My year in beans: 2010

by on January 1, 2011

This has become something of a tradition: how much I spend on coffee each year — good, often great, sustainably-grown coffee. I’m not a typical coffee drinker, in that I get nearly all my coffee online (and so pay shipping charges) and 95% of it is single-origin. I prefer single origins because it enables me to do research on the source and gauge sustainability. Most average coffee consumers will be able to bring this price down substantially without compromising sustainability.

I started in 2008 with an annual coffee expense of $987, including shipping, which worked out to $2.70 a day.

In 2009, I kept more precise figures, calculating $1031 for beans plus $129 for shipping, for a total of $1160 for the year. This was $0.45 per 6-oz cup.

Here are my 2010 stats:

  • 78 bags of coffee totaling 61 pounds.
  • Total retail price = $1064. I purchased very few bags locally, so I also spent $143 on shipping, for a grand total of $1207 for the year.
  • This still works out to only $0.48 per six-ounce cup ($0.42 without shipping).
  • I buy a lot of really high-quality coffee, much more than the typical consumer. The average price per pound (not including shipping) this year was $17.57. The big outlier was Counter Culture’s Hacienda Esmeralda Mario San Jose which retailed at the equivalent of over $69/lb. Including that coffee, I purchased 16 bags of coffee that retailed for over $20/lb.

I have a three-year average of around 60 pounds a year, from 20 roasters. Usually, about half the roasters are new ones that I try out.

So, no excuses — great coffee that helps support ecosystems and rural communities worldwide is not too expensive for all of us to enjoy.

I’ve posted this before, but if you’d like to calculate how much a cup of coffee costs, based on the price of a bag of beans, just punch in the price and weight of the bag here:

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Revised on February 6, 2013

Posted in Coffee news and miscellany

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