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How much would you pay for a cup of coffee? How about $7?

ipsedixit Nov 27, 2012 02:24 PM

That's what'll cost for you to get a Grande-sized cup of Starbucks' new Costa Rica Finca Palmilera.

"Ah, um, barista, make sure you make mine with NO room for cream. Thank you very much."

Ok, all kidding aside, anyone try this? Is it good shit? Shit worthy of two In N Out Double Doubles?

Read all about it here: http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/...

  1. i
    INDIANRIVERFL Dec 18, 2012 09:07 AM

    For us from the grey hair brigade, coffee was between 10 cents and 25 cents and all you could drink. Wine was in dollars by the glass. So there is a bit of a reference shock.

    And anybody who has traveled to Europe has decidedly paid more.

    Am looking with pleasure for the marketing gurus to bring us full circle to " Robusto coffee beans!! A sharp, fresh, in your face taste from the forests of Brazil." Also known as the common American mud served in every diner until the advent of the guy with the donkey.

    1 Reply
    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
      monkeyrotica Dec 18, 2012 11:33 AM

      When coffee was a nickle a cup back in the 1950s, sellers just watered it down. It had been a nickle for so long that when Chock Full O Nuts raised theirs to a dime a cup, there was public outcry. Nickle coffee was an American birthright!

    2. r
      redfish62 Dec 18, 2012 08:21 AM

      I just drink it for the caffeine so I top out at around $2.25

      1. cowboyardee Dec 17, 2012 07:26 AM

        Related question for all (I considered starting another thread):

        If a $7 glass of wine doesn't give you pause, why does a $7 cup of coffee?

        Both are complex drinks with a wide range and depth of subtle flavors. Both are labor-intensive to grow, age, store, and process. In many restaurants, $7 doesn't even get you a particularly decent glass of wine. So are there any factors in the general sticker shock at an expensive cup of coffee besides the ubiquity of cheap, gas station-style 'swill?'

        13 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee
          monkeyrotica Dec 17, 2012 08:49 AM

          I have a hard time spending $7 for a bottle of wine, let alone a glass. Five Oaks for $5 a bottle is my go-to swill. Try as I might, I never developed a sense to distinguish all that wide range of complexity.

          As for "gas station swill," my experience is that gas stations and 7/11s have some of the freshest coffee because of their high turnover. McDonalds isn't bad either, although I wish it wasn't sold at 1,000 degrees farenheit. The WORST coffee I've had has been at upscale cafes and eateries; either they don't brew it properly, don't clean the machine, or they let it sit on the burner too long instead of transfer it to a carafe. And then there's Starbucks who roast their beans too dark for my taste; I drink mine black, but they make their money off adding moccachinolattepumpkinchaiWTFever premium.

          1. re: monkeyrotica
            cowboyardee Dec 17, 2012 10:02 AM

            I'm not much of a wine guy myself to be honest. I enjoy some cheaper-to-midpriced wines, but find that the higher end stuff is wasted on me. That said, I understand why others who are more into wine would be willing to pay more for rare and/or excellent wines.

            But while some (you and I, for example) don't spend much on wine, I doubt anyone is particularly shocked by the thought of a glass that costs $7+. I'm just wondering why consumers accept one pricey beverage (even if we don't personally partake) and not another. Anyone have a good answer besides 'convention'?

            1. re: cowboyardee
              monkeyrotica Dec 17, 2012 10:41 AM

              Like McDonalds, Starbucks is a polarizing brand. Some people love it, others hate it. I think it's less a matter of the actual product itself so much as a ubiquitous, some would say oversaturated brand now charging an even higher premium for a product which may or may not be superior to their other products. I'm reminded of the controversy over The Hobbit film when it was annouced the two-part story would be expanded to a trilogy. It seemed like a brazen money grab.

              1. re: monkeyrotica
                cowboyardee Dec 18, 2012 11:06 AM

                I think their product is an issue for many people who criticize SB.

                Of course any huge and ubiquitous brand like Starbucks is going to be polarizing, with some loving it or hating it just for being popular. But I can tell you that my personal distaste for Starbucks really boils down to nothing more than disliking their basic coffee. Their over roasted beans shows a coffee-making philosophy that I just don't like. It's like absolutely smothering meat in bottled BBQ sauce - yeah, you've made for some very bold flavors, but it's also overpowering, uninteresting, and a disservice to the meat you started off with.

