By ANNA PRIOR
Coffee prices have gone from grande to venti in a matter of months. A safe way to bet on coffee, and a stronger brew for risk takers.
Play It Safe: Coffee Roaster Stocks
With coffee prices up more than 93 percent in a year and talk of an agriculture bubble, it's hard to imagine a safe play here. Certainly, the causes -- bad weather in coffee-growing regions worldwide and higher demand in emerging markets -- aren't likely to change radically. But some pros say it's still hard to go wrong buying the stocks of coffee roasters, since they have been able to pass along the costs to their customers, says Akshay Jagdale, an equity analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR),
Go For Broke: Coffee Futures
For those who prefer an espresso-jolted portfolio, investors can bet on whether the coffee-price buzz will continue with futures contracts. Coffee futures allow investors to predict whether the price of coffee will rise or fall by buying or selling a contract for future coffee delivery at a set price. "The payoff with futures is potentially greater," but prices can change very quickly, says Judith Ganes-Chase, a commodities consultant. For instance, back in 1997, concerns about supply shortages sent coffee prices soaring 170 percent in just five months. By the end of the year, however, prices had tanked. Buyers can get exposure to coffee futures through exchange-traded notes (securities that trade like stocks throughout the day), such as the iPath DJ-UBS Coffee Subindex Total Return ETN (JO)