My year in beans: 2011

by on January 3, 2012

Annual recap of how much I spend on coffee in a year

I started this several years ago, and I think the method has now been more or less standardized. See below for previous results and caveats.

This year, coffee prices were higher, but I was able to spend a little less on shipping due to taking advantage of specials, or buying more bags per order. Here are my 2011 stats:

  • 89 bags of coffee totaling 63 pounds.
  • Total retail price for the coffee only = $1297. I buy most of my coffee online, so I spent $123 on shipping, for a grand total of $1420 for the year. It’s not too hard to find free or reduced shipping specials online.  Note that my shipping costs only work out to $1.38 a bag.
  • Cost per six-ounce cup: only $0.54 ($0.49 without shipping).
  • I buy a lot of really high-quality coffee. The average price per pound (not including shipping) this year was $22. The big outlier was a half-pound of Finca La Valentina Geisha from PT’s Coffee, which retailed at the equivalent of almost $120/lb. Including that coffee, I indulged in 23 bags of coffee that retailed for over $20/lb. If only all of life’s simple luxuries were so cheap!
  • This year, I took a closer look at the top ten or so coffees that I had flagged as my favorites this year. The list revealed some interesting trends — I’ll be doing a separate post on them shortly.

Previous results

My three-year average (discarding 2008 stats) is 62 pounds of coffee a year at an average of just over$20/lb, and $0.49 per 6-oz cup, including shipping.

Other facts about my 2011 coffee:

  • I purchased from 25 roasters, 8 of which were new to me.
  • All but two bags were from single-country origins, representing 20 countries.
  • I buy mostly single-estate coffee so that I can do research on the source and gauge sustainability, as not all farmers can afford certification. At some point in the fourth quarter of the year, I began recording certifications, and tried to go back and look them up for older coffees (not all of which were still available). Of my 89 bags, 31 were certified organic, with some of those having additional certifications; another 8 were certified by by Rainforest Alliance only.

As I’ve said previously, 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 Housekeeping

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheoy Lee January 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

It’s all about experimenting with costs and different order sizes but I sense your priority is the coffee itself – the flavours, getting to try new types, rather than a ruthless focus on cost. That’s nice!

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JACraves January 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Coffee is one of my (only) indulgences. I’m not going to drink it if I’m not going to enjoy it, so the coffee does come first. That said, I also won’t drink it if I’m not pretty sure that it is grown in a sustainable manner; that matters to me a lot. I don’t drink as many African coffees as my tastes would dictate because of this. But there is a world of great coffees out there, so I don’t feel deprived. And every crop year, I get to start all over again!

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Herbert January 11, 2012 at 3:37 am

Hahaha, every year is a new year exactly :)

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