                It's possible that I've judged too much of Starbucks' menu from just one or two products that I don't like. If some of the other coffees offered by Starbucks are better, then I applaud them for offering said good products. Since there are several good coffee shops that I trust near me, I haven't gone out of my way to give Starbucks' other offerings a chance.

                Politically speaking, I feel much more comfortable buying from Starbucks than I do shopping at McD's or Walmart (loaded subject - I'll drop it; my point is just that I don't think Starbucks is a *bad* company).

                1. re: cowboyardee
                  monkeyrotica Dec 18, 2012 11:29 AM

                  Agreed about the overroasting, but I understand why they do it. A regular roast does not hold up to the creams, sweeteners, foams, spices, chocolate shavings, and flavored syrups that they charge a premium for. It's like coffee for people who don't like the taste of coffee.

          2. re: cowboyardee
            TeRReT Dec 17, 2012 09:00 AM

            The difference for me would be that once the wine is bottled, assuming it is stored correctly it will taste how the vineyard wanted it to. Coffee comes as a bean from the farm and needs to be roasted, ground, and brewed, and that is a lot of variables that can be screwed up by the cafe charging me $7 for a coffee. While I have no trouble paying $7 for a coffee, I do have to pause to reconsider if I am willing to believe a starbucks coffee could be worth that much based on my past experience.

            This pause would only be momentary, however, and I would have already tried it by now were it available at starbucks in Japan, sadly it is not. Maybe in January when I go to visit Canada, if it is available there.

            My hesitance to pay that much is almost solely and specifically because it involves starbucks. Were it any other brand selling me a premium coffee I would hesitate far less.

            1. re: TeRReT
              cowboyardee Dec 17, 2012 10:13 AM

              I basically agree and share your reluctance to trust starbucks. The irony is that starbucks is pretty well able to offer a really great cup of coffee if they wanted to. Their quality control is pretty tight, and any location that has a Clover should be able to reliably do great beans justice, even if the person operating it is under-skilled - just follow a recipe. But they use their quality control and their perfectly good equipment to make badly over-roasted coffee. They're kinda like the Budweiser of coffees - there's a lot of good equipment and technical know-how going into making an extremely consistent product that's just not very good in the first place.

              1. re: cowboyardee
                k
                Klunco Dec 17, 2012 10:40 AM

                Well said.

                1. re: cowboyardee
                  Boston_Otter Dec 17, 2012 11:16 AM

                  It depends entirely on the beans. As you say, they've got the equipment, but charred beans brewed on a $10k coffeemaker are still going to be awful. But they don't over-roast all of their coffee, just their darkest house blends. I've had some beautifully roasted coffees there, mostly their "reserve" blends.

                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    p
                    pine time Dec 18, 2012 08:12 AM

                    When our Starbucks introduced a new blend, I took a chance and asked for a sample before buying. The barista didn't hesitate and poured me about a 3-4 oz cup. Could give that a try before plonking down $7.

                2. re: cowboyardee
                  ipsedixit Dec 18, 2012 08:24 AM

                  For me, at least it's because the general price range of "gourmet" coffees is about $2-3.

                  Whereas $7 is pretty typical (even bargain basement priced) for a glass of wine.

                  The more apt comparison, I think, would be paying $30 for a glass of wine versus $7 for a cup of coffee.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    monkeyrotica Dec 18, 2012 08:43 AM

                    If they sold a $30 cup of coffee, I'm sure people would buy it. Some people buy things just because they're the most expensive, and therefore best, thing they can buy. Like an education at Harvard or a politician.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      cowboyardee Dec 18, 2012 10:20 AM

                      I'm suggesting that at least some of that discrepancy in general price range is merely a matter of convention... of wealthier people making up the market for wine, of wine-makers being much better paid than coffee producers.

                      My point is that I don't think a $30 glass of wine is necessarily comparable to a $7 cup of coffee - I think the $7 cup of coffee is a better deal (assuming it delivers on quality).

                  2. ocpitmaster Dec 17, 2012 06:45 AM

                    In Manhattan over the weekend; EVERYBODY has a Starbucks cup....how trendy! Did try to get a coffee; after 5 Starbucks with lines out the door, walked into a Dunkin Donut with no wait!
                    $7 a cup......now that's marketing!!

