Is a cup of coffee expensive? The answer might surprise you...

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The first tip of many personal finance articles suggests that the secret to saving money is cutting back on "expensive" eating and drinking habits—such as grabbing a cup of coffee each day from your favorite neighborhood cafe.

You might be surprised to learn, then, that the price Americans are paying for coffee is lower than ever. In fact, the average price in the U.S. for a cup of coffee in 1967 was more expensive than in 2017, despite this being 50 years prior!




According to data from a 2015 survey conducted by Mooseroots and Graphiq, the prices in recent years are indeed among the lowest over the past five decades: In 2017 Americans paid an average of $2.38 for a cup of brewed coffee, while in 1967 the price of a cup was $0.36. However, after adjusting for inflation, a 36-cent cup of coffee in today's terms actually costs $2.63.

No wonder, then, that coffee farmers are receiving less and less of their share of the price we pay per cup. In August of 2017, experts warned at the 6th Consultative Forum on Coffee Sector Finance that "coffee farmers face dangerously low profits," a state of affairs that could potentially cause millions of farmers worldwide to abandon coffee farming. 

Coffee nowadays isn't expensive at all, translating into savings for the average consumer. The question of the hour in the coffee industry, though is, "at what cost?"

Cheaper than Ever: Cost of a Cup of Coffee Over the Years


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