Overpriced Coffee Is Actually Kind Of A Conspiracy


Yes, we know jokes about overpriced coffee have been stale since the mid-90’s, but expresso, it’s so expensive, right? Well, only if you don’t factor in the skill involved in making it, not to mention the higher prices that tend to come with purchase of fair trade beans, but anyway.

Apparently coffee actually is sort of disproportionately overpriced right now, according to new a new World Bank report that wholesale prices for Arabica beans have gone down nearly 30% from this same time this past year. And yet, no one seems to have shaved 30 cents off their drink prices. What is the meaning of this?

Well, the Wall Street Journal helpfully points out that “companies often raise prices [but] rarely cut them,” and that in the case of places like Starbucks, “customers go there for the jazz music and free Wi-Fi, which encourages them to lounge with their iPads for hours,” and , most damning of all, that “Americans tend not to care about the price of coffee.”

So, case closed I guess. But, you know, if companies really are saving 30% in their current bean overhead, no one would exactly be upset if they coughed up a slight discount, or at least some piped-in “jazz music.” Well, people might get pretty upset about the jazz music. Maybe let’s steer clear of that.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


  1. This doesn’t factor in all the other things that go into making coffee drinks. Added importing costs, and all the fancy milk and syrup coffee divas need to survive should also be included. Unless you munch on raw coffee beans, this article doesn’t apply to you. There’s no conspiracy, sorry.


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