What You’ll Pay for a 90-Point Coffee

by Ron

At Coffee Review, we cup coffees on a blind basis.  To be completely objective, we hide the identity of the roasters and coffees until after scores are determined and tasting notes are completed.

When we cup, we don’t know the price of the coffee either.  It’s irrelevant from a cupping point of view.  However, it’s not irrelevant to consumers.  In fact, for most people, the price of a coffee plays an meaningful role in whether one purchases a particular coffee.  So, while a 95-point coffee may be very appealing in the cup, it will be less so at $40 per pound.

With that in mind, I was curious what it actually costs to purchase a 90-point coffee.  With a little massaging of the Coffee Review database, I found that the average price so far in 2013 for coffees produced by U.S. roasters and rated 90 points or higher is $16.60 per 12 ounces, or $22.13 per pound.  For this analysis, we used the price per 12 ounces as the standard for comparison, as the majority of specialty coffees that we rate are packaged in 12 ounce valve bags.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a correlation between rating and price.

< 90 points: $11.55 per 12 ounces

90-91 points: $15.64 per 12 ounces

92-93 points: $16.49 per 12 ounces

> 94 points: $18.41 per 12 ounces

Perhaps not surprisingly, in general, the higher a coffee is rated, the more it costs.

On average, a 94+ rated coffee costs almost $24.55 per pound.  At Coffee Review, we’re always quick to point out that, while this may sound expensive, it’s an excellent value per portion relative to other artisan beverages.  If you consider that a pound of coffee beans brews roughly the liquid equivalent of a case of wine, at $24.55 per pound, or slightly more than $2 bucks per “bottle,” the finest coffees in the world are a bargain.

In the coming days, we’ll provide some guidance on highly rated coffees that are also excellent values relative to their peers.


This entry was written by:Ron and posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 at 2:07 pm and is filed under Coffee Business: Roasting and Retailing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “What You’ll Pay for a 90-Point Coffee”

  1. Joanna Weiss says:

    I asked myself that question when Chadwick Conte of C&C Specialty Coffee asked me if I wanted to do a taste test/review of his Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, apparently one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Being a coffee fiend, and overall foodie, I said sure. We don’t normally do “reviews” on the blog, but we do write about things we like outside of politics, and I thought it might be fun to explore the word of super-duper gourmet coffee. So here goes.

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