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How much labour goes into one cup of coffee?

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  • How much labour goes into one cup of coffee?

    Being a maniac coffee drinker (3 or 4 a day)- I manage to go through around 500 grams of beans a week. Lets say 25 KGs per year (lord thats a lot of coffee... :-/)

    Lately I have been wondering just how much labour goes into the production of coffee? From tree to cup what is involved?

    I guess the majority of the work happens at the tree end- I imagine picking a kilo of beans by hand takes a fair while. They are small things- I used to pick mulberries and I could manage 3 or 4 kilos an hour- but I imagine coffee beans are a slower business? then all the processing etc.

    Any one have any idea - or a guesstimate- how much labour goes into a single cup of espresso (lets leave the cows out of this for the time being...)

  • #2
    Re: How much labour goes into one cup of coffee?

    Depends on what theory you prescribe to

    Have a read of this Wiki and you are bedazzled with multiple answers based on the System you live and trade by



    • #3
      Re: How much labour goes into one cup of coffee?

      well- I guess the answer could be pretty open ended- if you took into account plant breeding, land clearing, plantation development, picking, processing, transport etc. the list goes on and on (and on). Right down to the coal fired power plant that heats the water in my Pavoni.... the mind boggles.

      But keeping this in the realms of guesstimation- and perhaps confining ourselves to the beans alone-

      how much labour in picking, preparing, transporting those beans to me?

      How many KGs of beans does a worker pick an hour may be a good place to start...

      It is no mistake that coffee has become a favorite topic in discussions concerning globalisation. A seemingly simple act- drinking ones morning cup- opens up the world of commerce that we all benefit from- but that remains largely mysterious to most of us...

      the more I think about it- the more sure I am that I am getting a ridiculously good deal every time I drink a coffee. I am glad to think that some small part of my (beanbay) bean expenses will find itself somehow embodied in a new pulping machine in a small village in Tanzania.