I knew I was being gouged — and then I paid $3.25 for my morning cup of iced coffee anyway.
Yup, one of my own local fuel stops, Naidre’s on the corner of Union Street at Henry Street, has raised the price of a 20-ounce ice-choked joe 50 cents — an 18-percent price hike that earns the cafe the dubious distinction of being more expensive than Starbucks, which charges $3.03 for a 24-ounce “venti” iced coffee.
To be frank, I have known for a while that I spend way, way too much money on coffee. Last time I did my budget — a scary exercise in honesty and self-reflection — I came to the conclusion that I spend an eighteenth of my monthly income on the mud. Yet, it took Naidre’s alarming cross into the closer-to-$5-than-$2 netherworld for me to, you guessed it, wake up and smell the coffee.
And it appears that I’m not the only one turning into a (coffee) bean counter.
One fellow young and addicted Brooklynite said that the price jolt had inspired her to begin brewing her drug of choice at home, and carrying it to work in a travel mug.
“I can’t afford to spend $12 or $15 a week on coffee,” said Jess Chock-Goldman, a Boerum Hill resident.
Another Naidre’s regular, who requested anonymity in deference to her long-standing relationship with the café’s baristas, told me she planned to institute a new budgeting system to accommodate the price hike.
“At least one day a week, I’m going to have to give up Naidre’s,” she said mournfully.
‘I’ll have to hide my face when I walk past,” she added.
Meanwhile, the café’s owner, Terry Mangrum, says that she determined her new prices by looking around at what her neighbors were charging. Jolting joe prices are par for the course in a place where the typical single-family home sells for $1 million, she said.
“Our prices haven’t gone up in a few years. What we’re doing is matching what we see now in the neighborhood,” she said.
Like the cost of a slice of pizza — which hit an astounding $2.30 last month at Sal’s — the price of coffee is creeping up. The Tea Lounge on Court Street near Kane Street is planning to increases its prices by a quarter this fall and a similar price hike is expected at D’Amico, the neighborhood’s old school coffee establishment.
Joan D’Amico, co-owner of the 58-year-old stalwart, said that she has been avoiding a price hike for months, but that it now appears inevitable. A 24-ounce cup of iced coffee at the 305 Court St. café and roaster runs you $2.50. D’Amico said the store is unlikely to reach Naidre’s $3.25 mark, but may come close.
“I’d like to keep it under $3 for as long as I can,” she said. “But everything is more expensive, even roasting it.”
Mangrum, who bought the Carroll Gardens café and its Park Slope sister from its original owner several months ago, said that her $3.25 iced coffee was just one small piece of her larger plans to expand the cozy café chain with a new location in Red Hook.
“We are moving towards more organic and local food and produce and that costs more,” she said. “Fifty cents isn’t a whole lot to pay for a product that tastes better and is better for you and the environment.”
But for cheapskates like me who make use of ALL the change in their pockets, it looks like its time to start home brewing. After all, even a reporter can’t live on caffeine alone.Kitchen Sink
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