I've drunk coffee for so long that if I quit, my body would go into a coma, I'm sure. There! I've confessed it and feel relieved. Having done so, I now feel compelled to write about something that bugs me: the economics of coffee consumption.
I just don't get it. I don't get the economics of single cup coffee brewers. They are all the rage, you know. All the stores have them and they lead the ads when they are on sale. But they are like buying computer printers. The long term cost isn't the printer itself, just as the long-term cost isn't the coffee maker itself. For the latter of course, the cost of ink cartridges quickly exceeds the cost of the hardware. For the coffee maker, it's the cost of those little single serve cups that rapidly eclipses the hardware cost, even if it is $150.
Here's my logic. I've conceded that buying coffee at a restaurant or fast food place is expensive because of the service, overhead, etc. At home however the economics are more significant. You see, I know that the very expensive coffee beans are somewhere around $50 a pound. Assuming you can get 50 cups of coffee from a pound, that's $1 a cup. Now our everyday, normal, above-average coffee costs about $10 a pound, so that makes each cup 20 cents.
The little single serve punch-through containers cost about $9 for 12, or 75 cents a cup. That is close to the cost of buying the one of the highest priced coffee beans in the world.
If you drink only one cup of coffee a day at home, these points are moot. If on the other hand you drink about 6, as I do, the cost for a single cup maker quickly becomes its own line item in the family budget.
But, you say, you can use the little mesh cup and brew with your own beans. But I say the idea behind the single cup maker is convenience. It would take as much time to make one cup using the mesh thingy as it takes to make 6 cups in a 12 cup maker.
Printing ink is a very expensive commodity. But watch out, coffee could be climbing to number two. If you are driving when school buses are on their routes in the morning or afternoon, be especially careful. Children sometimes do unexpected things while waiting for or after leaving a school bus. Watch, look, pay attention.
Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.