The True Cost of One Cup of Coffee in the Office.

Quite often in the coffee service business you are quoted on products in a “by the cup” format ….meaning you are told that this will cost you $.50 per cup of coffee. This is easy to understand when talking about K Cups or Pods or something that clearly makes one cup of coffee but what about Bean to Cup machines and thermal coffee machines?

Lets get past the obvious easy ones. Keurig, Tassimo, Nespresso, pods or any capsule or single serve coffee packet. They all have a price per cup that is pretty transparent, until you add in the cost of the cream, sugar, stir stick, cup, lid etc that most people will purchase. Not to mention any delivery fee that may be snuck in there. The best bet is to look at all of these items when looking at the cost of coffee. Because that stuff ads up and you don’t want to be surprised by your monthly bill.

But where some coffee services trick you is in the “Bean to Cup” or “Batch Brewing (think old school pot of coffee) price per cup.
Batch Brewing is the way you would make coffee at the local Tim Hortons. They put a packet in the filter, press a button and get a pot (or thermos) of coffee. Most of these machines make about 64oz of coffee. This makes approximately 7-8 cups. However when being quoted a price some companies still tell you that this is a 12 cup pot of coffee! Want proof? Look at a home coffee machine at any store. They still say 8-12 cups even though they only actually produce about 40-48oz of coffee. Those are mighty small cups. But consumers are conditioned not to count the cups but rather see a pot of coffee. To avoid this, use the rule of thumb of 8 cups of coffee per packet.

More and more these days, Bean to Cup machines are becoming more popular.
Many coffee companies can quote one price but the reality is that after you sign on the dotted line the price may end up much higher. Let me explain
One pound of coffee is 454g. So lets assume (using a round number) you are quoted $20.00 per Lb of coffee. How do you determine the cost per cup? It really depends on how much coffee is used in each cup. All of the machines on the market can be adjusted to throw anywhere from 8g of coffee per cup to 25g or even more.

Here is how that math works out:

8g of Coffee
454g/8g= 56.75 cups
$20.00/56.75 =
$.35 per cup

10g of Coffee
454g/10g= 45 cups
$20.00/45=
$.44 per cup

20 g of Coffee
454/20g= 23 cups
$20.00/23 =
$.87 per cup

So when comparing, keep this in mind. A good cup of coffee is going to take usually about 15g from a single cup brewer but usually you are quoted a per cup price on much lower quantities just to have it raised when everyone complains the coffee is too weak! On an espresso brewer a 7-8g throw can do the trick.

So buyer beware. Make sure you ask your company how they are calculating the cost per cup. Don’t let the math…or the salesperson fool you.

Neil Madden

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