                    1. grampart Dec 7, 2012 10:35 AM

                      How about $50 a cup with no mention of a clover.
                      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...

                      1. knowspicker Dec 7, 2012 08:20 AM

                        I tried it and it's very good coffee. The best Costa Rican coffee I can remember tasting but I tend to prefer things like the aged Sumatra.

                        If you want to try it without paying $7 you can use a reward on your Starbucks card to pay for it. That's what I did.

                        1. khh1138 Dec 6, 2012 01:17 PM

                          I really doubt I would pony up for this at a Starbucks - because I don't trust that they would use good non-charred coffee beans, but I will tell you that I've had coffee made with Clover machines (my husband's office licensed one of these miraculous devices before they did some special deal with Starbucks) and they are truly revolutionary. I can usually only drink a couple sips of coffee - and then I start feeling odd and shaky. I drink a tiny, tiny cup of coffee every morning (maybe 2-3 oz). We use Peet's at home. I can usually pick up all sort of bitter and nasty flavours - impurities? - in restaurant coffees. But I can drink an entire 8-10 ounces of coffee made in a Clover machine, and it is the smoothest, richest, most delicious beverage. I drink it and think - "this is why people love coffee." And know that I won't taste coffee like that again until I visit his office again.

                          It's really remarkable to me that the Clover machine renders coffee drinkable for me. What in the world is it doing? I will say, you can see lovely *pools* of coffee oils on the top of the beverage as it is being made, and a very thick crema. It gives you very fine control over all of the parameters - temperature, pressure, water volume, etc.

                          1. njmarshall55 Dec 4, 2012 07:53 AM

                            No thanks. I can get a good size bag of Eight O'Clcok beans for that.

                            1. k
                              Klunco Dec 3, 2012 12:15 PM

                              I'm a serious coffee nerd (home-roasting, measuring in grams, temperature probing the water, etc.) Like aficionados of anything, I appreciate higher quality items from time to time as a treat. I don't have a philosophical opposition to paying $7 for a cup of coffee assuming the coffee is special and it is made with extreme care. I think I paid $7 once at Intelligentsia in Chicago for a syphon-brew of really special beans. In that case, the coffee itself was rare, unique, freshly roasted (and not charred), and they had to pull some off from making drinks to devote 5 minutes to making my cup (with a probe thermometer no less.) Truth be told this is also what happened when I tried Kopi-Luak coffee. Yeah it's expensive and rare, etc. but if it's over-roasted, not fresh, or brewed improperly you are literally just throwing money away.

                              The problem with Starbucks is that their roast profile takes all the nuance out of spectacular beans by roasting it so dark; therefore I could never justify this at Starbucks.

                              1. roxlet Dec 3, 2012 09:48 AM

                                Jimmy Fallon did a blind taste test on his show, asking random people in the street which one tasted like the expensive $7 cup. Everyone picked a cup, and they mentioned how smooth the taste was and how rich it tasted. Only problem was, they were both the same coffee -- an inexpensive supermarket brand like Folgers or Maxwell house. Only one guy got it right, "These are both the same," he said.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: roxlet
                                  Boston_Otter Dec 3, 2012 10:52 AM

                                  For a basic cup of coffee, most people seem to prefer a simple, smooth, uncomplicated coffee like Folgers or Dunkin' Donuts.

                                  A $7 cup that comes out of the Clover is by no means a simple, uncomplicated coffee or something you'd drink every morning.

                                  1. re: Boston_Otter
                                    roxlet Dec 3, 2012 10:53 AM

                                    Yes, but the point is that most people can't tell the difference.

                                    1. re: roxlet
                                      Boston_Otter Dec 3, 2012 11:51 AM

                                      A lot of people can't tell the difference between a $7 bottle of Yellow Tail and a $60 Viognier either, nor a $100 wagu steak vs. a $14 Outback Special. It doesn't mean that people who enjoy the nuances of a really rare or unusual cup of coffee wouldn't appreciate a cup of these beans.

                                      1. re: Boston_Otter
                                        Manassas64 Dec 3, 2012 04:33 PM

                                        I remember working at a law firm in the 90s and one of the lawyers brought in Jamaica High Mountain and Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee that was like $25 a pound.

