Can You Recycle Coffee Grounds?

Twelve billion pounds of coffee go into brewing coffee every year. This leaves about 18 billion pounds or 9 million tons of wet waste coffee grounds that typically go into landfills or are washed down the drain and end up in streams and rivers. Can you recycle coffee grounds? It turns out that there are several excellent uses for coffee grounds from composting or adding mulch to your garden and deicing winter sidewalks to removing hair product residue.

Coffee Grounds as Pest Repellant

A natural way to keep pests out of your home, off of your pets, or away from vulnerable garden plants is with coffee grounds. If there is a place where an ant colony has access to your home, block the route with coffee grounds and refresh every couple of weeks. The ants will not like the aroma of the coffee grounds and they will interfere with the pheromone trails that they routinely follow.

If you think one of your pets has fleas, take them outside and use a coffee ground body wash to send the fleas packing.

In your garden you can use coffee grounds the same way as with ants to keep snails and slugs under control. Just a line of coffee grounds refreshed from time to time is all that you need.

Fertilizing Your Garden or Flower Box

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, calcium, potassium, and magnesium which make coffee grounds an excellent natural fertilizer. Because coffee grounds are slightly acidic, avoid using them near crocus, photinia, forsythia, barberry, and lilacs. Unlike when you are keeping pests away from your plants, mix the coffee grounds into the soil instead of just dumping on top of the soil.

Coffee Grounds for Personal Hygiene

Coffee grounds are mildly abrasive and make an excellent exfoliator. A simple recipe for making your coffee ground exfoliator is to mix three parts coffee grounds, one part brown sugar, and one part coconut or almond oil. Adding a few drops of vanilla extract or lemon oil will provide more aroma.

In addition to using coffee grounds to exfoliate, use the same abrasive properties to remove sticky hair cream or shampoo residue. The trick is to mix the coffee grounds with the hair product when you apply and rinse. The residue will leave with the coffee grounds and not cling to your hair.

Can You Recycle Coffee Grounds - Coffee Candles

Light the Night with Coffee Candles

If you like home crafts and want to make candles, consider mixing or layering coffee grounds into your candles. As the candle burns down it exposes the coffee grounds and provides a burst of coffee aroma. Add any other favorite aroma such as lemon or vanilla to complement the aroma of coffee. This is a great way to recycle coffee grounds and not pay for aromatic oils for your homemade candles.

Non-toxic Furniture Restoration

Furniture gets scratched and tarnished with normal use over the years. Rather than buying a toxic cleaner, consider using coffee grounds instead. Simply place a few coffee grounds on the scratch plus a few drops of water. Use a q-tip or cotton swab to buff the area for a minute or so. Wait ten minutes and repeat as needed.

All-Purpose, Organic Deodorizer

Fresh coffee grounds soak up odors and so do used coffee grounds. Put dried coffee grounds in a saucer in the back of the refrigerator or in any area prone to odor accumulation. Switch out every week or two as you will always have a supply of coffee grounds. You can use your grounds this way on their way to the garden. You can even help break down grease buildup in the drain by using a couple of tablespoonsful of coffee along with a few drops of soap and boiling water. Done twice a month this procedure helps prevent clogging.

Can You Recycle Coffee Grounds – Slideshare Version

Can You Recycle Coffee Grounds? – PDF

Should Your Coffee Creamer Be Organic?

Do you take the time and make the effort to buy organic coffee? Or do you purchase any of the Colombian coffees that are organic in everything but name? Either way, should your creamer be organic too? And, for that matter, should your organic creamer be real cream or milk or a vegetable-based creamer? What are the pros and cons of dairy versus vegetable lookalikes? And, how much of a fuss will it be to find organic creamer to go with your organic coffee?

Organic Dairy Creamer

Organic cream comes from organic milk. Organic milk comes from cows that are fed organic feed and are not given synthetic hormones. Additionally, organic milk comes from cows who do not receive any medications that are specifically proscribed and are generally cared for in a more humane manner than is normal for dairy cattle. That includes more space in their stalls. Like with organic coffee the United States Department of Agriculture certifies organic dairy products so look for the USDA Organic seal when buying organic dairy creamer.

