Nothing breaks my heart more than paying a low price for a well-brewed cup of specialty coffee. When prices are too cheap the whole industry suffers and becomes unsustainable. Here are ten reasons to hopefully convince you that you should be happy about and even ask to pay more for your cup of coffee:

One: Quality comes at a price

Specialty coffee is some of the highest quality coffee in the world and therefore, those selling specialty coffee need to charge appropriate prices. Also, green coffee bean prices are currently at the highest level in many years. So your cafe is probably already paying more for their beans than they ever have. 

Two: Higher prices allow for more sustainable practices

Sustainable practices and products do at times come at higher prices. Sustainable initiatives reusable cups, sustainable coffee, better milk, compostable or recyclable take away cups and lids, initiatives such as 1 % for the Planet all come at a cost. Therefore, by incorporating a higher price into the cup of coffee, operators can ensure that they also incorporate more sustainable solutions and products into their establishments. 

Three: Well paid coffee equals well paid staff

To attract, retain and develop talent within the industry and make it a viable career path for hospitality workers, prices must increase. As inflation takes hold and cities become more and more expensive, we must ensure that hospitality is a viable career path for the many hard working people that make our days just a little bit better. That cannot happen without specialty coffee prices at least keeping up or ahead of inflation.

cappuccino with latte art

Barista pouring latte art

Four: Do it for the farmers

Specialty coffee farmers are typically smaller farms that do a lot of hard work to produce a high quality product. The whole industry exists due to their hard efforts and toil. For them to be successful for generations to come, a fair price must be paid. This cannot happen if the margins at a cafe level are not sufficient to support fairly priced coffee beans and the whole supply chain.  

Five: Operators are people too

Operators, small and large, must be able to get a sustainable return on their investment and hard work. They must be rewarded for the risks that they take and the capital that they invest. Otherwise, they will have to shut up shop.  

Six: Input prices go up

Most commercial rents can increase by up to 4% each year. Yes, that’s crazy; however, it’s what happens. Wages, electricity, technology, and all other inputs also go up. Therefore, coffee cup prices must too. 

Seven: Sometimes less is more

Some operators mistakenly believe that being busier means being more profitable. Rather sometimes, having less customers at a higher per cup price is much better. Being busier with very low margins is a recipe for going broke faster.

Eight: All those apps come at a cost

We love technology and what it enables. We believe that the future is an omni-channel experience to enable the customer to interact with venues with their method of choice on a given day or time. Yet, all those apps from order ahead to delivery, come at a cost to the operator. Those costs must be covered through the price charged for the coffee cup.

Nine: Peak pricing for cafes

In an ideal world operators would be able to charge peak or surge pricing for their busiest periods: typically the morning and around lunch and for some establishments the evening depending on their offering and the demographic.  Unfortunately, while this is what happens in many other industries (rideshare, flights, accommodation) this is currently not acceptable in venues serving specialty coffee. Until this is more palatable to us as a society, the best solution is to have higher standard pricing for coffee and discount it in less busy periods and in effect creating a peak price. 

Ten: Do it for love

Us Aussies love our coffee. We love our unique coffee culture and want it to continue to grow and thrive. The best way is to ensure that it has sufficient margins and resources. 

I hope some of these reasons have convinced you not only to ask to pay a bit more for your cup of coffee but to love to pay a bit more to save the ritual and the beverage that is close to all our hearts.