This morning I paid $5.30 for a coffee.
Contrary to what you might be thinking, I did not have my coffee on the Champs-Élysées, while feeling oh so French, so chic. Nor did I have it while overlooking Moscow's Red Square and glowing with the realisation that plenty remain more equal than others. And it definitely wasn't served by a barista in a tuxedo in a boutique off Tokyo's Daikanyama.
In fact my coffee was drunk in a particularly dingy part of what is arguably the least trendy of Sydney's inner city suburbs - Glebe.
In the interest of journalistic integrity I'd like to state, for the record, and with full disclosure, that my coffee was neither small, nor taken in a take-away cup, or even served with normal milk. It was, however, not particularly large, and the milk was ordinary soy milk - not something obtained from a mountain yak during a year-long expedition to the far corners of Nepal. And while my coffee did taste quite good, it certainly didn't blow my mind.
As a matter of comparison, let me just point out that along with my coffee I ordered a breakfast dish of incredibly delicious baked eggs. They took nearly twenty minutes to prepare, comprised of several key ingredients from a number of different food groups, were served on an attractive tray with some sourdough toast, and sated my hunger for the next few hours. They also cost $8.
Now I'm no mathemagician, but it doesn't take a genius to work out that there's something wrong with this equation.
How has coffee turned into a commodity that we are willing to fork out such premium rates for? If this was petrol, there'd be an outcry. If it were electricity prices, people would be outraged. So what is it about the humble coffee bean that has made it ok for a mark-up that amounts to anywhere between 300 and 1000 per cent (depending on who you ask)?
Coffee is as much a part of our culture as meat pies and Southern Cross tattoos. Ok, that's probably not true. But it's certainly a popular beverage, and as integral to the average city worker as a Facebook update and a quick bout of Words With Friends. It’s one of life’s little luxuries, and without it, meetings, dates and catch-ups would just be that little bit more stressful. And we certainly wouldn’t want that.
But seriously, what's with the prices?
So what's the most you've ever paid for a coffee? And was it worth it? Let me know via the comments below.Cheers! @lenazak