Can You Drink Specialty Coffee On a Budget? Yes, And Here’s How

At The Laughing Pug, our mission is simple: to bring coffee lovers world-class, affordable coffee that they can enjoy anytime and anywhere.  

If you've been a long-time Pugster, you already know our origin story through our newsletters. But if this is your first time diving into our blog, get ready to embark on a journey with us, which began deep in the tropical jungles of Papua New Guinea.

Our founder, Dylan, worked tirelessly in the lush wilderness, resorting to burnt and nasty instant coffee just to get his morning caffeine fix. Not exactly a coffee lover's dream, right? 

But then, a game-changer came along: his supervisor revealed a secret brewing technique using a humble pillowcase and a rock. Who would have thought, right?

And there it was, in the midst of the jungle, the birth of a heavenly cup of coffee. Bold, rich, and clean-tasting— an experience worth sharing with the world. So, Dylan returned home with a mission: to make this incredible coffee accessible to everyone.

Fast forward to today, and we're thrilled to share this journey with you. We're here to show you how you can enjoy top-tier coffee without worrying about the cost. No pillowcases required! From the sourcing of the finest beans to the brewing techniques that enhance the flavours, we've got it all covered.

In this article, we aim to show you how you can enjoy delicious, top-tier coffee without feeling your heart sink every time you check your bank account balance:

Sit back, grab a cup of coffee and join us on this journey to discover the best world-class coffee you can actually afford. Let's start sipping the good stuff!

The Laughing Pug specialty-grade coffee

How Coffee Beans Are Graded 

Currently, there’s no universal grading and classification system for green coffee, that’s why we hear different terms such as “Kenyan AA”, “Grade 1”, and “Guji G1”. 

However, the primary grading system used internationally is the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) system. This system is based on the presence and severity of defects, as well as the bean size and shape. 

The sorting system is as follows: 

  • Grade 1 (Specialty Grade Coffee): Must have no more than 5 full defects in 300 grams of coffee. No primary defects are allowed.  
  • Grade 2 (Premium Grade Coffee): Must have no more than 8 full defects in 300 grams. Primary defects are permitted. 
  • Grade 3 (Exchange Grade Coffee): Must have no more than 9-23 full defects in 300 grams.
  • Grade 4 (Below Standard Grade Coffee): 24-86 defects in 300 grams.
  • Grade 5 (Off-Grade Coffee): More than 86 defects in 300 grams.

In terms of defects, the SCAA uses a 100-point scale to grade coffee, with 80 points being the minimum score required for a coffee to be considered "specialty." Defects can greatly lower the overall score of a coffee.

Common defects include

  • Quakers: underdeveloped beans that are smaller and paler than fully developed beans
  • Black beans: beans that have been over-roasted and have a burnt taste
  • Sour beans: beans that have fermented or grown mould, resulting in a sour taste
  • Broken beans: beans that are broken or chipped
  • Foreign matter: any material other than coffee beans, such as sticks or rocks, found in the coffee

These defects can lower the overall score of the coffee and make it less desirable to consumers. Low-grade coffee may have a less desirable taste, aroma and appearance, which can result in a less enjoyable drinking experience (visit this page for more information on the SCAA coffee bean classification). 

How Coffee Grading Affects You 

Coffee grading systems play a crucial role in ensuring consistency and transparency in the coffee industry. 

The quality of coffee has a direct impact on its price— specialty-grade coffee that meets the highest quality standards can command a higher price while lower grades of coffee with more defects fetch lower prices due to their less appealing taste and aroma. 

Here at The Laughing Pug, we don't believe in settling for anything less than exceptional coffee. That's why we're proud to offer only specialty-grade coffee beans, carefully sourced from the best coffee farms worldwide.

Our beans undergo a rigorous selection process, ensuring that only the highest quality beans make it into your cup to provide you with a rich and flavorful coffee experience.

And why settle for overpriced specialty coffee when you can have the same quality at a fraction of the cost? You won't find prices like ours anywhere else, so try The Laughing Pug specialty coffee and get your caffeine fix with a smile! 

The Laughing Pug drip bags

Where The Best Coffee Beans Come From

Each country has its own unique coffee culture to discover from the rich, bold cup of coffee grown in the lush, tropical forests of South America to the bustling streets of Vietnam. 

Let’s get to know world-famous coffee varieties, how the quality may affect the pricing, and what gives them the rich and diverse flavours that we crave every morning. Here are the world’s top 5 coffee importers in 2022 according to Statista


Did you know that Brazil is responsible for producing a whopping 40% of the world's coffee supply? That's right, the land of samba and football is also the land of amazing coffee. 

