Coffee price hike brews 

The daily caffeine fix is about to get a little pricier, but patrons of a ubiquitous coffee giant don’t seem in any hurry to cut back on the java.

Starbucks Corp. announced this week that it will raise prices by nine cents Tuesday for behind-the-counter drinks such as brewed coffee, espresso drinks, Frappuccinos and some tea-based drinks. The company cites an increase in the cost of coffee and espresso-drink production — which involves importing coffee beans and transporting dairy products across the country — as the reason.

The news, however, hasn’t come as a shock to local Starbucks patrons, who already pay more compared with patrons across the country.

"The cost of coffee is going up, the cost of gas is going up, the cost of living is going up," San Francisco resident Robert Scory said as he sat outside a Starbucks in Burlingame. "What are you going to do?"

Kris Hill, visiting a South of Market Starbucks, said unless someone is making a concerted effort to cut all the extraneous items out of their personal budget, people are going to continue buying coffee at coffee shops.

"My biggest beef with a change in the prices is when the change I get back is not an adequate tip," Hill said. "I get really peeved about that."

Sitting nearby, Dalbir Singh said the prices in San Francisco were actually lower than those in Singapore, from which he recently moved. However, he noted that since the ingredientsaren’t changing, neither should their cost.

"I do not think the price should be raised anymore," Singh said, adding that he would cut down on coffee should the hikes continue.

Starbucks spokeswoman Bridget Baker said the company has not had a noticeable loss of customers after price hikes of 11 cents in 2004 and five cents in 2006. "The cost of getting a drink in your hands is just getting more expensive," Baker said.

Millbrae Starbucks manager Michelle Gonzalez said the price increases could affect some people coming in five times a week. But she didn’t expect many to leave the Starbucks fold. "The regulars don’t seem to stop coming in, from what I’ve seen," Gonzalez said.

tramroop@examiner.com

Examiner Staff Writer David Smith contributed to this report.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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