Why, Starbucks, Why?!

by Lauren Barbato

If you were considering quitting caffeine once and for all, now might be the time: Starbucks is raising its coffee prices at roughly 7,000 company-owned stores across the United States. Although the price hikes — which begin Tuesday — will vary by market, they'll mostly affect the cost of brewed coffee and lattes, as well as packaged whole bean and ground coffee sold at major grocery and retail stores. However, everyone's beloved frappuccino won't be getting a price increase, so at least there's still one way to stay cool this summer.

According to Starbucks, the increases will only make customers pay less than one percent more, on average, for a coffee, latte or mocha. Meanwhile, prices on packaged beans and coffee will be raised about eight percent. The increases come as a result of a drought in Brazil, the world's top producer of Arabica coffee beans. It's the first price increase for the coffee giant since March 2011.

So, how much more should Starbucks customers expect to shell out? Grande and venti — that's medium and large, to all you non-Starbucks goers — brewed coffee drinks will cost 10 to 15 cents more, while tall (small) and venti lattes and mochas will cost between 15 and 20 cents more. The price of grande lattes, one of the most popular Starbucks drinks, is expected to stay the same.

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Packaged coffee will see the highest price increase — $1 more per bag. The current suggested retail price for a 12-ounce bag of Starbucks- brand coffee is $8.99.

According to Bloomberg, Seattle's Best coffee, Keurig K-Cup and Via instant coffee won't be affected by the price hikes.

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Starbucks isn't the only coffee retailer raising prices this year. The drought in Brazil has caused Arabica coffee to reach record-high prices, hitting $2.07 per pound in April. The surging coffee rates recently compelled Dunkin' Donuts to raise its prices earlier this month, but "not by much," according to Dunkin' Donuts CEO Nigel Travis.

Although the Dunkin' Donuts price increase is undisclosed, J.M. Smucker, the company that sells Dunkin' Donuts packaged coffee to retailers, recently announced a nine percent raise on its coffee products. The price hike will not only make Dunkin' Donuts coffee more expensive, but also Folgers — which may no longer be the best part of waking up (sorry, we had to). Keurig K-Cups are again exempted from the price surge, so perhaps this is the time to finally invest in one of those nifty single-cup coffee makers.

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Starbucks coffee prices may be increasing more than Dunkin' Donuts, but it's certainly a give and take: To keep coffee prices down, Dunkin' Donuts franchises may have to raise the price of their food — and yes, that means doughnuts. According to CNBC, the ongoing coffee crisis may end up hurting the doughy pastry more than coffee itself, which isn't good news considering doughnuts are already declining in popularity.

Currently, financial experts say there's no end in sight; coffee prices may even continue to surge through 2015. So, maybe a switch to tea is in order?