My full disclosure to coffee aficionados: I am a coffee Neanderthal. I haven’t really got any clue about the finer nuances of this bean and associated preparations, but I’m certain that the culture of coffee is just as opinionated and arcane as those of breadbaking / audiophile-ing / music / etc. so I’ll excuse myself from the flame wars lying in wait. Consider this an innocent inquiry without attention to finer details.

This is just a quick quip. I saw this the other day and decided to check the numbers.

‘Google fact check’ gives the current price per pound to be $1.15

And the average base price of a cup to be $1.38
A note about this: I only did some cursory searching to find this statistic, but as far as I can tell it is entirely un-repudiated. None of the sources I came to (Forbes included) listed any references. Citations needed!

So Mr. Man is off by a factor of two, but I’ll chalk that up to NYC markup. The city is an expensive place to be. This got me wondering, how many cups of coffee can be brewed from a pound of coffee? A little more searching turns up 30-50 8-oz. cups, depending on the brew strength. That must make for some significant savings! A pound of coffee from a vendor like Starbucks costs about $12 – so I figure a rough $10 markup to go from raw bean to final roast. Compared to $1.15, that’s a steep price for a trip through the oven.

I decided to throw put all of these rough uncited calculations into a chart. The verdict: roast your own coffee. While you’re at it, roast some nuts, grind some grain, grow some veggies, etc. If nothing but for the financial aspect. You can trade a little convenience for a lot of money. Perhaps that’s a comment on our society after all.

Source Price/Cup Assumptions
Brewed Coffee $1.38 “National Average” (so-called)
Pre-Roasted $0.30 40 cups / pound
Unroasted $0.03 40 cups / pound

p.s. I don’t know any economic theory either.


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