whole bean pricing: mass versus servings

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whole bean pricing: mass versus servings

Postby Jimmy Oneschuk on Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:58 am

Just wondering if anyone has experience with pricing retail whole bean using an x-servings instead of the traditional mass/g quantity? I know the coffeed community talks about what a great value coffee is compared to wine, but what about using this on the retail front lines?

For example, let's say you were selling a particular origin in 300g bag and 50g/L was your brew standard. Assuming either 1 serving is 1 cup/250mL or perhaps more conservatively, your typical 12oz mug size, 325mL, you should be getting 18 servings per 300g bag.

Instead of marking the bag as a 300g bag, could marking the bag as 15, 20, etc, servings help customers better see the value of your coffee, especially when you are marketing your pricier lots, or using a hybrid system?
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Re: whole bean pricing: mass versus servings

Postby Colleen Anunu on Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:09 am

We've thought about this for supplemental promotional materials, though never thought about it for the coffee packaging itself. What a great idea. I love a good in-your-face value proposition.

We wouldn't be able to replace mass indication with serving size, however, as that's a legal requirement.
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Re: whole bean pricing: mass versus servings

Postby Alistair Durie on Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:52 pm

It may calculate between 50-70 cents but I think "whole bean costs much less than $1 per cup" is an easy point to make.

Or: this pound of beans will brew about 7 litres of coffee - about 30 cups.

Valuable math to communicate.
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Re: whole bean pricing: mass versus servings

Postby Kevin Knox on Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:03 pm

I think it's a great idea but the dilemma as I see it is defining serving size. The classic 6 ounce coffee "cup" (and that was a gross, not net, amount, so figure ~5.25-5.5 fl. ounces) sure seems like an anachronism in the Big Gulp universe that Starbucks has put us in (though I still much prefer it).

At a reasonably stout dose of 60-65 grams per liter you're looking at roughly 32-35 such servings per pound. Interestingly the Peet's marketing department has chosen a 12 ounce cup/mug when calculating the cost-per-servings that appears prominently on their mail order whole bean coffee listings. Is this a capitulation to "tall is the new small," are they shooting themselves in the foot?

Clearly the proliferation of small batch/single cup brewing going on at retail provides some cover for trying to get the customer to think of fewer, smaller servings of really spectacular coffee that satisfy in sips rather than gulps.
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Re: whole bean pricing: mass versus servings

Postby taylormork on Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:48 pm

We find it helpful to frame much dreaded prices increases to our customers by showing not only the per-lb increase to expect, but also what that means in terms of increase to their per-cup costs (based on our suggested brew ratios). We show the increase in terms of both 8oz and 12oz cups, as those seem to be the most common cup sizes for restaurants and coffee-shop customers, respectively. Those are our most common types of wholesale customers so we don't worry about all the other potential serving sizes. Framing increases through a matter of a few pennies certainly lessens the blow. Compared with our prior increase, this resulted in far less pushback from the price hagglers.

I've also noticed a few other wholesalers start to list per-cup prices on their price lists, alongside published whole bean rates.
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