An open-eyed man falling into the well
"I don’t believe in magic that works whether or not you believe in it!"
is it just me or does coffe seem like a bad deal. you get 3 cards from it only once every 5 trades, other wise it's basically no better than tobacco and more expensive.
Coffee is significantly better in the long run than Tobacco. Meaning early in the game you will see enough trades with it that it is worth it (in my experience) to build Coffee rather than Tobacco.
And while on average there isn't much difference, it makes a huge difference if you need 2 cards for a Tobacco and only get 1. (Happens to me all the time. ) Whereas with coffee you always get 2 with an occasional bonus.
After the first few trades, especially after you know where the 1 Tobacco trade stick is, then you are correct that the difference is minimal and it probably is no longer worth it to build Coffee.