What a Cup of Coffee Really Costs

specialty coffee shop
Gourmet coffee consumption reached over 50 percent for the first time in 2019, according to the NCA 2019 Coffee Data Trends Report

The price of a pound of coffee beans may be dropping fast, but that doesn’t mean consumers will get a break on the cost of their morning brew.

Edited excerpt – read the full post at MarketWatch

By Jeanette Settembre


A pound of wholesale arabica coffee beans has been selling for under $1 since March, the lowest price point in more than a decade. One pound of ground coffee will make about 48 cups.

But experts say consumers will still be paying the same price for a cup of coffee or latte in stores and cafes. While wholesale coffee prices have been dropping, coffee prices for consumers have actually been going up.

The average price consumers are paying for a cup of coffee across all restaurant categories (quick and full service) is $2.99, up 8 cents from last year, according to market research firm NPD Group. At gourmet coffee shops, it’s $4.24, an 8 cent hike from last year. 

Sal Santuccio, director of coffee at Pan American Coffee Co., a Hoboken, N.J.-based coffee manufacturer for national retail chains [and NCA member], says his company has been paying $1.34 for a pound of unroasted and unprocessed arabica coffee.

Two types of coffee are widely sold commercially: arabica, the highest quality and most affected by climate change, and robusta, which can grow in warmer conditions, but is less sought-after.

And just as you can buy a cheap or expensive variety of wine like pinot noir for example, there are different varieties of arabica coffee that cost more depending on where and how they’re grown.

“Just because the price of coffee is down, it doesn’t necessarily mean the price of your retail bag will go down,” Santuccio told MarketWatch. “You still need to cover costs of labor, roasting, processing and packaging.”

Santuccio says it costs roughly $2.13 to make a bag of ground coffee for retailers, not including the cost a company will pay to ship and store its coffee.

Continue reading at MarketWatch

Learn more about the economic impact of the coffee industry

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