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El Niño May Cause Coffee Prices to Rise by 107 Percent

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It might be a good time to start drinking tea.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

El Niño may help solve California's drought problem, but it might not be such good news for coffee lovers. According to Bloomberg, the El Niño currently brewing in the Pacific Ocean may be the strongest one since the 1950s, and it has coffee companies like Starbucks worried because it could affect the flowering of coffee beans.

Time writes that El Niño is associated with "serious shifts in temperature and precipitation." Scientists have predicted that this year it will bring about "torrential" rainfall and flooding in Eastern Africa, including Uganda, which is the largest exporter of coffee on the continent. Starbucks has long imported coffee from the region.

While the weather will affect Starbucks' supplies, the price will likely not increase that much for customers because Starbucks "stocks its coffee far enough in advance." However, smaller importers will likely be hit hard. Economists believe that El Niño might cause coffee prices to rise by up to 107 percent. The prices of other staples like soy and chocolate are also set to increase, which means ordering triple mocha lattes with soy milk may be a thing only those with massive bank accounts will be able to afford.

The price of coffee has been on the rise for a while, leading Starbucks to increase its prices recently. In June, the chain added five to 20 cents to the price of most of its drinks.

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