The perfect blend of rich soil and stable, hot and humid weather conditions makes Brazil the ideal place to grow coffee crops that produce a sweet, complex, and heavy-bodied flavour. 

But what does this all mean for the price of coffee on your local grocery store shelf? Well, because Brazil produces such a large quantity of coffee, its supply is more stable than other countries, meaning that the price of Brazilian coffee tends to be more predictable and therefore more affordable.

Brazilian coffee


In Vietnam, they're all about growing those robusta beans, which are like the caffeine powerhouses of the coffee world! They've got double the kick compared to their fancier cousin, the arabica beans.

When it comes to taste, robusta beans have their own unique thing going on. They've got this nutty and earthy flavour profile, with just a hint of acidity and a mild body. 

If you want to get the crème de la crème of robusta beans, you've got to head straight to Vietnam's central highlands. The elevated terrain, the perfect growing conditions, and all that nature loves— it’s like a coffee paradise over there!

Since Vietnam churns out a massive amount of these robusta beans, they tend to be more pocket-friendly than the fancy arabica beans. If you're all about that strong and flavorful cup of joe without breaking the bank, Vietnam's robusta beans are your new BFFs! 

Vietnamese coffee


Drinking Colombian coffee is like sipping on a cup of luxury! This stuff is famous for its top-notch quality, but you know what they say, quality comes with a price tag.

The lush mountains and tropical climate of Colombia create the perfect playground for growing those sweet and mild arabica beans. It's like nature's gift to coffee lovers!

But here's the thing: cultivating these arabica beans ain't no piece of cake. They need extra TLC and loads of effort compared to those cheaper and easier-to-grow robusta beans. And guess what, those small-scale farms and challenging transportation routes only add to the production costs.

It's no surprise that Colombian coffee comes with a fancy price tag. You're paying for that exceptional quality and the love poured into each bean. No wonder it's consistently ranked as one of the priciest coffees in the world by the International Coffee Organization's 2022 report.

But hey, if you're up for a luxurious and flavorful coffee experience that's worth every penny, Colombian coffee is the way to go! It's like treating yourself to a little piece of coffee heaven with every sip. 

Colombian coffee


Ever heard of Indonesia’s Sumatra Mandheling and Java Arabica? Oh, they're the real deal: rich, full-bodied flavour with those earthy and spicy notes that will have you saying, "Mmm!"

These beans are grown on volcanic soils! That adds a special taste and aroma to the beans, making them stand out from the crowd. The quality can vary depending on the growing conditions and how they're processed. 

The good stuff with those unique flavours and consistent quality may cost a little more, while the lower-quality beans will be more budget-friendly.

Now, let's talk about something extraordinary: Kopi Luwak, one of the most expensive coffees in the world! It's made from beans that have been eaten and, uh, excreted by a cute little creature called the Asian palm civet. 

Yeah, it might sound a bit weird, but the civet's digestive system works some magic and supposedly improves the flavour of those beans. Coffee lovers go gaga over this distinctive taste! 

Indonesian coffee


Honduras is the fifth top coffee exporter in the world and boy, they've got some fantastic arabica beans up their sleeves. Bourbon, Catuai, Lempira, Pacas— those are just some of the unique varieties they grow. The flavours they offer are like a rollercoaster ride – fruity, nutty, chocolatey, and even floral!  

Many farmers use organic and shade-grown methods to grow their precious beans. That's right, they're all about being green and ethical. And you know what that means: specialty coffee! 

But remember, the quality of these babies affects the prices. The top-notch ones with their unique flavours may cost a bit more, but trust me, it's worth it!

Honduran coffee

The country of origin, the variety, and the quality all play a role in coffee prices. But with so many options out there, there's a perfect cup for every budget and taste. So go ahead, explore and indulge in the world of coffee wonders!  

Where our world-class coffee beans come from

If you haven’t tried top-quality coffee from Papua New Guinea (PNG), now is your chance! This isn't your ordinary cup of joe. 

With rich volcanic soil, high altitude, and just the right amount of sunshine and rain, Papua New Guinea produces a coffee that boasts a unique flavour profile, bringing out all the sweet, chocolatey and even fruity flavours that make them so unique and delicious. 

Trust us, it's a taste you won't soon forget!

In addition to our popular PNG beans, we also have robusta from Indonesia and arabica from Brazil and Colombia in our blended coffee selection. 

Our Indonesian robusta is known for its bold, earthy flavour, perfect for those who prefer a stronger cup of coffee. Meanwhile, our Brazilian and Colombian arabica beans offer a smooth, rich taste with a hint of sweetness. 

