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Predicted price hike has coffee lovers grumbling

Union Leader Correspondent

June 16. 2014 10:56PM
Rich Poplowski of Littleton, at left, and wife Cheryl, at right, have their favorite coffee at Dunkin' Donuts in New Hampton on Sunday morning. (DAN SEUFERT/Union Leader Correspondent)

At supermarkets, convenience stores, and especially the state’s most ubiquitous coffee-shop chain, the news of a rise in coffee prices is on java lovers’ minds.

“Coffee rust,” a fungus that ruins coffee plants, has ravaged crops in many parts of Central America. Meanwhile, global coffee prices are rising because of concerns about a drought in Brazil that may affect coffee bean supplies.

Dunkin’ Donuts, with more than 170 stores in New Hampshire, has acknowledged that a price rise is coming.

“We strive to offer our high-quality coffee at a great value to our guests but based on rising commodity costs, we expect to see a modest increase in coffee prices,” said Lindsay Harrington, public relations manager at Dunkin’ Brands Inc. in Canton, Mass. on Monday.

Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners have the final say on menu prices.

Cherie Tate of Cape Cod, in the Lakes Region for Motorcycle Week, was resigned as she sat in the New Hampton Dunkin’ Donuts store.

“Frankly, it’s the only kind of coffee I drink, and I drink it every day, so they’ve got me,” she said. “The price going up stinks, but they’ve got us.”

John Cohen, assistant store manager at E.M. Heath Supermarket in Center Harbor, said coffee prices will also likely be rising at all supermarkets.

“We’ve been given plenty of information showing the price will rise soon, yes,” Cohen said.

Area convenience store and grocery store managers say they also haven’t seen a price rise yet. A manager of Cumberland Farms in Bristol, who would not give her name, said the store’s coffee costs $1.08 a cup.

Most coffee drinkers who were asked, said they will remain loyal to their favorite coffee products.

“I’ll keep buying it,” said Emily George of Pawtucket, R.I., a shopper at E.M. Heath in Center Harbor who buys Folgers coffee. “The price of everything goes up.”

Dunkin’ Donuts “is the best coffee, it’s the only one I drink,” said Rick Poplowski of Littleton. “I don’t care much if the price goes up.”

“You don’t like the price increase, but what are you going to do?” added his wife, Cheryl.

Mike Crews, a Concord Trailways bus driver, said he stops at Dunkin’ Donuts stores all around the state for coffee, and he will continue to do so.

“Look, I still think gas should be 28 cents a gallon,” Crews said. “Of course it bothers you when the price goes up on anything, but I love that coffee ... I’ll keep buying it.”

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