Americans spend about $32 billion dollars annually on coffee. While fluctuations in the global price of coffee on the commodity markets led industry behemoth Starbucks to boost its per-cup price tag last month, a growing share of consumer dollars are going to higher-cost specialty or craft coffee.
"It's definitely a growing part of the beverage world," said Brett Smith, who co-founded Durham, N.C.-based specialty coffee wholesaler Counter Culture in 1995. "People are switching from the traditional coffee that we know from the 1950s and 60s," in favor or artisanal or smaller-batch brands, Smith said. His company markets several coffees featuring flavors like citrus, chocolate and molasses.