Cofflation since 2017

In 2017, I purchased a single-serve coffee maker for $29.88:

This machine has brewed its last cup. How much is the new one?

The $42.39 price is 42 percent inflation relative to the $29.88 price paid in 2017. What does the official government site say? It should cost $35.88 (20 percent inflation).

Separately, if you don’t like the weak Keurig coffee, you might enjoy this one though it is slightly more effort. Keurig is trying to be French press coffee, but with minimal contact time between water and grounds. A standard drip machine like this yields a more intense drink.

21 thoughts on “Cofflation since 2017

  1. It’s definitely up from what it has been over the last few years, but CamelCamelCamel suggests that 29.88 price you got was a deal. Over the last few years it’s typically hovered around $40 as a maximum/typical price. It jumped to around $45 in early 2020, jumped to around $49 near the beginning of this year. Right now it’s selling for $52.85, which is 32% over that $40 – so still more than the 20% expected.

    That $42.39 price you got is about the best price it’s done this year.

  2. It’s tough to rely on some consumer items as a gauge of inflation, because retailers hike/jack and then lower prices on some items according to – among other things – “buzz” that’s generated by GooTube reviews.

    I have an example: My 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid (which except for the drivetrain is identical in almost every respect to the regular Escapes from 2008-2012) suffered from the crummy, leaking rear hatch glass weather stripping problem endemic to those cars. Basically, the weather stripping seal as manufactured by Ford was a piece of junk, and after only a few years, it degrades enough to allow water to leak past the seal, down the inside surface of the rear hatch glass, and then into the rear hatch itself. The water drips down inside the metal hatch and causes corrosion from the inside out particularly at the bottom, and the bigger problem is that it also makes its way into the rear wiper motor and switches, plus the backup camera. Then the backup camera fails and the computer throws a code associated with one of the car’s networked communication modules. 99.99% of mechanics don’t know how to diagnose and repair it. They’ll replace the module and charge hundreds of dollars. All that’s really wrong, in most cases, is some corrosion on a connector and that stupid piece of rubber.

    It’s just a leaky seal. Ford offers an updated part number with bettah rubbah.

    Well, there’s a guy on YouTube who shows how to replace it DIY. It’s not that hard, and he has quite a few pro. mechanics who follow his channel. He posted his video, it got relatively popular, and within a week or two the price of that piece of rubber jumped by almost 50%. The demand increased and all the suppliers that I could find jacked their prices. WiReD, as it were.

    YouTube is the PRICE GOD! Lol. But seriously, if someone has a popular channel and retailers know about the products they’re pushing, you can reasonably expect to see prices increase in response for that particular item.

    I wish you continued good coffee taste. Your initial purchase works out to $5.98 a year, or ~1.6 cents per day for good coffeemaking, so you made a good choice at the beginning.

    • BTW if you own a 2008-2012 Escape, here’s how to replace the seal, including the Amazon link in the description.

    • Thanks, Alex, but the Europeans would say that this is “bad taste” in coffee. In fact, unless you go to a Starbucks it is almost impossible to find what they call “filter coffee”. It’s a whole continent of espresso.

    • @philg: I guess they don’t know what’s good for them! And now I’m going to have to investigate how my local Dunkin makes their espresso shots that go into their macchiatos. Wish me luck on the deep dive, because as our President once said on the Campaign Trail, one “Cannot Go To A 7-Eleven Or Dunkin’ Donuts Unless You Have A Slight Indian Accent.”

      If I mimic a slight Indian accent, I think it might be taken as an insult here in MA so I’ll refrain from that during my investigation.

  3. The Greenspun blog pushed it up to $52. Guess Bezos jacks it up based on clicks. The real estate for a coffee maker alone would be $40,000/year by now. Lions never developed a dependency on coffee despite trying to drink it 30 years ago. The same thing happened with alcohol. Maybe it’s an economically advantageous trait, but humans evolved to survive by teamwork & brain power.

    • Same here. I have almost never had coffee or alcohol, even at my wedding or my daughter’s. I don’t see why someone needs caffeine to be functional other then they got into it to be social. And I don’t see why someone needs alcohol to be social. I much rather have clear mind during parties so I know I’m in control then give out embarrassing and personal information.

  4. Bialetti is a wonder of engineering (I’ve heard), is cheaper, brews a great cup, and virtually doesn’t have to be cleaned.

    • says that the Bialetti is for people who like espresso, not for mild/smooth drip coffee wimps! says “The Moka pot can be dangerous to use if you don’t know what you’re doing.” (this is a deal-killer for me!) and “The Moka pot is more hands-on because you have to watch it and make sure the water doesn’t boil over. The drip coffee maker is more hands-off because you can just set it and forget it.”

    • Yes, the Moka Pot produces strong espresso.

      I’ve accidentally left it unattended many times. The lower part simply gets very hot and the espresso in the upper part boils. Nothing else happens.

