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The $40 Pound of Folgers

Nespresso PodsBefore I launch into what will surely be a bit of a rant, let me ask you: Would you pay $40 for a pound of our coffee?  I don't mean a premium, award-winning lot of coffee, but, say, our Nicaraguan farm direct from Luis?  

I bet chances are pretty good that most, if not all of you, would answer, "Well, No, that is not in my budget."  If that is you, hold onto your seats as you keep reading - especially if you own a single-serve brewer like a Keurig!

I recently ran across a NY Times article called With Coffee, the Price of Individualism Can Be High.  In it, the writer exposes the insanely high cost of single-serve coffee pods, the most common brand being K-cups.  

"But that cannot possibly be true," you say!  

Take a case (24-pack) of Folgers Black Silk K-Cups, presently priced at $16.49 on the Keurig website.  The per cup cost of that coffee is $0.69, which does not seem too bad.  But then consider that each K-cup contains only 8 grams of ground coffee, and that it takes 453.5 grams (56 K-cups) to make up a pound of coffee and the numbers get scary.  

At $0.68 cents per 8 grams of ground coffee, you will end up paying $41 per pound - for Folgers nonetheless!  

Now let's compare that to the cost of our coffee, which is mostly priced at $16 per pound (though we sell it in 12oz. bags).  Let's assume you use 21 grams to make a 12oz. cup of coffee in a Clever Coffee Dripper.  If so, you will get 21 cups out of that pound, at a cost of $0.76 per cup.  True, the per cup price is slightly higher than the Folgers K-Cup, but you also used almost three times as much ground coffee to make your cup, meaning a much more complex and tasty cup of coffee. 

If you were to compare apples to apples, take refillable K-Cups and use 8 grams of Carabello Coffee, the cost per cup drops to $0.29 per cup.  

But why am I really saying all of this?  

Well, it kills me to have people look at our coffee and say things like, "$12 a bag seems really high," or "Your coffee is too expensive for me," only to then find out that the same people are using Keurig machines in their home, which means they are paying 2.5 times the cost of our coffee for the equivalent in weight.  But since they do not know the weight of what it in their pods, they are ignorant of this. 

The Keurig BrewerBecause of the way everything is presented with this single-serve technology, where the focus is on a cheaper per-cup cost than a cafe, the consumer is completely in the dark when it comes to being able to analyse what they are actually spending on their coffee consumption.  

They think, "Hey, I can save $1 over going to Starbucks," but that is because they do not know what is actually on the inside of their sealed, opaque pod.  

The marketers of this technology are ripping them off and laughing all the way to the bank.  Read the NY Times article and see for yourself.  The profits these companies are making is ridiculous - and I have nothing against making a profit!  

So there you have it.  If only there were a way to convince people to forsake the mirage of convenience, where we are willing to consume an inferior product at an inflated price, all so that we can have another two or three minutes in our day to do I don't know what... Do we really have a better quality of life when we make choices like this?  Somehow I doubt it.  

Save your money.  Ditch the fancy machine, buy some really great coffee and spend a few more minutes making it in a Clever, a Chemex or a Hario V-60.  Then take the savings and do some good with it, or throw it in the bank!

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1 Comment

Brilliant! This is really well written.

I like the convenience of k-cups, but I’m learning to appreciate the process and art of making coffee. And having a conversation while brewing is most of the fun.

Posted by Levi on July 29, 2013

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