“I did just raise my prices two weeks ago,” said Crossroads Coffee owner Jessie Hamilton. “It was kind of overdue. I was looking at the other prices around town and I was like 50 cents lower than other people’s prices for a small cup of coffee.”

Scarcity of paper products, higher shipping costs and increased coffee prices caused drink prices at Durango Joes to go up. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Hamilton said when she opened 11 years ago a small coffee at her shop was 75 cents. With her recent cost increase, her small cup is up to $2.25.

She said she tries to keep her prices for a small cup of coffee affordable, but doesn’t want to undervalue her product.

“I’m inside a building where there are a lot of people who work here every day. So I try to keep at least a small cup of coffee very reasonably priced so that anyone who needs it can get it,” Hamilton said. “But I think to stay competitive you have to raise prices, otherwise you look like you don’t have a good product.”

Wholesale coffee roaster Durango Coffee Co. has seen the market for coffee fluctuate from both the pandemic and frosts in Brazil.

“Prices have gone up considerably,” said Durango Coffee Co. owner Carl Rand. “Prices kind of spiked last September because of a big frost in Brazil. Brazil is the largest producer in the world, so whatever happens in Brazil affects the world’s supply.”

Rand said before the pandemic the commercial-grade coffee traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for coffee was around $1.20 a pound, and now it’s up to $2.55 a pound.

“It’s fluctuating about 15 to 20 cents a week,” Rand said. “They expect these prices to stay high through this year, and maybe come off in the fall.”

Owner of one of the newest coffee shops in town, Nicholas Random of Stimulus Cafe and Coffee, said he’s working hard to keep his prices consistent. He said that as a new business he has to keep his coffee cost for customers low to bring in business.

“I’m not raising my prices, and unless prices get astronomical I don’t see myself raising prices,” he said. “I like to keep my prices right in the middle for the local market – not too low and not too high. I base my prices on the local market here, and then went a little bit lower because I’m new and I want people to know that I’m here and I have good coffee.”

Coffee isn’t the only thing making cafes charge more for a cup of the hot stuff. Cafe owners have said that scarcity of paper and plastic products such as cups and lids has also contributed to price increases.

Lloyd said paper cups have gone up 25% in cost for him. He said the only saving grace when it comes to finding paper coffee cups is that 35% of Durango Joes’ customer base brings in a coffee mug from home to fill up.

“At this point, we probably get a call every other week right now from our various vendors, whether it’s syrup or cappuccino mix or smoothie mix, that prices are going up 8 to 10 to 15%,” he said.

Random said for his shop, the issue isn’t necessarily the price of paper and plastic cups, but that there is a lack of availability on the market.

Some coffee shops around town, as well as across the country, have had to raise prices because of market fluctuation, including local coffee chain Durango Joes. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“Right now with the way things are going around the world, companies are being weird about shipping certain products,” he said. “Just being able to get cups is one of the biggest problems I’ve noticed around town. They’re just harder to come by.”

Aside from prices going up on the coffee and related products, Lloyd said that shipping costs have gone up more than anything for his business.

Rand said one of the farmers he purchases from who imports his coffee from Brazil said a container of coffee cost him $2,000 to import before the pandemic, and now it costs him $20,000.

“Coffee is sitting out in the ports, and it’s a month or two behind,” Rand said. “It’s really crazy. Everybody is going to have to raise prices a dollar or two a pound just to cover the beans and transportation.”

Small coffee shops such as Crossroads and Stimulus have said that shipping has been less of a problem for them because they by from local roasters. Hamilton purchases coffee from Fahrenheit Coffee Roasters out of Mancos, and Random purchases from Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters in Frisco.

“I know places that get their coffee from big surplus guys have been seeing higher prices, but my local guys haven’t raised their rates yet,” Random said.

Durango Joes gets its coffee from Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Sumner, Washington.

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