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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

Why Single-Origin Coffee Is So Expensive



Single-origin specialty coffee can cost over $30 per pound, more than five times the average price of 1 pound of ground coffee in the US. “Specialty” is the term for the highest-quality coffee, and aficionados describe its taste with words more frequently used by sommeliers, like “floral” or “fruity.” Reaching this level of quality requires investment and labor at every step of production. But despite the prices a roasted bag of single-origin coffee can reach in the world’s wealthiest countries, the farmers who handpick each coffee cherry struggle to earn a profit.


We went to Kenya to find out what it takes to grow high-quality coffee, and why it’s so expensive.


Intro 0:00

Growing coffee 0:44

Harvesting 2:01

Commodity vs. specialty coffee 2:56

Sorting 4:23

Washed process 5:09

Roasting 6:46

Drying and Milling 10:13

The price of coffee 11:48



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