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
Stephen Colbert started Monday's Late Show by mocking the man who tried to set off a bomb in the subway station near New York City's Port Authority terminal Monday morning. "Luckily, none of the bystanders were seriously hurt, and the police got the guy," he said. And Colbert had a message for the 27-year-old Pakistani bomber from Brooklyn: "Seriously? You tried to terrorize New York Subway commuters? Nice try. New York commuters don't even flinch when the subway breakdancers kick two inches away from their face. They have to battle rats for the seat."
"Now you're going to jail for a long, long, long time," Colbert said, "and all New Yorkers want to know is: Does that mean your apartment is free, and is it rent-controlled?"
Colbert noted that several of the women who've accused President Trump of sexual assault are back in public, then spent a few minutes going over a New York Times report of Trump's daily battle in the White House. Trump is upset about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, but he reportedly shrugs it off, telling people, "That's life," Colbert said. "Yes, it's life, but you could plead that down to 30 years if you rat out Don Jr."
The Times also said Trump watches 4-8 hours of TV a day, and "hate-watches" CNN's Don Lemon — things Trump denied in a tweet on Monday, which Colbert read. But given Trump's fixation on TV, it's no surprise that before takin office, he reportedly told aides to think of "each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals," Colbert said. He suggested some titles, including Grabs Anatomy.
The Late Show also mocked up a Trump family sitcom, Meet the Vanquishers, that gets a little dark at the end. Watch below. Peter Weber
Tuesday is the big election in Alabama, with either Roy Moore or Doug Jones being sent to the Senate. On Monday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel said he did not understand why Moore is slightly favored to win the race, given his alleged predatory behavior toward teenage girls and related ban from the mall. "Maybe it's me, but if you aren't allowed to set foot inside a Hot Topic store, you shouldn't be allowed in the Senate of the United States," Kimmel said.
"A group that backs President Trump sent a 12-year-old girl to interview Roy Moore — for real," Kimmel said. "I don't know if the idea was to prove he could sit next to a young girl without hitting on her, but in any event, with this young lady at least, Judge Moore was a perfect gentleman." Well, until the end, in this version of the interview. "Obviously we faked that, but if he had done it, they'd still defend him," Kimmel said. He ended with a joke about Trump's first choice in the race being Jared from Subway.
"Roy Moore supporters spent the weekend going door to door, just like Roy Moore has to do when he moves into a new neighborhood," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show, continuing the hebephilia jokes. He also found the interview with a 12-year-old girl a puzzling choice. "This is the worst matchup for an interview since they sent that honey-glazed ham to interview Chris Christie," he said. Still, if most Republicans in Congress are less than thrilled with Moore, Trump has gone all-in, and that's not surprising, Colbert said. "They both have a deep love of country — the country's Russia, but still." He played a recent video of Moore trashing the U.S., lauding Russia's Vladimir Putin, and saying a phrase in Russian that Colbert had a novel translation for. Watch below. Peter Weber
Jimmy Kimmel enlists his infant son, Billy, to remind Congress it needs to fund children's health care, stat
No American infant has done more than Billy Kimmel to thwart this year's health-care overhaul envisioned by Republicans, and Jimmy Kimmel introduced his son on Monday's Kimmel Live, after taking last week off for Billy's second heart surgery. "Daddy cries on TV but Billy doesn't, it's unbelievable," he said, after tearing up. Billy is doing well, Kimmel added, but the health of about nine million U.S. children is at risk "because of something you probably never heard of, it's called CHIP," or the Children's Health Insurance Program.
The federal program, which insures about one in eight children, had always had strong bipartisan support, Kimmel said. "Overwhelmingly, Democrats and Republicans supported it, until now. Now, CHIP has become a bargaining chip, it's on the back burner while they work out their new tax plans, which means parents of children with cancer and diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month. Merry Christmas, right?"
Congress let funding for CHIP expire ten weeks ago, for the first time since it was created. "Imagine getting that letter, literally not knowing how you'll be able to afford to save your child's life," Kimmel said. "This is not a hypothetical — about 2 million CHIP kids have serious chronic conditions." He said he's disgusted with Washington's priorities, and urged viewers to demand their senator and House representative "take a break from tax cuts for a minute and fully fund CHIP immediately." He provided the number. "If these were potato chips they were taking away from us, we would be marching on Washington with pitchforks and spears right now," Kimmel joked.
