Why so high?

By Lasantha David

Now and then, here and there, you’ll often log on to Facebook and scroll down to find someone who went to a new coffee shop and then went on to post: “Just spent an arm and a leg for a Cafe Latte. I think I’d rather drink snake oil”. Posts like that are usually followed by photos of the coffee, filtered on Instagram. Yes, at times, at some places, a cuppa might seem exorbitantly priced but only till you have that first sip and the coffee’s magic softly smothers your doubt of its value. Of course, a disclaimer is required there: this all dependent on quality of establishment.

While the taste and effectiveness of the brew are important factors to go by when judging the value of a cup, there are other considerations to make. Let’s break down the elements of the equation; the tangible (or should I say, ‘taste-able’? No? Yeah, you’re probably right. That was bad) ones first. Starting with the cost of the beans which are imported from Italy or another similar high-quality, coffee-producing country, we need to factor in the costs of transforming these beans to brew.

So let’s add in the costs of boiling water – the upkeep, operation and ROI of the machine that does this. Then there’s the milk used, the sugar, any flavourings – which can be equally as expensive as the coffee – whipped cream, strawberries or chocolate, the packaging that goes in to creating sugar sachets, the little plastic spoons for stirring, the investment on the mug or cup, the electricity you will consume while there, including the power needed to play music, to create that warm and cosy ambience, and finally taxes – gotta pay taxes.


Finally, there’s also the cost of the branded napkins. Let that all sink in. It’s not just the liquid; it’s also the experience. With good coffee, it’s a need-want thing. You either go there because you need the brew or you just want to indulge in a great cuppa over a copy of 50 Shades of Grey Shantaram or the likes. But, if you’re still not feelin’ the love, or the value – well then salvation is beyond you.

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