Organic Creamer from Soybeans and Other Vegetables

For people who want to avoid cream with cholesterol, are allergic to dairy products, or want a powdered creamer with a longer shelf life, there are vegetable oil-based organic creamers. Soybeans are a common source of these oils. Farmers who grow organic soybeans do not use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Although American farmers plant millions of acres of soybeans every year only about 100,000 acres are devoted to organic soybeans. The biggest producers of organic soybeans are Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa. Whether your organic coffee creamer is made with soybeans, corn oil, or any other vegetable oil, it needs to get USDA certification showing you that it was planted, grown, harvested, and processed following USDA organic food guidelines. Like with coffee, these organic crops are grown, harvested, processed, and stored so as to avoid contamination of organic crops with non-organic.

Organic Handling of Plant Diseases for Organic Crops

Because a farmer can only use natural methods for dealing with plant diseases, this excludes the use of artificial chemicals. Thus, to avoid many of diseases that are commonly caused by crowding plants together for a higher yield, farmers typically space their organic soybeans and other plants farther apart. More space means faster drying after rainfall and thus less risk of fungal infections like white mold which is a common problem with soybeans.

USDA Organic Coffee Certification Is the Gold Standard
USDA Organic Coffee Certification

Organic Fertilizers for Organic Crops

To avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers, organic farmers use manure from livestock, composts, gypsum, rock phosphates, and limestone. The coffee drinker who prefers organic creamer with organic coffee does not need to know all of the details. Rather they simply look for the USDA Organic label of the product when they purchase it.

Benefits of Vegetable-Based Organic Creamers

Vegetable-based creamers do not have cholesterol or other animal fats and oils. If part of why you drink organic coffee is because of the health benefits, avoiding dairy fats in your creamer is probably a good idea. Another issue that one might not be aware of is that the calcium in dairy products binds to several of the healthy antioxidants in organic coffee making them useless.

As a rule you can find organic creamers where they sell organic coffee.

Should Your Coffee Creamer Be Organic? – Slideshare Version

Should Your Coffee Creamer Be Organic? – PDF

Effect of Volcanic Ash on Coffee Plants

We have written about how coffee tends to be grown in regions with rich volcanic soil such as the mountains of Colombia. We also recently noted that coffee grown in the South Pacific is grown on land fertilized by volcanic ash. Before and after photos of the recent eruption of an undersea volcano in the Tonga island group show some islands dusted gray with ash and some completely black with all green plant life invisible. What are the short as well as long term effects of volcanic ash on coffee plants?

Volcanic Ash Effects on Coffee Plants

Many times lava flow from volcanoes wipes out whole fields of coffee but only covers adjacent fields with ash. The eruption of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia in 1985 sent hot mud down the mountain to largely cover the town of Armero killing 20,000 people. Years later the town was never rebuilt but coffee farms cover the region benefitting from the rich soil. But, what happens in the short term? Volcanic ash is usually acidic and sufficient amounts of ash can cover plants and block sunlight.

Buy Arabica Coffee Directly from Colombia
Nevado Ruiz Volcano

Volcanic Ash and Acid Rain

All plant life is affected by the acidity of volcanic ash. If it rains while significant amounts of ash are in the air there is acid rain. The EPA reports that acid rain can directly affect all plant life.

Dead or dying trees are a common sight in areas affected by acid rain. Acid rain leaches aluminum from the soil.  That aluminum may be harmful to plants as well as animals. Acid rain also removes minerals and nutrients from the soil that trees need to grow. At high elevations, acidic fog and clouds might strip nutrients from trees’ foliage, leaving them with brown or dead leaves and needles. The trees are then less able to absorb sunlight, which makes them weak.

Coffee plants become dehydrated due to acid rain acidifying the soil excessively and this not only hurts the plants but reduces the quality of the coffee as well.