At The Laughing Pug, we believe that everyone deserves a great cup of coffee, and we're committed to making that a reality for our customers. That's why we strive to make our top-quality coffee accessible and affordable to everyone.

Indulge your taste buds in a global adventure with The Laughing Pug's unbeatable, pocket-friendly coffee. Give it a shot and experience what sets our coffee apart from the rest. Your taste buds (and your wallet) will thank you!

The Laughing Pug coffee

Single Origin vs. Blended Coffee

If you’re a new specialty coffee lover, you may ask “what’s the difference between single origin and blended coffee?” or if you’re a long-time coffee drinker looking to broaden your palate, you may be wondering which variety is better for you. 

While single origin coffee is made from beans grown in a specific region, blended coffee is a combination of beans from various regions. Each type has its own unique flavour profile, and the choice between them often comes down to personal preference. 

Single origin 

Single origin coffee is known for its unique flavour profile that reflects the characteristics of the specific region it comes from. These coffees can have distinct notes of fruit, chocolate, nut, or floral depending on the terroir. 

Single origin coffees are considered to be of higher quality and are often more expensive than blended coffees because they tend to only be available at certain periods of the year, depending on the harvesting season. 

In addition, single origin coffee beans have unique characteristics tied to their geographical conditions, giving the opportunity for coffee drinkers to experience their purest flavours. Their aroma, acidity and flavours are often more pronounced compared to the balanced and mellowed blends.


coffee fruit


Blended coffee 

Blended coffee, on the other hand, is a mixture of beans from different countries or regions. The beans are blended together to create a consistent flavour profile, which is why blended coffees are often used in commercial settings such as restaurants and coffee shops. 

Roasters purchase coffee with different origins and then blend and roast them together in order to produce a more consistent taste and flavour profile. This also reduces and controls the cost of production, that’s why blended coffee is usually less expensive than single origin coffee. When various beans are mixed together, they produce a mouth-watering aroma and an amazing taste that makes you crave more. 

coffee varieties

Which is right for you? 

When it comes to which one is better, it ultimately depends on personal preference. To help you decide which one is perfect for you, we made a list of our points: 

  • If you want a coffee that has a more consistent flavour that you can enjoy for several batches, choose a specialty coffee blend.
  • If you’re interested in experiencing the unique characteristics of various coffee origins, then single origin coffees may hit the spot.
  • If you’re new to specialty coffee and want something more affordable and accessible to build your palate with, then go with blends.
  • If you’re more experienced and want to explore very specific flavours like those with notes of chocolate, fruit, or nuts, then single origins from different coffee-growing regions will satisfy your palate. 

Sweet aromas are often found in Kenyan Single Origins, while Ethiopian coffee-growing regions produce floral and fruity notes. On the other hand, single origin coffee beans from South American regions, such as Brazil or Colombia, carry a more nutty, chocolatey flavour.  

Single origin coffee and blended coffee offer different flavour profiles, brewing methods, and price points. 

While single origin coffee is considered to be of higher quality, blended coffee can be cheaper, more widely available, and consistent in taste. However, it's important to remember that the idea that blended coffee is always cheaper might not be true in every case. 

Sometimes, certain specialty blends or unique combinations can actually cost more because of their special characteristics. So, it really depends on what you're looking for in your coffee experience!

The Laughing Pug’s Single Origin and Blends 

Whether you prefer single origin or blended coffee, The Laughing Pug has got you covered! 

Sourced from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and South America, our specialty-grade coffee is made from the finest beans carefully chosen by coffee farmers to deliver a rich, smooth, and full-bodied taste that will awaken your senses and kickstart your day. 

But here's the best part— we won't charge you an arm and a leg for our specialty coffee. Nope, not us! 

We understand how disappointing it can be to encounter brands that charge exorbitant prices, and we sympathise with your frustration. Our goal is to offer products at fair and reasonable prices to ensure that our valued customers receive excellent value without feeling taken advantage of.

Treat yourself to our single origin PNG Gold or Doggfather Blend today and experience the true definition of a delicious cup of coffee without the hefty price tag. 

Key Differences Between Arabica And Robusta Beans

There are four major types of coffee beans around the world: arabica, robusta, liberica, and excelsa. Among them, arabica and robusta are the most common and popular, both having distinct characteristics in terms of taste, aroma, and caffeine content. 

In this section, we will focus on the key differences between arabica and robusta beans, how they affect the taste of your morning coffee, and what makes one pricier than the other. 


