The Annual Year in Beans summary

by JulieCraves on January 2, 2015

2014mugshotAnnual recap of how much we spend on coffee in a year

Here we are on our 6th year of standardized tracking of how much the two-person Coffee & Conservation household spends on coffee. We keep track of each bag we buy, including shipping, since we purchase the majority of our coffee online. As we’ve noted, we never buy cheap, fast-food, commodity, or mystery coffee. If we don’t know where it comes from, we don’t drink it. Usually, most have eco-certifications.

I’ll cut to the case. In 2014, we bought 61 bags (54 pounds) of coffee and spent $0.46 per six-ounce cup, which includes shipping. We spent a little over $1000 on coffee (also including shipping), and the average price per pound was $19.13.

Our six-year costs are shown in the graphic below.

Over the six years our average price per pound is $19.89 and our average price per cup is $0.48.

2014-summary-costsLast year we wanted to prove that you could buy only certified coffee for reasonable prices, and indeed our year’s supply came out to $0.44 per six-ounce cup. This year, 89% of the coffee was certified, with all but one bag of non-certifed coffee being purchased in the last six weeks. The price of coffee has climbed a bit higher this year, and the availability of certified coffee — particularly organic coffee — has started to decline a little. I think this is likely due to the impacts of the coffee leaf rust fungus crisis; production has been decreasing which can lead to higher prices, and in an effort to combat the fungus some farmers have resorted to non-organic methods and have to give up their certification.

These carefully calculated, long-term results are so consistent, I think my point has been proven: it’s a myth that environmentally-friendly, sustainably-grown coffee is “too expensive.” (Of course, the willingness of people to buy the insanely expensive, poor quality, environmentally destructive K-Cups also proves that high cost is just an excuse when it comes to buying sustainable coffee.) At any rate, the results have been so boringly uniform that I was going to discontinue this exercise…although I am curious how the effects of coffee rust will continue to impact the market. If you think I should carry on for at least one more year, let me know in the comments.

Meanwhile, don’t forget that you can calculate how much a cup of coffee costs, based on the price of a bag of beans, using the spreadsheet below.

Posts summarizing previous years are listed here:

  • 2013 (the year of all certified coffee)
  • 2012 (includes comparison to the high price of K-Cups)
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009

Happy New Year from Coffee & Conservation.

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Revised on August 20, 2015

Posted in Background information,Coffee news and miscellany

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