Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Under a dollar for coffee...

When I buy really excellent coffee beans, I'm horrified by the cost. Shipping (which is highway robbery of course) pushes the rates up to about $28 per pound. To assuage my conscience, I follow an expensive order with a cheap one, more like $7/pound. In my opinion, the $7/pound coffee I buy still makes a better drink than you can buy in Starbucks, for dollars per cup.

I had never tried to figure out how many cups of coffee I can get for that money, but I'm tracking my consumption this time. At first I was hoping that the cost for my expensive beans would be less than $1.50 per cup, but it appears that the cost per cup will be much better, about $0.85. That's pretty fantastic, considering that I believe I'm making better coffee than I can buy in nearby coffee houses, and much cheaper too.

But here's the thing: As I noticed that the likely cost per cup was coming down, I did not get very excited. Because no matter how many cups I get per pound of beans, it's obvious that the $7/pound coffee costs one fourth of that. In relative terms: compared to Starbucks, my expensive coffee is a bargain; compared to supermarket prices, it's a grand luxury.


Ender said...

Using that thinking, water (which is far healthier for you) is effectively free compared to supermarket coffee, so you should dump all of the excesses. ;)

I've thought a lot about this kind of thing - just how much money do I spend every year on things that could be easily substituted for something cheaper (or eliminated entirely)? It's a pretty scary accounting. said...

I regard coffee as:
(1) A delicious luxury, and
(2) The beverage that keeps me from falling asleep while driving.

It does me no good to drink water instead of coffee. The agony for me is: what is a 'just and fair' luxury?
- PB