Arabica beans are best known for their sweeter, softer flavour, with notes of sugar, fruit, and berries. This makes them a popular choice among coffee drinkers and a staple in most high-end coffee blends. But what makes arabica a high-quality variety? 

The arabica plant is more delicate and it requires specific conditions to thrive such as high altitude, mild temperatures, and a lot of rainfall. 

Arabica beans are typically grown in the mountainous regions of countries such as Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, and Brazil. These conditions allow the beans to mature slowly and develop a complex flavour profile. 

In addition, arabica beans are often grown by small farmers who take great care in the cultivation and processing of their beans. Because of their specific growing conditions and meticulous harvesting process, arabica beans are often considered a premium product and command a higher price point. 

Another characteristic of arabica beans is the lower caffeine content compared to robusta beans. 

Studies by Polish researchers have shown that arabica green beans contain 0.9 to 1.5% dry weight of caffeine on average while on the other hand, robusta green beans have between 1.2 and 2.4%. This makes arabica beans a better choice for those who are sensitive to caffeine or prefer milder coffee.

Arabica coffee beans


Robusta beans are known for their stronger, more bitter flavour, with a nutty or earthy taste. They are often used in instant coffee, and in some espresso blends to add a stronger flavour and crema. 

One of the main characteristics of robusta beans is their high caffeine content, which can be as much as twice that of arabica beans. This is due to the fact that robusta beans have a higher concentration of caffeine in their beans, which gives them their strong, bitter flavour.

Another important characteristic of robusta beans is their hardiness and resistance to disease. Robusta beans are known to be able to withstand harsh growing conditions and are less likely to be affected by coffee rust, a common fungal disease that can devastate crops, unlike arabica beans.

Robusta beans are also known for their high yield. They have a higher yield per acre than arabica beans, making them a more profitable crop for farmers to grow. This is one of the main reasons why robusta beans are more widely grown in countries like Vietnam, the world's largest producer of robusta beans.

Because robusta beans require less care than arabica beans and have a higher yield, the cost of production is lower, which allows for a lower price point in the market. This is also the reason why they are often used in instant coffee and other commercial blends. 

Coffee beans

The differences in the taste, growing conditions, and production costs of arabica and robusta beans are the primary reasons for their differing price points. 

While robusta beans are generally cheaper, they lack the nuanced flavours and complexities of arabica beans. On the other hand, arabica beans require more precise growing conditions and are more susceptible to pests and diseases, leading to higher production costs. 

Experience the Finest Single Origins and Specialty Coffee Blends

Here at The Laughing Pug, we source only the finest specialty-grade arabica beans from Papua New Guinea, Brazil and South America, delivering a rich and velvety flavour that's sure to satisfy even the most discerning coffee connoisseurs. 

Not only that, but we also add robusta beans from Indonesia to give your cup an extra punch of intensity

With our unbeatable prices, you don’t have to settle for bitter and overpriced coffee. Once you've experienced the superior taste of our coffee, you'll never go back to the mediocre stuff again. Don't settle for anything less than the best— indulge in The Laughing Pug's specialty coffee today!

How you can drink world-class specialty coffee on a budget 

After exploring the fascinating world of coffee grading, sourcing, and the differences between arabica and robusta beans, it's time to unlock the secret to enjoying a cup of joe that will blow your mind without overspending. 

Get ready to treat your taste buds to an unforgettable experience with The Laughing Pug's pour-over drip bags and whole beans. Providing a truly indulgent coffee experience at a fraction of the cost, these two options are a coffee lover's dream come true. Read along to uncover the exciting details!

Pour-over drip bags

Have you ever found yourself grabbing a cup from your local coffee shop because you're short on time or worse— reaching for instant coffee because it's more convenient? 

While these options may be quick and easy, they're not giving you the full coffee experience that you deserve. We have a special solution for you: pour-over coffee drip bags

In under 3 minutes, you can get high-quality ground organic arabica beans without investing in fancy equipment or learning complicated brewing techniques, just add hot water. 

Pour-over drip bags are the ultimate game changer in the coffee industry and here's why:

  • Taste: With instant coffee, you're sacrificing flavour for convenience. The taste is often too acidic and lacks the complexity that freshly brewed coffee has. With pour-over coffee drip bags, you're getting the full, rich taste that coffee is meant to have.

  • Convenience: Our drip bags are designed to be compact, portable, and easy to prepare. No need to set up any brewing equipment and you don’t have to worry about clutter. 

All you need is hot water, your favourite mug or flask, and a drip bag, and you can get your much-needed caffeine fix. Because they’re small and lightweight, you can chuck them in your bag and have great-tasting coffee at work, on the beach, or while sitting by the campfire! 