How Long Can Coffee Survive in the Dark?

If there is enough ash, like on some of the islands in the Tonga group, coffee plants are covered totally and deprived of light. Luckily, coffee is by nature a plant that grows under the forest canopy, a low-light plant. This sort of plant can live between 12 to 20 days when deprived of light. The good news for coffee on Tonga in this regard is that November to April is the rainy season with an average of 8 inches of rain a month and the initial large volcanic eruption occurred in January. So, rain could wash off much if not all of the ash that might otherwise kill coffee plants.

The other part of this issue is that coffee is typically planted on slopes. As such, rain is more likely to carry the ash downhill and off of coffee plants.

The short term effects of volcanic ash on coffee plants can be mildly damaging or devastating, depending on the amounts of ash and its acidity. Nevertheless, over the long term the ash fertilizes the soil and makes for a better coffee crop.

Effect of Volcanic Ash on Coffee Plants – Slideshare Version

Effect of Volcanic Ash on Coffee Plants – PDF

Coffee from the South Pacific

Coffee grows well in rich volcanic soil and Arabica coffee does best at high altitudes such as in the Andes of Western Colombia. However, there are many other regions of the world with volcanic soil such as the East Indies and South Pacific. Dutch traders carried coffee from East Africa and planted it in the islands of what is today Indonesia. From there it spread throughout the South Pacific. Although coffee from the South Pacific does not grow at 7,000 feet as in Colombia it does grow at altitudes up to three thousand feet on volcanic islands in the South Pacific.

Coffee from Java

The reason that coffee is often referred to as Java is that the Dutch grew coffee on the island of Java in the 1500s. Part of modern day Indonesia, Java has rich volcanic soil which is common to regions of the world like the region around Manizales, Colombia where great coffee grows. Although Java today is just one of the places where coffee is grown it is by no means the dominant supplier of coffee that it was centuries ago.

Coffee from Tonga

A region in the South Pacific where coffee grows was in the news recently because of the eruption of an undersea volcano. Tonga is a collection of islands East of Australia and North of New Zealand. These islands exist because of millions of years of volcanic activity. Although Tonga has many low-lying islands it also has mountains with elevations of up to 3,000 feet. Arabica coffee is grown on the islands of Tongatapu, ‘Eua and Ha’apai.

Coffee from the South Pacific

The vast majority of coffees grown in the South Pacific (85%) are Robusta and only 15% are Arabica. Nevertheless, South Pacific coffees in general are known to be only moderately acidic and quite smooth. Coffee leaf rust devastated coffee plantations in Ceylon, the Indonesian archipelago, and the South Pacific in the 19th century before moving across Africa to reach Brazil in the 1900s and eventually the rest of the Western Hemisphere. Some Arabica coffee stains in the region evolved to be more resistant to coffee leaf rust (such as on the Island of Timor) and thus, Arabica coffee is grown in the South Pacific along with much more leaf rust resistant Robusta.

South Pacific Volcanoes

The richness of the soil in this region is largely because of its volcanoes. For example, the Tonga collection of islands has 33 volcanoes, three unnamed. Two last erupted in the Holocene about 12,000 years ago, another last erupted three million years ago, and one under water volcano, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai, just erupted and continues to erupt. It is described as a once-every-thousand-years event. Satellite images taken once the initial cloud of ash cleared showed all of the islands in Tonga covered with black-grey ash. This is an ongoing, emergency situation on the Tonga islands but also an example of how volcanoes in the South Pacific have repeatedly covered these islands with fertile ash. That ash has created soil for growing excellent coffee as well as food for the inhabitants. As the following image shows, this process creates new island as well!

Tonga volcanic eruption new island
Volcano Creates New Island in Tonga

How Expensive Will Arabica Coffee Be?

The price of coffee has gone up significantly. Commodities, in general, are up due to Covid-era inflation but coffee has outpaced them all and sits at a ten-year high as noted in Fortune. While both Arabica and Robusta coffee futures are up significantly, Arabica has outpaced its higher-caffeine cousin in the race of coffee prices to the top. The issue of expensive Arabica coffee is not confined to this year and the era of Covid-19. Climatic changes will effect coffee production and prices into the far future. How expensive will coffee be going forward?

