Beverage Leverage

January 5, 2011 :

The other day I did some math to figure out what the price-per-cup is for Goldberry coffee, once it’s brewed. I took ten bucks and divided it by 16 to get the cost per ounce. Assuming it takes 2 oz. of beans for a 12-cup pot of coffee, I came up with a cost of a buck-twenty-five per pot. Then, knowing that a 12-cup pot really only makes about 8 real mugs of coffee, I arrived at a cost of about fifteen and a half pennies per mug of extraordinary black coffee. Check my math, but in rough terms, 15 cents for a cup of good coffee isn’t bad at all, right? Well, our grandparents would have thought it was an outrageous price, hence the rise and reign of Folgers and other nasty but cheap coffees. But times have changed and our grandparents aren’t setting the trends any more.

While a fifteen cent cup of coffee would cause cringing from past generations, the buck-seventy or more we now pay if we order a cup from the drive-thru at Starbucks might cause them cardiac arrest. And yet, millions of people seem to gladly pay coffee retailers a buck or two or three or four for a coffee beverage every day. And I say hooray!

I am applauding because the freakishly decadent consumerism of American coffee drinkers has created an opportunity for spiritual, economic and social development where its really needed when those (like us) who sell coffee choose to leverage the situation instead of indulging in it. The premise of Goldberry Roasting Company is to take the net profits that would usually be stuffed into deep pockets of corporate shareholders and to use them to enrich lives of struggling coffee farmers and their communities. Even though we may choose to seek less profit than most companies, the amount we do realize is very powerful when it’s invested in villages in less fortunate countries. In short, an American dollar can go a long way to help people in places like Mexico, Kenya, and Sumatra where the cost of living is much lower. The power of our little buck exponentially increases where it’s most needed.

So, each time you lay out a Hamilton for bag of Goldberry coffee, remember that you are part of a savvy plot to convert American consumerism to sustainable goodness for people who need a hand up. We’re not big enough to conquer the ills of consumerism, but we’re big enough to redeem it in places where the price we pay for a cup of coffee might be a day’s or week’s wages for the people there.

Drink more. Help more!

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