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Coffee prices on the rise, San Diego cafes feeling impacts

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 21:15:40-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - Coffee prices are on the rise due to a variety of reasons.

Dan Romeo, the owner of TRVLR Coffee Roaster and One Season Brewing Company in San Diego, said his business has been feeling the impacts of the pandemic. He started his coffee company about three years ago with the intention of selling wholesale coffee, but that changed in 2020.

“It was a wholesale coffee roasting company up until the pandemic and then that took away all the cafes, restaurants, kind of closed the vast majority of business,” Romeo said.

He then shifted his warehouse to move away from wholesale and toward a retail coffee bar, kombucha and a brewery.

Along with these shifts came the changing of prices. This is due to a variety of reasons, and the first is a global issue. Coffee bean supply is dwindling because of factors in other countries, causing the cost of coffee beans per pound to just about double in the last year.

“If they have a shutdown or if the coronavirus has been out of control so there’s no one to pick coffee. Coffee is a manual process, there’s not machines that can do it," Romero said. "You need people out there in these a lot of cases third world countries doing it.”

In addition to the cost of the product increasing, the cost of moving the product is also going up. The shipping crisis is increasing the cost of moving items, and Romeo said he’s now paying about $300 to ship one pallet of coffee, a price that used to be closer to $90.

“The amount of people that have touched this bag of coffee and the amount of hands that it’s changed over the course of its delivery to me, it’s really incredible that even with logistics, I can get this bag of coffee here,” Romeo said.

That shipping crisis is also impacting other items he needs to run a business, including cups, straw and coffee bags.

This combination of rising production costs means coffee prices for customers are on the rise.

“Everyone is trying to make up money for things that are lost for slowdowns and timing and not enough labor and pandemic shutdowns and eventually it falls to the consumer,” said Romeo.

Jeff Taylor, the owner of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, echoed these concerns. He said the coffee prices increasing combined with shipping prices rising means they’ll have to adjust coffee prices.

Both coffee owners echo that they hope customers understand.

“Be understanding, shop local for the holidays and the more you can shop local, the more you can shop local, the more maybe prices can be lowered or slowed in their growth,” Romeo said.