The Coffee Threshold: How Much Is Too Much to Pay For a Cup of Joe?

I've been thinking about coffee (drip coffee, not espresso drinks) a great deal lately and about how much we love it in comparison to how much we pay for it. Many folks make drip coffee at home and others like to grab a cup on their way to work or as a mid-afternoon break. And as you've likely noticed, the price varies from cafe to cafe, from bean to bean, from city to city. So I began to wonder: where do you draw the line between an acceptable price for drip coffee and an over-the-top expenditure?

I started thinking about this while traveling this past week. The house where we were staying had an older model N'espresso machine, but no regular drip coffee maker. My family and I are pretty big coffee drinkers, so we went through numerous pods each day to brew small cups of coffee that would tide us over for a little while until we felt like a warm-up (in which case we'd reach for another pod).

Now I have a N'espresso machine at home, but we use it sparingly — often when people come over for dinner or on a lazy Sunday. We rely on the workhorse drip coffee maker the majority of the time. So I got to thinking: if you relied on numerous pods a day, your at-home coffee tab would really start to add up (mine cost about $.60 each, a much better price than heading to the coffee shop, but still a small investment if you use them often).

On the coffee shop side of things, The Huffington Post just ran an interesting slideshow on the prices of coffee and how much people are willing to stomach spending for their drip cup of joe. The conclusion? A normal cup of coffee should cost no more than $3, with 21% of folks interviewed saying that it should cost no more than $2. I have to say that I'd agree. For me, $2 is my threshold. When asked "how much is too much for a regular coffee?", the average answer from the people surveyed was $3.52.

When I think about the differences between making coffee at home and buying it out, the price is always my deciding factor. I can set our machine at night and have coffee the next morning, so I can't blame the time factor. And personally, if I'm going to splurge on a $3-$4 coffee, I don't want it to be a drip coffee. I want it to be a strong soy latte that feels more like a treat than an everyday necessity.

I'd love to know what you think: what's your coffee threshold? How much are you wiling to spend for a simple cup of joe?

Read the Article: Coffee Survey Results: Your Caffeine Consumption, by the Numbers by The Huffington Post

Related: Make or Buy? Roasted Coffee Beans

(Image: Flickr member Ty Nigh licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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