Wholesale tea prices on the rise

Chelsea Pensioners pause for a tea break during a look round the facilities at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on February 24, 2011 in London, England.

Jeremy Hobson: Well we've talked about the effect dry weather in this country is having on corn and soybean prices. But it turns out that bad weather elsewhere in the world is affecting global tea prices. The cost of good quality, black tea has shot up 41 percent on the wholesale market this year.
 
Christopher Werth has the story from tea paradise that we commonly call London.


Christopher Werth: At the Little Portland Cafe in central London, Phillip Thiaphilou rattles off a list of teas.

Phillip Thiaphilou: We've got tea, regular English tea...

The price: just about $1.00 a cup. Nine out of ten people in Britain drink tea. It's practically the national beverage. And Thiaphilou says his customers will likely be concerned about a price hike.

Thiaphilou: We sell a lot of tea in England. So i'm sure the rising cost of tea is going to be quite distressing.

Alex Beckett of the research firm Mintel, says recent bad weather in top tea producing countries such as Kenya and India are to blame for the recent spike in tea prices. But he doesn't expect it to hit tea loving Brits too hard.

Alex Beckett: The British supermarkets here are going to battle and do all they can to keep the shelf prices as low as possible because we need our tea.

But some analyst have read the tea leaves and say prices could climb even higher.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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