Simple observation: Whenever I shifted to better coffee, I always had to pay a little bit extra for coffee itself than usual.

Does it hold true vice avers? Meaning, if price tag on coffee brand X is 10% more than coffee brand Y, can I say that brand X is better than brand Y without considering any other attributes? (e.g. location, fair trade and so on)

  • 1
    This is true for most things but this is a very subjective thing though, the other factor in this is the yield, kopi luwak if manufacture more efficiently wouldn't be nearly as expensive as it is, similarly for Jamaican Blue mountain. I don't think this is answerable as it's very subjective the term better
    – EdChum
    Feb 9, 2015 at 14:41
  • I understand the close votes, but have no idea how to define the word better in this case. I mean tastier, from local producers and so omn Feb 10, 2015 at 7:24

2 Answers 2


Short answer: Yes - up to a point

Long answer:

Ignoring things like Kopi Luwak etc, there is a cost associated with growing, harvesting and transporting arabica beans in a timely manner, roasting them while they're fresh, and getting them to somewhere you can buy them.

If you go below this price, corners will be cut. You may get cheaper robusta beans, or a mix. You will get older, staler beans. You will get the poor end of the harvest.

However, go above that price and you're needlessly spending extra cash. You're now spending on marketing for the people you're buying it from. You're paying for a fancier bag, better branding etc. This may actually make it taste bette - psychology is a powerful thing, but the beans you're getting won't be significantly different.

The problem is, this magic price-point is impossible to find, fluctuates wildly, and it's in the interests of suppliers to obfusticate it as much as possible.

My advice would be to try a variety of coffees that you can afford and find one you like.


I have found that like almost all purchased products, you generally get what you pay for. More expensive is usually better, but not always directly in line with the price.

Things that are stand out more expensive than their contemporaries (Kopi Luwak, many Kona coffees, and currently Gesha varietals) are often very good, but not necessarily as good as their price tag. I wouldn't say any Kona or Gesha coffee is 4 times better than the South and Central Americans I prefer, but because of real estate and labor prices for Kona, and the current "rush" popularity of gesha, they are that much more expensive.

Many people don't think about the cost of things like getting organic or fair trade certified. Those things cost money for growers/processors to obtain, and that price is passed on. If you care very much about such things, however, it may make a lot of sense to pay $1 more a pound for your coffee. Even though the bag right next to it may be of the exact same quality for less money, it doesn't support your beliefs/ideals/principles.

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