Why Has the Price of Coffee Gone Up This Year?

The global coffee supply chain mess has been part of the picture so have higher labor and energy prices that effect costs from the farm all the way to your breakfast table. On top of that there is a drought in Brazil, the big dog in the coffee-producing world. While Vietnam exports a bit more Robusta than Brazil and Colombia exports more Arabica coffee, Brazil comes in a close second in both while Vietnam does not produce Arabica and Colombia does not grow anything but Arabica. Thus, Brazil is the largest coffee producer and exporter in the world by a long shot. The global coffee “deficit” due to Brazil’s drought is about 5.2 million bags (70 kg bags).

Why Will the Price of Arabica Coffee Keep Going Up Year by Year?

Back in the summer of 2021 we wrote about climate change and coffee production. As we noted in that article, the steady increase in temperatures has forced coffee farmers to grow their highest-quality Arabica coffees at higher and higher altitudes to avoid infestations of coffee leaf rust and pests like the coffee borer beetle. Because mountains get narrower as you approach the top, coffee farmers in regions like Colombia will have less and less land on which to plant their highest quality coffee over the years. Their alternatives for lower-lying cropland will be, in many areas, to switch to Robusta or other varieties that do better in heat, are more resistant to leaf rust and other diseases, and allow them to continue to farm to make a living.

What Is Pink Bourbon Coffee - Nevado del Huila
Nevado del Huila – Tallest Volcano in Colombia

Will New Coffee Varieties Help Keep Coffee Prices Down?

Colombia started working on leaf rust resistant coffee nearly 50 years ago and has developed several crosses between standard Arabica coffee and leaf rust resistant strains from Timor in the East Indies. Caturra is one that is grown extensively in the lower altitudes of the Colombia coffee growing region (3,000 to 5,000 feet). If the Colombian Coffee Growers Association plant scientists pull off a miracle, they may be able to keep growing high quality Arabica coffee at all altitudes. If not, the supply of Arabica from the largest Arabica producer, Colombia, will gradually be reduced. The law of supply and demand will exert itself and the price of the best quality coffee will gradually climb, year by year. The overall price for much of the coffee that people drink may not go up so much because people will be drinking more Robusta and similar varieties with more caffeine, less flavor, less aroma, and more-affordable prices.

How Expensive Will Arabica Coffee Be? – Slideshare Version

Drink Coffee and Live Longer

We drink coffee because we like it. Coffee helps us wake up in the morning and helps keep us awake and alert as the day presses on. It may come as a surprise to many people that coffee has a host of other benefits that result in a longer life as well. You can drink coffee and live longer because coffee reduces the risk of type II diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, heart attacks, and colon cancer. And, coffee drinkers have a lower risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases,

How Much Coffee Is Good for You?

Evidence from various studies indicates that the beneficial effects of drinking coffee keep increasing up to about six cups a day. After that you just get the jitters, the possibility of raising your blood pressure, and gastritis from all of that caffeine. From one to six cups it appears that the benefits of drinking coffee go up in a linear fashion. To the extent that coffee does give you the shakes or drive up your blood pressure, you can still get some of the benefits with a cup or two a day and do not need to drink six. And, because the benefits from drinking coffee come primarily from the antioxidants, decaffeinated coffee provides the same general benefits in most cases as normal coffee.

Why Can You Drink Coffee and Live Longer?

The reason you can drink coffee and live longer is that coffee contains antioxidants.

The American Institute for Cancer Research says that coffee contains the following antioxidants, chlorogenic acid, quinic acid, kahweo and Cafestol compounds, and n-metylpyridium which is produced when coffee is roasted.

Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit cell damage and cell death in human cells caused by oxidative breakdown of other molecules. Oxidation is a factor in sickness and aging.  Antioxidants in coffee do the same things chemically as other antioxidants in your food.