                                        I didn't think it was all that. But, it was brewed on one of those nasty old Bunn setups, so I'm sure it lost some of its charm.

                                        1. re: Manassas64
                                          Boston_Otter Dec 4, 2012 04:16 AM

                                          Ew, yeah. The best coffee in the world run through a cheap drip machine is going to taste like industrial Folgers, pretty much.

                                          That said, good Jamaica Blue Mountain is quite rare, actually. It was so trendy and well known in the mid-90s that a lot of big suppliers put out psuedo-JBM coffee blends with only a bit of the real thing and a lot of cheap filler sold for $25 a pound, sadly.

                                          1. re: Boston_Otter
                                            Manassas64 Dec 4, 2012 12:24 PM

                                            That's interesting. I didn't know that. Makes sense though. Doesn't everyone make a cheap imitation of the latest and greatest thing?

                                        2. re: Boston_Otter
                                          monkeyrotica Dec 7, 2012 09:23 AM

                                          Gotta agree about the whole wine thing. All my oenophile friends want me to try this special vintage or that rare wine and I gotta say, I can't tell the damn difference between those rare vintages and bottom shelf plonk. I can tell when it's been corked but that's about it.

                                    2. re: roxlet
                                      cowboyardee Dec 3, 2012 12:01 PM

                                      Same thing would happen with many kinds of food and certainly with wines - give me a $15 wine without any big flaws and a $200 one in the same style that's extremely well rated, and I have no confidence I would pick out the more expensive one in a blind test. But I could certainly pick a top notch cup of coffee from Maxwell House. That's not because I'm special - it's just that I've tasted enough coffee to tell the difference.

                                      I'm assuming Starbucks is aiming at people who are similarly experienced (or more so). There's no particularly good reason for people who drink Folgers to buy the most expensive coffee they can find. If they want to expand their horizons, just trying a medium-priced and recently roasted light roast could be just as revelatory. Or, if smooth flavor and lack of bitterness is the ideal, I think a lot of people would love cold-brewed coffee - my coworkers rave about the cold brew I bring in, and it's nothing special really.

                                      I have no idea if the $7 starbucks cup delivers on the quality I'd hope for in such an expensive coffee. But if they do, that quality is a lot more likely to be appreciated by people who love coffee than by whoever happens to be milling around outside Jimmy Fallon's studio.

                                    3. s
                                      sedimental Dec 1, 2012 09:46 PM

                                      Okay, I took one for the team! LOL

                                      I tried it today. It is definitely a different tasting cup of coffee. It reminded me of a citrus type of clean coffee. Notes of pineapple and general "fruitiness". Made on the clover machine (which is fun to watch) and the Barista liked talking it up as she made it. She said the machine costs 11k and their goal in this store was to sell at least 50 cups per day. She said they were making their goal - and more. They are averaging somewhere between 50 and 60 cups per day on the clover machine. I live in a very nerdy coffee town and we have 2 Starbucks that have the machine, but most of the clover machines are in Seattle.

                                      I liked it, but I don't go to Starbucks much. I like clean, bright tasting coffee, if you prefer buttery roasty coffee then this is not the cup for you. I actually prefer the beans of some of the specialty small, esoteric roasters in the area better -so I don't think I will get this again, but it was fun to give it a go :)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: sedimental
                                        ipsedixit Dec 1, 2012 09:47 PM

                                        Interesting. Thanks for the report.

                                        1. re: sedimental
                                          Manassas64 Dec 2, 2012 09:51 AM

                                          Thanks for being our taste tester :D

                                          That sounds like it's my type of coffee.

                                        2. a
                                          akq Nov 30, 2012 01:14 PM

                                          I know what I am using my free Rewards credit on!

                                          1. f
                                            foodieX2 Nov 29, 2012 10:14 AM

                                            I can imagine that a true coffee aficionado would have no issue with it. I have also heard that Starbuck will allow you to "try before you buy"so why not stop in a try it yourself and report back?

                                            While I would never pay that coffee (or tea) being that I am DD girl myself I have happily spent that and considerably more on a glass of wine or really good scotch. I am sure the serious coffee drinkers who don't drink/like booze would think I was crazy for doing so.

