Hospitality bore the brunt of lockdowns throughout Victoria and NSW, and now, with rising costs of supplies, wages, ingredients and running costs, menu prices will soon need a hike.
A cafe industry group said prices of between $5 and $6 will be commonplace in Australia's big cities by the end of the year.
By far the world's largest coffee bean grower, Brazil has been hit by severe drought followed by damaging frosts, causing the production of coffee beans to fall by an estimated 30 per cent.
The world benchmark price index for arabica coffee, the Coffee C contract, has doubled since early 2021 to about $US2.40 ($3.25) per pound, pushing up Australians' price for their "green beans" by 100 per cent.
Cafe Owners and Barista's Association of Australia president, David Parnham, told The Age that a flat white had always been around $4 and stayed that price for four or five years, despite increasing prices.
"That price was a ceiling. If you went above that, you were seen as being an expensive cafe. Now we're seeing a $5 dollar ceiling and $6 by the end of the year, I think is likely." he said.
Parnham said that cafe owners had been scared to move prices before COVID; after struggling through the pandemic, they are worried about losing customers.
"but they've been absorbing these prices, both domestically and overseas, for a long time. Shipping has gone up five-fold, and coffee comes from remote places," he said.