By any name, in any language, or at any time of day, coffee is a popular beverage. Aside from its great taste and the endless ways one can enjoy a cup of coffee, coffee is also a great value. Did you know that, on average, you pay less than a dime for each cup of coffee you prepare at home?
Here is something else you may not know about coffee – before being roasted, coffee beans are green. Unroasted coffee—known in the industry as green coffee —is sold as a commodity on the world market. The cost of coffee is, therefore, affected by anything that alters the worldwide supply, such as drastic weather conditions like freezing temperatures or drought. But even with occasional price increases, coffee is still inexpensive, especially compared to the cost of other beverages.
Soft Drinks: $.13
Bottled Water: $.25
Orange Juice: $.79
Table Wines: $1.30
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Division of Consumer Prices, May 1998, per eight fluid ounces
Cost of Beverages at Home
Coffee is available in a wide variety of beverages and flavors to satisfy even the most discriminating tastes. In fact, a recent U.S. survey revealed that 69 percent of American coffee drinkers consider coffee to be an “affordable luxury.” And, when you stop to consider the social aspect of one of America’s most popular beverages – friends and family conversing other over mugs of delicious, fresh-brewed coffee – the value of coffee takes on an even greater meaning.
The Tree to the Cup
- Coffee travels a long way before reaching your coffee mug.
- Here are some interesting coffee facts:
- It takes three-to-four years for a coffee seed to grow into a tree that produces coffee beans.
- Seeds are first planted in nurseries. Six months to one-year later, seedlings are transplanted to open fields. Workers must prepare the planting ground for the small seedlings by loosening and grading the soil.
- Approximately two-and-a-half years after transplantation, the trees begin to flower and the flowers produce a small fruit known as a coffee cherry. In the center of each cherry are two green coffee beans.
- Coffee plants grow best where there is plenty of rainfall at certain times of the year and thrive in a well-drained, rich, volcanic soil. The plant does not like sudden changes in temperature, and frost can severely damage or kill it.
- During harvest, coffee cherries are hand picked. It takes approximately 2,000 cherries—4,000 beans—to produce one pound of roasted coffee.
- After being husked, sorted and bagged, the green coffee beans are shipped from the countries where they were grown to the countries where they will be manufactured and consumed.
- Manufacturing involves the roasting and grinding of the coffee beans, or the production of instant coffee. Once manufacturing and packaging are completed, the coffee is ready for the consumer.
- The leading coffee producing countries of the world are Brazil and Colombia. The United States imports and consumes more coffee than any other country
Getting the Most Flavor and Value from Your Coffee
Coffee manufacturers have worked to improve both the quality and variety of coffee in recent years, and coffee drinkers have noticed the difference. A recent U.S. survey showed that almost 70 percent of American coffee drinkers believe that the quality of coffee they consume both at home and away is better than it used to be.
Now more than ever, coffee drinkers can enjoy a variety of coffee beverages — from a simple espresso and espresso-based drinks such as cappuccino, latte or moccaccino — to iced and cold-drink coffee beverages — to flavored coffees and special blends. Coffee can also be enhanced with an assortment of syrups, flavorings, and toppings — from whipped cream and cocoa powder to cinnamon sticks and sweeteners.
Enjoy coffee with friends and family. Many people drink coffee regularly and will not be able to resist an invitation for a coffee break. For less than the price of other beverages, you can prepare a coffee drink to suit anyone’s taste.