                                            1. j
                                              Jim M Nov 29, 2012 09:59 AM

                                              Speaking of good "shit," I paid $8 for a cup of kopi luwak in Indonesia recently. The cafe proudly billed it as "the most expensive coffee in the world." Yes, it was very good, even worth $8. But I don't think I'd pay $7 for anything at Starbucks.

                                              1. Manassas64 Nov 28, 2012 06:24 PM

                                                I paid $8 for a cup of tea at the Bellagio in Vegas a few years ago. I mistakenly asked for 2 tea bags not realizing she was going to charge me for 2 cups of tea. Live and learn.

                                                I also paid $14 for a bottle of VOSS water in Vegas, too.

                                                I really need to look at my receipt before I charge it to my room. LOL

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Manassas64
                                                  s
                                                  sedimental Nov 28, 2012 07:17 PM

                                                  Oh man, but Vegas is crazy like that! That sort of crap has happened to me soooo many times, LOL. Wha????? How much for water??????

                                                  I am going to eat my way through Vegas this Xmas. I intend to watch what I order! :0)

                                                  I live in the PNW. I will look for this coffee and report back here if I taste some.

                                                  1. re: sedimental
                                                    Manassas64 Nov 29, 2012 05:55 AM

                                                    Yes we need a field reporter to give us the scoop!

                                                    Take one for the team.

                                                    1. re: sedimental
                                                      p
                                                      pine time Dec 2, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                      We once paid $14 each for 2 bottles of plain old water in Kuala Lumpur--so much for language problems.
                                                      I'd be tempted to try the $7 cup of coffee as a novelty, but wouldn't ever be my regular drink.

                                                    2. re: Manassas64
                                                      b
                                                      baseballfan Nov 29, 2012 10:02 AM

                                                      I stayed at the Vdara recently and paid $8.50 for 2 cups of regular coffee downstairs in their cafe. I couldn't believe it! No special mocha latte or anything just ordinary brewed coffee.

                                                      1. re: baseballfan
                                                        ipsedixit Nov 29, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                        I don't think a hotel is a fair comparison.

                                                        I've paid outrageous amounts for coffee at the Mandarin and The Williard. You're sort of a captive audience, and the hotels know it.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                          b
                                                          baseballfan Nov 29, 2012 10:38 AM

                                                          Yeah, I know it's not apples to apples but it was still hard to swallow :)

                                                    3. k
                                                      KrumTx Nov 28, 2012 03:59 PM

                                                      Every night I peruse the news outlets and try to morph the opinions together. This story was at the top of NBC News - I immediately thought of ispe:)

                                                      http://lifeinc.today.com/_news/2012/1...

                                                      1. cowboyardee Nov 28, 2012 01:07 PM

                                                        I'd pay $7 for a really great cup of coffee - I've certainly paid that for a bad glass of wine. But I would have to hear some seriously good reviews from people who really know their coffee before I'd pay that at starbucks. Maybe if I had a gift card...

                                                        1. Boston_Otter Nov 28, 2012 01:04 PM

                                                          That's not too surprising. The Jamaica Blue Mountain was about $5-$6 on the Clover and this is rarer than JBM coffee.

                                                          This is the perfect thing to get for free with the Rewards card :)

                                                          1. c
                                                            CanadaGirl Nov 28, 2012 12:42 PM

                                                            While I haven't had the coffee you mention, I have paid a fair bit for the odd cup of coffee; I believe the most ever was about $10. It was some sort of relatively rare bean brewed on a clover. It was a great cup of coffee, but not a price I can justify on a regular basis.

                                                            I would think nothing of paying $7 (or more) for a glass of wine in a restaurant. Both are liquid enjoyment :)

                                                            1. tcamp Nov 28, 2012 12:25 PM

                                                              No, haven't tried it. But I did enjoy a pricey morning brew courteousy of my visiting sister in law. These things are really good!!

                                                              http://www.asiachi.com/pequofjatea.html

                                                              1. r
                                                                ricepad Nov 28, 2012 12:18 PM

                                                                The only way I'd pay $7 for a cup of coffee is if the cup was the size of a milking pail, and you got to keep the cup, to boot.

                                                                1. k
                                                                  KrumTx Nov 27, 2012 02:25 PM

                                                                  Holy crap!!!

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