Starbucks said yesterday it could no longer resist “extreme” surging coffee prices and would be forced to raise some prices. Chief executive of the US-owned chain Howard Schultz said he had tried to freeze prices as long as possible. But he admitted: “The extreme nature of the cost increases has made it untenable for us to continue to do so and we have been forced to take the steps we announced.” He pledged to maintain or even lower the price of some espresso drinks and Starbucks' “tall” 12oz brewed coffee. Coffee prices on world commodity markets are close to 13-year highs.
Arabica beans currently trade at around $1.80 per lb, compared with less than $1.40 last spring. The beans from Colombia and Central America have been hit by two seasons of poor harvests. The prices of lattes and cappuccinos are among those set to rise under the shake-up at the largest coffee chain in the world. Schultz added that speculators had also forced the price up.