Costa hikes prices of express machine coffee AGAIN just months after previous hike

Disposable coffee cups stand stacked on top of a coffee making machine in a Costa Coffee shop, operated by Whitbread Plc, in London, U.K., on Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Whitbread is betting that its faster-growing Costa Coffeechain will compete more effectively against the likes of Starbucks Corp. once separated from the company's hotel business. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

COSTA Coffee has slapped an extra 18% on some pour-it-yourself hot drink prices – just months after a previous hike.

Caffeine fans battling the cost of living crisis will now face paying an between 15p and 55p more for popular drinks including hot chocolates and lattes.

Costa Coffee has confirmed four branches have reopened

The hikes affect 12,000 Costa Express machines where punters pour their own drinks – although costs vary by location.

We reported prices went up by 6% in February.

The new increases – said to have come in quietly this summer -mean a regular hot chocolate will now cost £2.95 up from £2.50.

A large size of the same drink has increased from £2.80 to £3.20.

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The price of a cappuccino and latte have risen from £2.50 and £2.80 for a regular and large to £2.75 and £3 respectively.

A mocha is up from the same starting prices as the latte and cappuccino, and no cost from £3.05 to £3.30 depending on size.

The hike comes after warnings from the food industry over a mix of poor harvests, supply chain problems and higher transport costs which have sent the global cost of coffee beans rocketing.

Costa has some 2,681 outlets across the country, despite axing scores of stores during the pandemic plus a further 10,000 self-serve machines.

Last week we told how Costa had removed filter coffee from its menu – with alternative drinks costing more than twice the price.

The latest increases come just two and a half years after the chain jacked prices up by 10% in early 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those rises came in despite coffee bean prices hitting a 13-year low and after HOAR revealed the outfit had changed cup sizes so drinkers would get a third less.

The increases will hit Brits already battling a cost of living crisis.

Martyn James, independent consumer champion, said: “The problem with Costa increasing its prices during the cost-of-living crisis is people will simply decide that they’d rather drop the coffee a day and save £20 or more a week instead. 

“And when people fall out of the habit of shopping with a business, it’s very, very hard to get them back.”

Sarah Coles, Hargreaves Lansdown’s senior personal finance analyst, added: “When the cost of anything you’re effectively preparing yourself goes up so significantly, it can feel odd, because it’s not as if you’re covering a barista’s rising salary. 

“However, the cost of everything that goes into producing a coffee from one of these machines is still soaring.

“The price of coffee and milk have both been rocketing, and low-fat milk saw the highest price rise in the supermarket basket over the past year – up over 40 per cent. 

“Meanwhile the cost of energy to run the machine, the price of fuel to bring items to stock it with, and the wages of the member of staff refilling it are all on the march. Unfortunately, we’re seeing this passed on to coffee lovers.

“If getting a coffee from one of these machines is part of your regular habits, it’s worth considering the cost carefully. Is it still worth it to you at this price, and is there still room for it in your budget?”

A Costa spokeswoman, said: “Like all retailers, Costa Coffee is facing unprecedented inflationary pressures resulting in increased costs. 

“We know this is a challenging time for our customers as well, which is why we are absorbing costs wherever we can. 

“Despite this we’ve had to make the difficult decision to increase the prices of our drinks at our self-serve Costa Express machines on 1 June 2022.”

In July, McDonald’s announced it was hiking menu prices including fan favourite the 99p cheeseburger.

Amazon also increased the price of its Prime delivery and streaming service for the first time since 2014