Antioxidants help avoid the damage caused by too much oxidation and to a degree slow the aging process. When an oxidative reaction caused by disease gets going it produces free radicals that start the chain reactions which in turn cause cell and tissue damage. The human body has and uses antioxidants to control this situation. Natural means of controlling oxidation include vitamins C and E and glutathione. Low levels of antioxidants lead to a condition referred to as oxidative stress and resultant damage to cells in the body. This breakdown product of trigonelline has been found to increase activity of phase II enzymes. Doctors believe that these enzymes protect against colon cancer, which is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the USA.

The bottom line is that you can drink coffee and live longer while you enjoy your delicious coffee from Colombia. If you want better tasting coffee with better aroma and coffee that helps you live longer, buy Arabica coffee instead of Robusta and get a high antioxidant level in your coffee instead of lots of caffeine.  If you would like a few sample packets from Colombia, contact us for instructions.

How Does Drinking Coffee Prevent Type II Diabetes

Drink Coffee and Live Longer – Slideshare Version

Coffee and Stroke

Over the years evidence has accumulated for many beneficial health effects of drinking coffee. Drinking coffee reduces the risk of type II diabetes. Drinking coffee also reduces the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. From helping with liver problems to improving athletic performance and even making sex better, a good cup of coffee is a great addition to our lives. Now investigations regarding coffee and stoke indicate that coffee is helpful in this arena as well.

Dementia and Stroke

According to the World Health Organization more than 55 million people suffer from dementia. It is the seventh leading cause of mortality across the globe. Dementia is a catch all for the generalized decline in mental function seen primarily in older people. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. In the USA stroke is the leading cause of death with more than 795,000 having strokes each year. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or ruptures. This deprives brain tissue of blood supply and that tissue dies.

How are Dementia and Stroke Related?

The two share sixty percent of the same risk factors as well as factors that prevent each of them. Having a stroke greatly increases the risk of dementia and researchers estimate that if all strokes were prevented that the incidence of dementia would go down by a third. When looking at ways to prevent strokes researchers look at many factors including lifestyle and one lifestyle factor is drinking coffee or tea. Because so many people drink these beverages any effect they have will be widely felt.

Cup of Java
Two to Three Cups a Day Reduces Incidence
of Strokes and Dementia

Can Coffee Prevent a Stroke?

Previously it has been shown that people who drink coffee or tea have a reduced risk of dementia compared to those who do not drink these beverages but there was little evidence relating to stroke. Thus the researchers looked at consumption of coffee, tea, or both as factors relating to incidence of stroke. They looked at the U.K. Biobank which contains health data for half a million people in the United Kingdom. They selected 365,682 participants chosen between 2006 and 2010 and followed their medical records until 2020.

Enrollees in the study reported how much coffee and tea they drank each day and the researchers looked at how many enrollees had a stroke and/or developed dementia during the period of the study. Using statistical analysis tools they accounted for things that would confuse the study such as smoking, alcohol use, diabetes, and other conditions.

Coffee and Tea Drinking Reduce the Incidence of Both Dementia and Stroke

During the course of the study 5,079 people were diagnosed with dementia and 10,053 with at least one stroke. When researchers looked at levels of coffee and tea consumption with those studied, they found that the lowest risks of both dementia and stroke were found in those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day, three  to five cups of tea a day, or four to six cups of tea and coffee a day. The coffee and tea group (two to three cups of coffee or two to three cups of tea) were 32% less likely to have had a stroke and 28% less likely to have developed dementia.

Coffee and Stroke – Slideshare Version

Why the Soil Is So Fertile Where They Grow Colombian Coffee

The “ocean of jungle” that still exists in parts of the Colombian coffee growing region is similar to what is seen in Hawaii or on the sides of Mt. Fuji in Japan. This lush growth is the result of volcanic activity. This is why the soil is so fertile where they grow Colombian coffee. Although volcanic eruptions can be hugely destructive they leave behind soil rich in nutrients that support healthy plant growth. The lava that flows intermittently from a volcano creates new land but the ash that can fall over hundreds of square miles is a constant source of nutrients. This is the case with Nevado Del Ruiz, the 15,500 foot volcano located 35 miles Southwest of Manizales, Colombia along the Colombian Northern Volcanic Front.

