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Chicago Will Experience Bitter Taste Of 'Coffee Rust'

(CBS) – It's enough to give premium coffee lovers the jitters: a fungus invading crops in Latin America that could have a big impact on prices.

CBS 2's Pamela Jones reports.

Your favorite cup of premium coffee could cost you more soon, partly because of coffee rust fungus. It's leaving it's mark and devastating crops across countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica.

"It will just drive the cost of coffee up. Specialty coffee requires a very high grade of coffee, and it definitely won't stand for any kind of fungus or anything," Alex Burns of the Wormhole Café says.

The Wormhole Cafe hasn't had to raise prices yet.

The coffee rust fungus is especially deadly, though, to Arabica beans, which make up a lot of high-end and specialty coffees Chicago area drinkers enjoy.

Big cafe chains bought their supply well before this season's fungus struck, but in a year or so experts say higher costs could trickle down to java lovers here.

Bradley Hudson manages La Colombe in Chicago's West Loop and says word about the fungus is spreading. It's causing some smaller coffee houses to lean away from specialty coffees.

But customers with discriminating tastes may be willing to pay the higher price.



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