Soaring commodity prices for tea, coffee and sugar over the past year have pushed up the cost of a typical cup of tea by 28% and coffee by a similarly hefty 22%, according to data from The Grocer 33.
However, thanks to recovering global supply, coffee prices are beginning to fall on commodity markets. Coffee is now 14.8% cheaper year-on-year and world prices of the robusta beans used for instant coffee are down almost 40% from their 2008 peaks [Mintec].
Experts warned it could take several months for the retail price of coffee which overtook tea as the UK's most-consumed hot drink in 2005 to fall, due to companies ordering raw materials up to six months in advance. UK companies and consumers will also benefit less than their international rivals due to the falling value of sterling over the past 12 months.
Relief will take even longer to come for tea drinkers. PG Tips is 28.2% costlier than last year while rival Tetley is 6.5% more expensive but respite looks unlikely for months to come.
Global tea prices surged last year after drought in growing regions in India damaged many crops and disrupted supply. Prices are unlikely to ease until well after the new harvest begins later this year.
Global sugar prices are up 94% year-on-year, but UK consumers have been sheltered from this surge by EU crop subsidies.