      The “explosions” that one finds on YouTube are not the lower part blowing up into metal shrapnel, but rather the two parts separating and the upper part hitting the ceiling. This is the result of not screwing on the upper part tightly enough.

      People say that if one packs fine coffee very tight and if the safety valve is blocked, one could get a real explosion. But I’ve never found a documented case: Even with tightly packed coffee, the resistance along the intended path should be much lower than the pressure required for exploding the thick metal lower part.

  5. Dear God, my favorite (AeroPress) has gone from $29.99 to $39.99! AeroPress is a favorite of students and backpack tourists. 700 pack of paper filters is $14.95, up from $10.95 in 2016. The design has not changed, it’s still two concentric plastic cylinders with a flex seal to make the inner cylinder a piston to force hot water through the coffee over a paper filter about 1.5 inches diameter. The whole thing stands directly on your cup and you lean on the top to pressurize. Sounds tiddly but it’s a nice 2-minute ritual, very portable and rugged, whole thing goes in the dishwasher if sterile is your thing.
    AeroPress has been “discovered” for a long time, so this is not influencer-inflation. The kit was $25-$30 for years, including 350 filters.

    • @Donald: I can also suggest the Delter Press. This YouTuber has apparently reshaped his entire life around making coffee and has an interesting comparison between the two. And the Delter can be had for just $33.70 on Amazon, so put that in your cup and drink it! Lol.

    • I see Amazon has a replacement rubber seal for $6.99, so a poor man may repair his/her/their AeroPress and go another few years. This should suffice unless the poor ran over the plastic part with his Corvette or Honda Odyssey.

  6. @alex, thanks, I viewed and skimmed the comments. No real challenge to the AeroPress if durability/simplicity has value.

    OT: how did we DIYers do without youtube? Obscure projects like your door seal and my power window “regulator” (up-down mechanism) would be formidable!

    • @Donald: The Internet hasn’t made people smarter, because that is almost impossible and takes thousands of years or more. It has, however, made people more dependent on the Internet. I have a longer answer but I don’t want to bore anyone and I am going to spend the rest of this evening reading a dead-trees book offline.

    • @Donald:

      I suppose before this DIYers did things like read Boys Life Magazine before it was lobotomized, and then they did things like watch their fathers and mothers work with things, fix them, try to keep them running, and learn the hard way sometimes how not to hurt themselves with tools. When I went to public school, I was an “advanced and gifted/talented” kid but I also took Shop, Mechanical Drawing, and my Rifle Team coach taught Graphic Arts. I had a few miscreant friends who were into cars and did crazy things like throw a roll cage into an early 1970s Chevy Nova and then stuff the engine compartment with a Chevy Big Block topped off with a supercharger and backed up by a Powerglide transmission. My maternal grandfather had a huge workshop in his garage and survived the Great Depression by building his own house, basically. He taught me basic carpentry. My father and I installed the mainframe computers we owned, including building the computer rooms with drop ceilings, HALON fire suppression and running all the 220V/Three Phase power. I was “privileged” to work with some fine people who knew how to do things and didn’t rely on YouTube because it didn’t exist.

      I guess it’s what we’d colloquially refer to as a “generational thing.”

    • @Donald: And I’ve never done a proper #Scientific study about it, but both Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines used to be much more rigorous and instructive when it came to things like DIY home repairs and so forth. I remember Roy Doty’s famous “Wordless Workshop” features with great fondness. His genius was to demonstrate the basic principles of industrial design without even using words. No “Narrative” in other words.

      To some extent, those days are gone forever: people don’t fix things or build things themselves any longer, at least not in the same sense. They buy products that are designed to fail, wear out, and be discarded or “fixed” by anyone but themselves.

      Are we better off? Are we more competent?

    • @alex, lighten up, man – I’m 84 yrs old, professional engineer, and did all those things plus build 3 boats and maintain several that I bought. Never paid over $10,000 for a car although I could afford more. Pit crew/mechanic for a Porsche Speedster in the glory days of SCCA road racing. Still driving my 1990 Chevy pickup that towed all the trees out of my yard post-hurricane (The one that needs a window regulator.) My DIY/tinker credentials are impeccable, but nobody can be an expert repairman across all the machines in our life. Youtube, regardless of Google’s rapacious business model, serves up incredibly useful demos that allow DIYer’s to pick and choose which projects fit our skills and tools.

      I don’t like the direction car design is going, @philg is critical of his GA airplanes, and nobody likes inflation, but nevertheless life is still interesting and this is blog comments not anything existential. Even the great philosopher Toucan Sam says “if you like Youtube, you can watch Youtube!”

    • @Donald: Sorry, my tone sounded too harsh there. I was smiling as I wrote all that since I had a feeling you were one of the DIYers I’m referring to. I was celebrating that and I’m glad to hear it. We need more people like you in the world. There are some people doing great things on YouTube who help a lot of others out of trouble, but you need to be selective. It’s interesting that some of them are really excellent but they don’t get the same audience as the flashier channels. They’re underappreciated.

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