Rising coffee bean prices impact local coffee shops

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- For some people a cup of coffee is the only way to start the day.

For the select few, it is social currency.

"For socializing one cup of coffee means a 20 minute conversation, which sometimes isn't a good thing," said Joe Bonner.

But that cup of comfort is starting to come at a bigger cost. Coffee bean prices are hitting all-time highs for the year, blamed mainly on drought problems in Brazil.

And those events happening a world away are being felt right here at home.

"We're definitely seeing price increases from our vendors, especially bulk coffee prices," said Ben Polzin, co-owner of the Down to Earth Cafe outside of Eau Claire.

He says his shop is trying to absorb the higher cost. His customers are usually shoppers at his Garden Center store, which is attached to the cafe.

"It's more of a service to our clients really," he said.

Still, every little bit makes a big difference.

"Coffee really adds up a lot faster than you really think it would," he said.

At the 420 Internet Cafe across town, their business is built on helping others.

Money spent here goes into their ministry to help the homeless, people with addictions, they even have an on-site counselor and the people working here are volunteers.

"We're a ministry before we're a coffee shop," said Pastor Russ Atter, co-owner of the shop.

And so you can imagine the effects increased coffee prices have at a place like this.

"Our focus is not the bottom dollar, but coffee prices do affect how much money goes into the ministry," he said.

But if there is a silver lining in all of this, coffee drinkers we talked with do not intend to give up their cups anytime soon.

"We have to do what we have to do to get through the day," said Jane Decker.

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