Nevado Del Ruiz Volcano Constantly Fertilizes the Colombian Coffee Growing District

Nevado Del Ruiz is a very broad volcano, capped by glaciers and extensive snow fields. There is evidence of it erupting going back 8,600 years and eruptions have been observed since 1570. This volcano was responsible for the greatest loss of life from a volcano in the history of Latin America when its 1985 eruption melted the dome of snow and ice. The resulting slurry of mud and ash inundated the towns of Amaro and Chinchina killing more than 20,000 people. Chinchina today is a thriving region for growing coffee and the town has come back. Amaro never rebuilt but coffee production on the regrown region is spectacular. Residents of Manizales routinely need to dust off their cars parked in the street and their balconies when the wind from the Southwest brings volcanic ash. This ash constantly fertilizes the departments of Caldas and Tolima.

Constituents of Colombian Volcanic Soil

Volcanic soil is in a soil category called anisols and can be derived from both lava and ash. This soil is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon and many other trace elements. When this kind of soil receives ample precipitation such as occurs across the coffee growing regions of Western Colombia it provides an ideal soil for growing virtually anything and especially an ideal soil for growing great Arabica coffee.

Continuing Activity of Nevado Del Ruiz

Nevado del Ruiz is in the news again due to increased emissions of ash. This is not really news in Manizales where “ Los Nevados” the several snow covered volcanos to the Southwest as well as the rest of the Northern Colombian Volcanic Front are a fact of life. Ever since the 1985 eruption and huge loss of life Colombia has diligently monitored the volcano and others. Meanwhile, Nevado Del Ruiz continues to fertilize the region of Western Colombia where they grow some of the best coffee in the world.

Colombian Northern Volcanic Front
Colombian Northern Volcanic Front

Caldera of Nevado Del Ruiz
Caldera and Snow-Covered Summit of Nevado del Ruiz

Rainfall Is Important for Volcanic Soil in Colombia

There are volcanic regions of the world that are barren. This is because they receive no rainfall. The rich nutrients in volcanic lava and ash are typically too strong and will diminish plant growth if there is not enough water. Manizales, the capital of the department of Caldas receives anywhere from five to nine inches of rain a month. Farther West near Buenaventura the annual rainfall is more than double that.

The bottom line is that Western Colombia is one of the most fertile regions in the world with high mountains that receive ample rainfall making it one of the best places on earth to grow coffee.

Why the Soil Is So Fertile Where They Grow Colombian Coffee – Slideshare Version

Coffee Supply Chain Nightmare

The price of coffee has gone up a bit on the NYMEX due to a predicted shortfall in Brazil’s coffee crop. But, the price that you pay for coffee is going up even more due to a coffee supply chain nightmare that is affecting global shipping on all goods. Bloomberg writes about freight snags driving shipping rates to astronomical levels. Coffee inventories in the USA are down and going lower as a global shipping container shortage has affected virtually all shipments of food and beverages.

Coffee Stockpiles in USA at a Six-Year Low

Coffee wholesalers in the USA are selling their reserve inventory. As the global supply chain disruption continues there is little hope for an early replenishment of coffee supplies. As the law of supply and demand asserts itself, US wholesale and resale prices are rising in excess of what would have been caused by the drought and reduced coffee crop in Brazil, the biggest producer and exporter. Meanwhile, demand for coffee has gone back up which, in turn, has served to drive prices higher.

