Posts Tagged ‘Is coffee too expensive?’

Is coffee too expensive?

February 21, 2021

Excellent points made by James Hoffmann, but we should be talking about coffee shops not cafes.

Several years ago, Puerto de la Cruz, there was for as long as I can remember a bookshop, then I am sorry to report it closed, a sad loss.

A young couple, not locals, decided to open a bakery. Prime location, on a corner, behind the main church. But quality bread locals were not willing to pay the price. It changed to a coffee shop, with excellent cakes, and continued to sell bread.

They decided not to cut corners on the coffee, not buy the cheapest rubbish coffee. He said everyone was looking at it from the wrong end. They were looking at how much they were paying for a bag of coffee, not looking at the difference it made to the actual cost of a cup of coffee.

Net result was busy, always busy, but not with locals, with German tourists.

And that was the point I was making. Tourists are used to drinking quality coffee. They will not drink the cheap crap that is being served.

Other bars and cafes would tell him, you need a widescreen TV. I told him no, lack of made you different, that was why you were busy and the others empty.

The next year I am sorry to say he installed a widescreen TV. And as I told him would happen, he lost all his clientele.

If we look at coffee shops, located on a side street, not the main street, rent and business rates will be a third but still too high.

I have this discussion with people all the time. Coffee is too expensive. I have the same conversation craft beer.

Quality costs money, time and care costs money.

I say no, you are paying for a quality product, and no you are not being ripped off. The coffee shop is paying for quality coffee beans, has invested in high quality equipment, is employing skilled staff.

Where you are being ripped off, is when you are being charged high prices in a corporate coffee chain, where you are being served undrinkable coffee, cheap coffee beans, brewed by staff who may wear a sweatshirt that says barista, but the one thing they are not is a barista.

Cauz Coffee, a branding exercise for a clothing company, launched Monday 22 January 2021 make ludicrous claims of high profit margins by others in the business, but provide no evidence to support their claim. They make equally bullshit claims the quality of their coffee. Why would anyone wish to buy branded coffee from a clothing company when spoilt for choice with reputable coffee roasteries? Why indeed?

No one I know is getting rich on coffee. But yes, enjoy what they are doing, take a pride in what they are doing, and are grateful they can earn a living doing what they enjoy.

Fixed costs need to be addressed. This is for society to address, not the coffee shop.

The lowest paid, wages are too low, so low subsidized by the state. It is not for the state to subsidise bad employers. Minimum wage should rise, to where it is affordable to live on.

Furlough needs to continue, to be replaced by a Basic Income. As the economy recovers, replace Basic Income with Universal Dividend. No one should be employed on zero hours contracts.

Rents have been driven up to obscene levels. In part, greedy, grasping landlords, but also corporate chains driving up rents, funded by debt. The chains then collapse, not longer able to service their debt, taking out our town centres.

The rent bears no resemblance to reality. Coronavirus has accelerated the trend to on-line shopping by at least five years. People will not return, not to buy the same consumer crap they can as easily buy on-line. We have to reinvent our town centres, drive out the car, rebuild from the bottom up, support independent businesses like coffee shops that recycle money within the local economy.

Business rates, a property tax, too high, but has advantage the one tax big business cannot dodge.

We need to levy a revenue tax of 5% on Big Tech and tax dodging corporations for example Starbucks.

We can all help. We can push for societal change, we can support our local coffee shops, take our friends for a coffee, especially those who do not like coffee or patronise coffee chains. They will be pleasantly surprised when they discover what real coffee actually tastes like.


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