  • Freshness: Supermarkets that sell whole beans, ground coffee, or pods may have coffee that has been sitting on the shelves for who knows how long. This means that the coffee is already losing its freshness and flavour by the time you're drinking it. 
Our pour-over drip bags are prepared with beans that are packaged right after roasting and grinding, so the coffee stays fresh and flavourful even after being delivered to your doorstep. 

  • Control: When you're buying coffee from a shop, you're at the mercy of the barista. You’re not sure what you are going to get. With drip bags, you have complete control over the brewing process. 

You can adjust the water temperature and brewing time to get the perfect cup of coffee, tailored to your preferences.


  • Variety: With instant coffee and coffee shops, you're often limited to a few basic options. With pour-over coffee drip bags, you can easily switch up the types of coffee you're drinking. 

Our Introduction Box is a good place to start if you want to switch it up between specialty-grade blended coffee and Papua New Guinea single origin beans. 

Pour-over coffee drip bags are the perfect choice for coffee lovers who want a delicious, high-quality cup of coffee without sacrificing convenience. Forget about instant coffee, say goodbye to your daily trips to the coffee shop, and save some bucks with our pour-over drip bags, which only cost around $2.00 per cup. 

What a steal! Upgrade your coffee game today and give pour-over coffee drip bags a try!

Pour over coffee bags

Whole Beans 

If you’re someone who prefers the full at-home barista coffee experience, our Whole Beans Selection is the perfect choice for you. Treat yourself to our specialty-grade blends or our smooth single origin beans from Papua New Guinea, which are guaranteed to give you the freshest cup with an amazing aroma that will put a smile on your face. 

Even though more and more people are returning to the office, the home coffee culture is here to stay. Coffee lovers are opting for at-home brewing equipment such as the Hario V60, Toddy cold brew coffee maker, and espresso machines to capture the authentic coffee shop experience at home and here’s why: 

Brewing your own coffee is cheaper and more convenient than going to your local coffee shop for your usual flat white. 

Imagine how much money you can save if you have your own coffee machine and a bag of coffee beans that can last for weeks. 

The New Daily reports a standard cup of coffee from a café now costs around $5-7 depending on where you get it. If you purchase a 250g bag of our PNG Gold and brew your own coffee at home, you’ll only spend around $1.13 per cup!

Buying whole beans helps retain the coffee’s flavour and aroma much longer than pre-ground coffee. 

Whole beans are sealed and protected from air, light, and moisture which can quickly degrade coffee's taste and potency. This means that you'll be getting a much fresher and more flavourful cup of coffee.

You have the flexibility to choose exactly what kind of beans you want to brew. 

Whether you prefer a single-origin bean or a special blend, you can choose the perfect beans for your taste. 

We have a variety of blends to choose from— the Doggfather Blend with bold and chocolate notes, the Burleigh Heads Blend that gives you a dark and rich crema, the Certified Organic that displays good acidity with caramel and nutty flavours. We’ve got you covered! 

Brewing your own coffee at home also gives you complete control over the strength and flavour of your cup. 

Perhaps the best part of the home coffee experience is being able to experiment and make your coffee the way you like it. You can experiment with different brewing methods and grind levels. 

Do you like a brewer that is easy to use and you can bring to your travels? Try the French Press. Do you want a budget-friendly espresso maker? The Moka Pot is for you. Trying the immersion method for the first time? Use coarse grinds. Are you a drip coffee lover? Medium grinds are the way to go. 

Experimenting with the brewing process allows you to fine-tune your coffee to your exact preference. With practice, you can become more confident with your coffee-making skills and broaden your coffee palate. 

If these reasons sound appealing, it’s time to experiment with whole beans and level up your at-home barista journey! 

Whole beans

It's time to raise a (coffee) cup and say goodbye to nasty and acidic instant coffee and overpriced, mediocre coffee beans! We've reached the end of our journey and we hope you've discovered the best specialty coffee you can afford. 

Savour the rich, satisfying taste of specialty coffee by brewing pour-over drip bags and making your own coffee at home with whole beans.

Pour-over drip bags let you enjoy high-quality ground arabica beans in under 3 minutes anytime, anywhere— just add hot water. With home brewing, you can enjoy the freshness and flavour of world-class coffee right in your own kitchen. 

So, it's time to ditch the instant and overpriced coffee and embrace the exquisite flavours of the Laughing Pug Coffee. Let's all raise our coffee mugs and cheers to a new era of delicious and affordable specialty coffee. Cheers!

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