In recent years the coffee industry has been booming, with a growing trend for speciality coffee shops selling gourmet drinks, particularly in high income areas like Central London. These premium drinks come with a premium price tag, and the difference between the price of coffee at the cheaper end of the scale and the top is increasing all the time. Even in chain stores like Starbucks you can expect to pay around £2.75 for a large cappuccino, or up to £6.00 for a coffee at 45 Park Lane. But why are these customers willing to pay so much more for their morning brew?
Why does speciality coffee cost more?
Firstly, lets look at what makes the coffee cost more in the first place, both in terms of the beans themselves and the preparation.
- Cherry ripeness – Workers at most coffee farms simply pick all of the coffee cherries at the time of harvest, however the more specialist suppliers select only the ripe, red cherries. This of course slows down the process and makes the product more expensive to buy.
- Quality control – Higher quality coffee beans are generally inspected by eye, with any defective beans removed and put back in with the cheaper beans. That could literally mean that when you drink cheap coffee, it’s made with the beans that weren’t good enough for the specialist stores.
- Testing – While cheap coffee farms work more like factories, constantly trying to produce and ship the maximum amount of coffee, every batch of high quality beans must be tested by expert coffee sommeliers prior to shipping to check for any flavour irregularities.
- Training – Specialist coffee shops need to ensure that all their staff are producing consistently excellent drinks, or they risk losing their base of die-hard coffee fans. Our previous post goes into some more detail about what this can entail.
Why do customers pay more?
Now that we know what causes good coffee to be more expensive, what else is there that actually makes people more willing to part with more of their hard-earned cash?
- Experience – Coffee shops aren’t just about the drinks, the atmosphere goes a long way towards building a loyal customer base. Creating a unique space for customers to sit down and relax isn’t cheap! Coffee culture plays a big part here, consumers are willing to pay a more for surroundings which better suit the little get away they are after.
- Taste – Coffee fans will often travel a fair distance to get hold of the best tasting drink possible. Coffee is like fine wines in the sense that experienced drinkers are able to notice subtle differences in the tasting notes. In fact, there are whole categories of barista competitions devoted to being able to tell the variety and origin of coffee based just on it’s taste.
- Wi-fi – Having free wi-fi available to customers encourages them to sit down instead of taking their coffee away, and gives them a comfortable space to work or catch up on emails. They are also much more likely to order a second (or third!) drink.
Why isn’t all coffee this expensive then?
On the other side of the coin though, not everyone is willing to spend an extra pound or so to get the best cup of coffee available. Coffee is such a popular drink that it isn’t just the die-hard fans that drink it every day, and so there will always be a big market for coffee that’s “good enough”, but at the right price. In fact that’s why big coffee chains tend to be somewhere in the middle price-wise, as they are doing their best to appeal to as wide an audience as possible to maximise their profits.
How to get the best of both worlds
What if you want to produce amazing coffee using the very best beans available, but need to keep your costs down to keep your profits high? Rather than cutting the cost of the beans or scrimping on the furniture, you could minimise training costs and increase productivity using an advanced automatic coffee machine from WMF.
Coffee shops and restaurants can still produce hand made coffees using the WMF espresso which perfectly controls the grinding, tamping and brewing every single time. Or if you’re looking to save time and money in your office, the WMF bean-to-cup range will ensure your staff can have gourmet coffee on site, without the need for a barista.
Download a brochure to see the whole range.