Area Coffee Shops See Shortage In Beans From Drought

Franque Thompson

LA VISTA (KPTM)- Coffee shops around the country are seeing a shortage of coffee beans. Brazil, one of the largest coffee producers in the world, is in an extreme drought. Experts said the drought is the worst Brazil has seen in decades. The dry weather has damaged coffee plants causing distributors to raise prices on the beans.

Beansmith Coffee owner, Chris Smith, said he takes pride in providing his customers with quality coffee, but Brazil's drought is starting to limit his supply.

"We've certainly seen an uptick in some of the pricing and so then that affects some of the coffee choices that we're making," said Smith.

Smith said his roast shop carries beans from about 6 different countries every 4 months. He said Brazil isn't the only country with coffee bean issues.

"We might have to increase our price just because the cost of the coffee coming at us is becoming more and more expensive," said Smith.

Each bag of beans is about 150 pounds of specialty coffee. The beans are a higher caliber of what's on the market. So, the cost of these beans is much higher than what the average roaster is paying for because of the quality.

"We see costs of maybe four to five to $6 a pound on average," said Smith.

The average costs for regular coffee is about $1.50 per pound. Experts say, with Brazil's drought, those prices could spike as much as 800 percent within the next 10 years.

Smith said he may have to start increasing all prices within a few months if the surge gets too expensive. He just hopes the increase won't hit his business too hard.

"We're trying to balance that against what our customers can bear and what's a good price that we can meet them at," said Smith.

Experts said, as of right now, the drought is only affecting coffee shops that roast their own beans. Other coffee shops will receive blends from distributors. Still, prices for all coffee could increase within a few months.

The cause of the drought is lack of rain and intense heat. The south eastern part of Brazil is being hit the hardest. Brazil is also a large distributor of sugar, soy and cattle. Experts said those products are also taking a hit.