A luxury drink, that is. “Coffee as cheap fuel for the masses is a historical anomaly,” says Peter Giuliano, director of coffee at the North Carolina-based roaster Counter Culture. “There’s no nutritive value. It’s drunk just for the pleasure of it. It’s a total miracle of global agriculture, a feat that spans cultures and countries.”
Mother Nature might be on the side of Giuliano and his cohorts. At the exact moment that rare beans are becoming all the rage, all beans are becoming rarer. The price of a cup of coffee—whether it be a $6 pour-over, a $2.50 dark roast at Starbucks, or a $1.50 mug of diner swill—is being driven up by a complex combination of weather events, pest and fungus outbreaks, speculation on commodities exchanges, an unstable labor market in the developing world, and an unprecedented thirst for good coffee among a growing global middle class. The problem, in simple economic terms, is that supply has gone down and demand has gone up.
“We’re going back to where coffee began,” Giuliano says, “as an exotic, beloved culinary experience.”
*beats fists on floor* “NOOOOOOOOO!”
No nutritive value, my ass. It’s an excellent vehicle for cream and sugar, now don’t you fucking tell me I should be all pleased to hear that coffee’s about to get really expensive.
I am the masses, and I want my cheap fuel.
Of course I want coffee growers to earn a decent living, but if that means I’m effectively priced out of the high-end Arabica market, then I’ll just take the cut-rate Brazilian beans and the Robusta, thanks. One must get up at 6:30 AM and stay awake through 9 hours of data entry and paper-pushing. I’ll be having none of this “pay a Queen’s ransom for my cup of morning Joe” bullshit.