There are a lot of articles out saying that the price of coffee beans is rising too fast for even Starbucks, and that the Seattle coffee giant has simply stopped buying beans. That's not quite true. The source of these articles is a Wall Street Journal interview with Starbucks' chief coffee officer, Craig Russell, who said that Starbucks has very sharply reduced its coffee purchases in the past few weeks as the price of green (unroasted) beans rose over concerns about a drought in Brazil, the world's largest coffee producer.
But of course Starbucks is still buying coffee beans — as Russell explains, the company has locked in prices and bean supplies until Oct. 1, then 40 percent of prices for the next year. Starbucks isn't going shopping for new sources of beans right now because prices are up almost 90 percent this year, and why would it? Quartz's Matt Phillips has this nice chart showing just how crazy coffee's price trajectory has been this year:
But 87 percent from what? As Bloomberg's Alan Bjerga notes in the audio clip below, from NPR's Here & Now, coffee prices were at historic lows just months ago. Did coffee shops and roasters reduce their prices then? Of course not. In fact, the record high for coffee beans on the international market is $3.089 a pound, reached in May 2011. A pound of coffee at Starbucks and comparable retailers costs $12 or more. Last week, Starbucks reported a $427 million profit for the most recent quarter. It can handle the current two-year high of $2.15 a pound for green coffee beans.*
That's not to say that your morning cups of coffee won't get more expensive. Much of what you're paying for in that latte or mocha is the milk, and milk prices are also going up. Also, a 90 percent rise in the raw ingredient of coffee is still a 90 percent rise. But lots of countries grow delicious coffee. If you're not too particular about where your arabica beans come from, or you make your coffee at home, you probably won't see much of a price hike unless green coffee prices keep on rising — or coffee retailers use these sometimes credulous news stories to justify raising prices, because capitalism.
*A pound of green coffee beans doesn't make a roasted pound — the roasting process causes the beans to lose moisture, the darker the roast, the more the weight loss. Peter Weber
With 7 in 10 Americans reporting they are "frustrated" with the 2016 presidential election, this year could be the Libertarian Party's big chance — and America's largest third party is holding its national convention in Orlando, Florida, this weekend.
On the agenda: picking a presidential nominee from among three contenders. Though the contest is considered close, greatest name recognition belongs to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian nominee in 2012, when he picked up more than 1 million votes. Johnson recently polled at 10 percent nationally against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and he would need 15 percent support to make it into the general election debates.
Martin Short and Maya Rudolph stopped by The Tonight Show on Friday, so naturally host Jimmy Fallon had to find something totally outlandish for them to do together. The gang spoofed '80s cop shows with The Windy City Blue, a gag that gets progressively sillier — and windier — with each new bit. Hold onto your hat and watch below. Julie Kliegman
The World Health Organization dismissed a call Saturday to move or cancel the Rio Summer Olympics due to the spread of the Zika virus. The U.N. agency was responding to a Friday open letter from 150 health experts urging them to delay or relocate the event "in the name of public health," citing the mosquito-borne virus' link to birth defects.
"Based on the current assessment of the Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games," the group's statement read.
The Zika virus is thought to have originated in Brazil. Julie Kliegman
Yellen noted that "growth looks to be picking up from the various data that we monitor," referencing rising oil prices and a weaker, stabilizing dollar as the rationale for her decision, which corresponds with recent remarks from other Fed policymakers.
She argued that a gradual increase from the near-zero rate the central bank has maintained since the 2008 financial crisis "would be appropriate" to push inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent goal. Bonnie Kristian
Things are looking good for Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, and not only because he's expected to star in the long-awaited Space Jam sequel.
James scored 33 points Friday in the Cavs' 113-87 rout of the Toronto Raptors. With the win, his team earned a spot in the NBA Finals against either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Golden State Warriors, which would be a rematch of last year's contest.
This means, as The New York Times reports, that James is set to appear in his sixth-straight NBA Finals, and seventh overall. He's a two-time champ, both from when he took his talents to the Miami Heat. Julie Kliegman
Police arrested at least 35 people Friday at a San Diego rally for Donald Trump. About 1,000 people turned out to protest the hard-line immigration policies of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Reuters reports.
Clashes between protesters and supporters were largely non-violent, but police in riot gear began pushing and pepper spraying protesters.
.@SanDiegoPD- Fantastic job on handling the thugs who tried to disrupt our very peaceful and well attended rally. Greatly appreciated!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2016
Trump's campaign has come under fire for its history of conflict at rallies and its subsequent handling of both protesters and reporters. On Wednesday, police arrested protesters at Trump's Anaheim rally after they reportedly pelted officers with objects. Julie Kliegman
A Home Depot employee in Staten Island, New York, sparked death threats by wearing an "America Was Never Great" hat to work, The New York Times reports. Krystal Lake, 22, says she wore the hat after several co-workers wore pro–Donald Trump pins. "The point of the hat was to say that America needs change and improvement," Lake said. A company spokesman said Lake has been told never to wear the hat again.