How expensive is expensive coffee?

September 15, 2011

Is coffee (in other words the beans themselves) expensive or cheap?  To me coffee is amazingly cheap.  What other products in the world can you get the best in the world of for so little.  Yes a pound of coffee for $16 sounds expensive when you are used to prices for cheaper coffees, but how much is this really?  One pound of coffee is a little more than four hundred and fifty grams.  A typical double shot of espresso runs from 14 grams to 22 grams.  16 grams is a fairly common weight.  If we then divide we see that we get around twenty eight double shots of espresso from a pound, so even for expensive coffee we are running just under 29 cents per shot of espresso (or under fifty eight if you price per double shot as Americans are likely to drink).  It would have to run fifty six dollars per pound to cost over a dollar a shot (or again twenty eight dollars if you only count double shots).  Thus even if you only drink double shots it would have to cost twenty eight dollars a shot to be more expensive than Budweiser!  If you compare it to some of the microbrews that cost many times that it seems even cheaper.


Finally compare the price of the best coffee in the world to wine, beef, etc and it seems even more of a bargain.


Now it is true that espresso makes for a small drink, but perhaps that means it should be compared to bourbon or scotch, but it again comes out as much cheaper.


This is not to say that I would not cut back if the price did double or triple, but even if it did I think it is still a fairly good argument that it would be a good deal.


There is a trend that more and more coffee companies are paying better wages to the coffee growers who do very hard work for very little money and I think the net result is better for everybody – better for the grower, of course, but better for the roaster and drinker, too, because we get better beans!


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