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Coffee Bean Prices Drop, But Some Local Businesses Not Seeing A Trickle Down

For Mom-And-Pop Stores That Don't Buy Bulk, Benefit Isn't Funneling Down
Coffee beans are trading at low prices, but consumers and some businesses say they're not seeing the benefit. (credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

GREENLAWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Coffee beans are trading at their lowest prices in years. So when will the price drop for your morning caffeine fix?

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, the savings are not trickling down to the cup.

The sacks of coffee beans that Berceto Coffee roasts comes straight from the growers in Mexico, Brazil and Columbia.

But even though the average price of the beans are at a 33-month low, owner Debbie Kufner said she hasn’t seen the price she pays come down.

“Not a penny because I guess I don’t buy thousands and thousands of pounds at a time, my prices remain high,” Kufner said.

It’s the same story at cafes. The worldwide dip in coffee bean prices has not changed what the owners of Urban Coffee in Greenlawn are paying for their supplies.

“It hasn’t gone down, other costs have gone up — milk, cups, all the things that go into a cup of coffee,” said owner Alice Salzone.

“The larger chains are reaping the benefits because they’re buying in bulk. It’s not funneling down to the mom-and-pop stores,” Louie Salzone added.

Coffee beans are traded on the futures exchange, where prices have fallen because there’s far more supply than demand.

Hofstra University business professor Dr. Barry Berman said unlike gasoline, consumers don’t see the fluctuations in the price of a cup of coffee every time the futures price drops.

“The flip side, though, is if the cost of coffee went up, would we now pay a premium for that coffee?” Berman said.

The coffee giants would not discuss pricing, but a Starbucks spokesman said: “Coffee commodity costs are only part of our value equation. Our cost of doing business includes operating expenses such as rent, distribution, materials.”

It could be a short-lived dilemma. Just as coffee bean prices are at a record low, there is a fungus that’s spreading through Central America that could lower supplies and raise prices yet again.

According to the International Coffee Organization, the coffee bean glut is due to increased output from Columbia.

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