Coffee futures have jumped to over $2 a pound for the first time since 1997.

A shortage of arabica beans, desired for their mild taste, has been evident in global markets for years, and futures are now catching up with the high prices that have prevailed at South and Central America's shipping ports.

Prices have been climbing since June as heavy rains dampened forecasts of stockpiles.

Arabica coffee for December delivery hit a high of $2.0315 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. during intraday trading on Thursday. That is up 6.4 cents, or 3.3%, on the day, and the highest point since Sept. 18, 1997.

Some roasters such as Starbucks Corp. have already reacted to the surge in coffee futures by raising prices on drinks, and more such increases are expected.

More from the Wall Street Journal online.