The Cost of a Cup of Coffee: Then and Now
by Taylor Johnson
MooseRoots used data from Square Inc. and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find out the cost of a cup of coffee for Americans from 1967 to 2016.
In 2012, more than 75 percent of Americans reported that they prefer coffee over tea, along with millions of others around the world. While some regions of the globe favor tea as their stimulant of choice -- like Russia, China and India - the Americas gravitate toward a cup of joe.
Although the percentage of coffee consumption in the U.S. has remained stable for decades, the cost of a cup of coffee has not. MooseRoots, powered by Graphiq, set out to find how much Americans spent on their coffee every year since 1967. Using data from Square, Inc. and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' consumer price index, data analysts found trends in rising and falling prices for the past half-century.
Surges in coffee prices can often be attributed to differing weather patterns and freezes in coffee-growing regions. In 1977, coffee prices reached an all-time high, soaring to an inflation-adjusted price of $6.28 after frost destroyed Brazil's coffee bean crops. Nine years later, in 1986, Americans saw another spike in prices when demand for coffee surged beyond the available supply. The causes? A volcanic eruption in Colombia and a drought in Brazil, which damaged crops.
Americans have also experienced times of depressed coffee prices, often viewed as a relief to consumers' pockets, but a burden to coffee-growing regions. Overproduction of beans in 2004 greatly exceeded demands for the crop, causing a steep fall in coffee prices. A cup of coffee only cost $1.95 - $2.51 when adjusted for inflation. This period of depressed coffee prices is known as "The Coffee Crisis." Researchers from the International Coffee Organization found detrimental impacts of the crisis in coffee-growing regions. People abandoned their farms, lost their jobs and migrated from the countryside to cities, which reduced export earnings.
Despite variable costs for a cup of coffee, the industry remains strong. Folgers Coffee Company, a staple American coffee brand, has been around since 1850 - when it emerged out of the California Gold Rush. Other coffee conglomerates like Peet's Coffee and Tea and Starbucks got their start more recently, with the latter setting up shop at Pike Place Market in Seattle in 1971. Starbucks has since grown to over 24,000 locations worldwide. Check out the table below to see the average yearly price of a cup of coffee since 1967.
- Standard of Living Perceptions at 10 Year High
- Who Can We Trust To Measure Poverty?
- Minimum Wage Industries
- The iPhone Price Index
- Pros & Cons of the Gig Economy
- Calling Working People of All Colors
- Exploding Inequality is Killing Democracy
- Reducing Inequality in the Trump Era
- Obama's Legacy: Growth, Debt & Employment
- Only 5 Countries Have A Bigger GDP Than California
- Global Political Economy
- How The Global Millionaire Club Is Changing
- Plenty of Dough in Online Food Delivery
- The Most Expensive Metro Areas to Live In
- Cities With the Lowest Gas Prices
- The Cost of a Beer: Then and Now
- The Cost of a Cup of Coffee: Then and Now
- Cities Where Coffee Costs the Most
- America's Decreasing Fertility Rate Could Spell Economic Trouble
- The Least Affordable Places for Single Parents
- How the Cost of a Movie Ticket Has Changed Over Time
- The Cost of a Trip to the Emergency Room Since 1940
- Gagging on the Gig Economy
- How Falling Oil Prices Have Changed the Economy
- The Economics of Brexit
- Making China Great Again
- States with the Lowest Unemployment Rates
- Oil's Downfall Aided by Rise of Fracking
- Counties Where Medicare Spends the Most per Patient
- Inequality Will Get Worse Until There's a Revolution
- States with the Highest Unemployment Rates
- The Richest Banks
- Cost Of a Car Since 1967
- Cost of Car Insurance In Every State
- The Most Fuel Efficient Cars
- Zombie Ideas and the Death of Ethics in Economics
- What Really Caused the Eurozone Crisis?
- Is GDP Over?
- Pay Fair or Pay Up
Economy: "The Cost of a Cup of Coffee: Then and Now"