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
Donald Trump leads the Republican presidential race in Indiana with 49 percent support among likely voters, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll out Sunday.
Ted Cruz sits 15 percentage points behind, with 34 percent support, and John Kasich notched just 13 percent. The margin of error is 3.9 percentage points.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders, 50 percent to 46 percent, ahead of Tuesday's primaries. That's smaller than the poll's 4.6-point margin of error. Julie Kliegman
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) picked up about 80 delegates of more than 170 on the table at local and state conventions Saturday, Politico reports.
He snagged a majority of delegates in Arizona and Virginia, two states that strongly backed Donald Trump in primaries. Cruz also made gains in Missouri. Trump fared well in Massachusetts, Alaska, and Arkansas.
Most delegates are obligated to support the winner of their state's nominating contest on the Republican National Convention's first ballot, but can switch allegiances in future rounds of voting. Cruz's strategy banks on Trump not being able to grab the minimum of 1,237 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination outright. Julie Kliegman
President Obama spared no one when he took the stage Saturday at his final White House Correspondents' Dinner. He poked fun at journalists, Democrats, and Republicans alike, saving his harshest jokes for Donald Trump, who didn't attend.
"You have a room full of reporters, celebrities, cameras. And he says no. Is this dinner too tacky for The Donald? What could he be possibly doing instead?" Obama said. "Eating a Trump Steak? Tweeting out insults to Angela Merkel? What's he doing?"
The president proceeded to end his speech with a literal mic drop. Julie Kliegman
— ABC News (@ABC) May 1, 2016
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) maintained Friday that he'll support the Republican presidential nominee, even if that somebody happens to be Donald Trump, The Palm Beach Post reports.
In fact, Rubio might be more impressed with the billionaire business mogul than usual, saying his "performance has improved significantly" recently.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was none too thrilled Saturday with the protesters who blocked his way into California's Republican convention the day before:
The "protesters" in California were thugs and criminals. Many are professionals. They should be dealt with strongly by law enforcement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2016
Leave it to Trump to make an off-color joke about the incident once he made it inside the hotel Friday.
Jimmy Fallon has been singing bits and pieces of Styx's "Too Much Time on My Hands" on The Tonight Show for days. On Friday, he and actor Paul Rudd took the obsession to its natural conclusion, creating a shot-by-shot remake of the '80s music video. The end result is sufficiently goofy. Take a look below. Julie Kliegman