Here's who benefits from falling coffee costs
Coffee futures may have gotten roasted over the past two years, but don't expect to pay less for your morning latte. Instead, the drop is seen as a boon for coffee sellers like Starbucks and Green Mountain.
Since hitting a high in May 2011, coffee futures have lost almost two-thirds of their value. In fact, the futures recently hit a four-year low of $1.15 a pound.
Largely to blame has been Brazil. The world's biggest coffee producer and exporter, Brazil produced a record crop in 2012. While the harvest is expected to be slightly down this year, it is still expected to be very large, and another record is expected in 2014.
If there's one company that's been helped by the price decline, it's been Green Mountain Coffee.
The slide in coffee prices has had an "enormous impact" on Green Mountain, said Jonathan Feeney, who covers the company for Janney Capital Markets. "You've seen nothing but top-line misses and enormous beat on the bottom line," because of the increased profits from lower coffee costs.
(Read more: Green Mountain earnings beat, revenue falls short)
And according to research released by Feeney on Monday, Green Mountain's commodity costs are down by 11.3 percent in September, compared with the year prior. "That alone would be inflationary to gross margins by 250 basis points," he said. In other words, Feeney expects the decline he's measuring for the month of September to add 2.5 percent to the company's profits.
After all, Green Mountain is in a "commodity-oriented business," Feeney explains. "It's a product that you just roast and put in a can."
Another major beneficiary of the coffee price drip has been Starbucks. As the company's chief financial officer, Troy Alstead, noted in its third-quarter earnings call, "coffee costs continue to be a benefit to us."
And it should continue to be a benefit, said R.J. Hottovy, who covers Starbucks for Morningstar. "This should be a nice tailwind for Starbucks over the next couple months," Hottovy said.
"It will be a positive driver for 2014 results."
(Read more: Starbucks latte drives early pumpkin foods craze)
Part of the reason that falling coffee prices are such a positive catalyst is that companies like Starbucks don't tend to decrease consumer prices when costs fall. And while Starbucks has reduced supermarket prices somewhat, prices at its cafes have not fallen.
"Very rarely do you see a scaling back in price," Hottovy said. For that reason, even though coffee prices are declining, "you won't see as big of an impact for the consumer."
But then again, that's because the average Starbucks consumer wouldn't switch cafes in order to save a dime or two. "The group going into Starbucks is not price sensitive at all," Hottovy said. This allows Starbucks to pocket the extra money that it's saving on commodity costs.
All in all, Hottovy believes that Starbucks shares are undervalued, as he sees the $72 stock rising to $78.
And as for the analyst's go-to Starbucks order? "Iced skinny vanilla latte," he recited.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the change in value of coffee futures since their May 2011 highs.