Demonstrations Tie Up Coffee Shipping from Colombian Ports

Colombia dealt with the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic by ordering a virtual shutdown of society. To make sure that people did not starve to death the government delivered food door to door in the barrios. The combination of spending by the government and reduced tax income because of businesses shutting down has hurt Colombia’s credit rating and driven the peso to all-time lows. In an attempt to get back to a positive fiscal balance the government promoted measures like reducing the already-low monthly minimum wage and putting taxes on foodstuffs like rice and beans. The result was months of street demonstrations and blockage of major highways both of which slowed commerce to a virtual halt. The demonstrations spread to the two major ports of Cartagena on the Caribbean and Buenaventura on the Pacific. Thus, Colombia has shipping issues in excess of the shortage of shipping containers and global supply chain slowdown.

Coffee Supply Chain Nightmare

Coffee Shipping Costs

The cost of the cup of coffee you drink at breakfast or pick up from your favorite coffee shop on the way to work is driven by the cost of the green coffee beans at the source, shipping costs to the roaster, roasting and roaster profit, and retailer or coffee shop markup. Inflation is asserting itself as the economy comes out of the Covid recession so prices are up across the board. But, right now, the biggest uptick in prices is coming from the cost of shipping your coffee from anywhere in the coffee belt to warehouses in the USA, Europe, Japan, and everywhere else where coffee is consumed. At this moment the movement of shipping containers across the world has hit numerous bottlenecks and that has made timely shipping or shipping at all impossible from some locations. While there are around six million shipping containers in transit across the world at any given time, there are not enough in the right places and at the right times to keep prices down and keep the coffee supply chain from the current nightmare.

Coffee shipping costs have doubled and tripled in some instances. At Buy Organic Coffee we continue to provide coffee direct from Colombia albeit at a higher cost, not because the coffee farmer charges more but because of supply chain problems.

Coffee Supply Chain Nightmare – Slideshare Version

Best Coffee for the Best Price

For the best coffee flavor and aroma your best choice is Arabica coffee, whole bean, and freshly ground. Robusta gives you more caffeine but does not have the taste of a good Arabica from Colombia. Fresh is always better too. Green coffee retains its freshness for up to three years. Whole bean coffee retains its freshness for up to six months. And, ground coffee starts to lose its freshness, flavor, and aroma as soon as it is exposed to the air. Once you have these issues covered, coffee of higher quality is better than lower quality but generally costs more. With this thought in mind, what is the best coffee for the best price and how much flavor improvement do you get for each dollar spent.

The Most Expensive Coffee in the USA

A few years ago we looked at expensive coffees including Gesha coffee from Panama. People who are interested in Third Wave coffees where they know precisely where and under which conditions the coffee is grown are happy to pay more for the experience. However, at an auction shortly before we wrote the article, a bag of Gesha coffee from Panama sold for $350 a pound. If you are buying this coffee in your local coffee shop you will not be paying $350 for a cup of coffee but may be paying $30 instead of $5 for a great cup of coffee. However, if you buy coffee directly from Colombia through Buy Organic Coffee you can pay a few dollars for a bag of whole bean roasted coffee that could easily sell for $50 in a coffee shop in the USA.

Coffee Direct from Colombia
Coffee from Colombia

How Much a Pound Do You Want to Pay for the Best Coffee?

Putting aside from the snob value of drinking an expensive cup of coffee, what is a great cup of coffee worth? The success of Starbucks and other coffee shops proves that people are willing to pay more for a good cup of coffee. The fact that Starbucks can only charge so much for their fanciest latte also shows that there is always a limit to how much their customers are willing to pay for higher quality coffee. In one of our articles about coffee from Colombia we offered to buy Colombian “store bought” Arabica coffee and have it mailed to you directly from the heart of the coffee growing region. For $30 for the coffee and $30 for shipping you can get four bags of high quality Arabica coffee for $15 each whereas you could buy coffee of similar quality for a large multiple of this price like $30, $45, or $60. If you put coffee quality on one axis of a graph and price per pound on the other it will not generate a straight line. Coffee that is twice as expensive is twice as good on the low end of the graph but at the high (Panama Gesha) end of the graph the improvement in quality per dollar is minuscule! Our suggestion is that you consider coffee directly from Colombia if you want the best coffee for the best price.

Best Coffee for the Best Price – Slideshare Version