Kimmel also reminded everyone that Friday is the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. "ObamaCare is not dead," he said. "It's very much alive," and that includes the subsidized plans and the penalty for not having health insurance. Peter Weber
During a rally for Doug Jones in Birmingham on Monday, Alabama native Charles Barkley urged voters in the state to support the former federal prosecutor in his bid to become the first Democratic Senator to represent the state since the 1990s.
"At some point, we got to stop looking like idiots to the nation," the NBA and Auburn University legend said. "I love Alabama, but at some point we got to draw a line in the sand and show we're not a bunch of damn idiots." Jones' opponent, Republican Roy Moore, has espoused controversial views on many topics and been accused by several women of groping them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s, and Barkley said he's "embarrassed" that Moore is even on the ballot. "If somebody told you guys, 'Put this election in a movie script' … you would throw it in the trash," he added. "You'd say there's no way possible this other dude could be leading in any polls."
Jones made a gentler appeal, telling supporters the election is "going to be one of the most significant in our state's history, and we've gotta make sure that at this crossroads in Alabama's history, we take the right road." Catherine Garcia
The celebrate the eagerly anticipated new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show took snippets from the previous eight Star Wars films to recreate Hanson's last No. 1 single, "MMMBop." You might have to watch the video a few times to catch all the characters contributing to the mashup, or to marvel at all the times a Star Wars character said "bop" (or something close enough), but Yoda — who was not the last Jedi — properly gets the last word. Watch below. Peter Weber
A man who served in Vietnam with Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore thought it would be a good idea on Monday night to share what he obviously thought was an affirming story about the time the two went to a brothel that had girls who were "certainly pretty" but "young, some were probably very young."
Moore has been accused by several women of groping them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s, but that didn't stop Bill Sailing from recounting his memory during a Moore rally ahead of Tuesday's special Senate election. He told the crowd he and Moore had been invited to go to a "private club" by a fellow soldier, and they went because it was the soldier's last night and there were "legitimate private clubs." When they arrived, "it turned out to be a brothel," he continued. "We walked inside. I could tell you what I saw, but I don't want to."
The crowd laughed, and Sailing kept going. "Roy turned to me in less time than it took for someone to come up to us, and there were certainly pretty girls. And they were girls, they were young, some were probably very young." He said Moore told him, "We shouldn't be here, I'm leaving," and they went back to the base camp, leaving their other friend behind. The Moore he knew, Sailing finished, was "honorable, disciplined, morally straight, and highly principled." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
At Roy Moore rally, Bannon mocks Alabama grad Joe Scarborough for not making 'the cut' at Bannon's elite 'Yankee' alma maters
Stephen Bannon, Breitbart News chairman and former strategist to President Trump, was a main speaker at Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore's closing rally in Midland City on Monday night, and he pitched Moore as a Trump-like economic nationalist who will help bring an end to Trump's troubles in Washington. He had some barbs for the Republicans who have criticized Moore or stayed on the sidelines, including an implicit rebuke of Ivanka Trump, who'd said "there is a special place in hell for people who prey on children," as Moore is accused of having done. "There's a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better," Bannon said.
Bannon also had plenty to criticize about the news media, or "opposition party," accusing news organizations of trying to personally destroy Moore, presumably by reporting the collaborated accusations from several women about Moore fondling or dating them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Bannon made an ill-advised dig at Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, too.
"By the way, Morning Joe, you called me a Yankee the other day, just because I'm from Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy," Bannon said. "That's right, Joe, I got into some Yankee schools, Georgetown and Harvard, that I don't think you made the cut on, brother. Just because a Southerner went to a Yankee school, Joe, doesn't make you a Yankee." Scarborough, a native of Georgia, is a graduate of the University of Alabama — as is Moore, who got his law degree there in 1977. Scarborough saw the easy pitch and swung.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) December 12, 2017
Other speakers at the rally included former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Moore's former Vietnam War friend Bill Sailing, and his wife, Kayla Moore. Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's special election. Peter Weber