Coffee lovers told to haggle
A leading New Zealand financial expert says coffee drinkers should haggle for a cheaper flat white after a fall in milk and bean prices.
Bernard Hickey told Radio Live's Marcus Lush that people should tell their barista that they should be paying only $3 for a coffee.
He told Lush coffee bean prices had plummeted 50 per cent while milk prices had fallen 30 per cent.
A record coffee crop in Brazil, the world's biggest grower, has caused bean prices to fall as international demand drops.
International roasters are holding off on buying premium beans and coffee drinkers in some markets, such as North America and China, opt to drink less.
"When you go to your cafe now, renegotiate your coffee price like your mortgage price; get your price down to $3," Mr Hickey said.
And don't take no for an answer, he said.
"They (the cafes) are always saying `Oh, I had to put the price up because the price of beans went up and the price of milk went up'."
So how should the conversation at the cafe go?
"[You should say to them] `I think it's time for a price cut'," Mr Hickey said.
But do not expect a "yes" from Waikato cafes any time soon.
"The prices of our coffee beans haven't changed, so we won't be changing our coffee prices any time soon," said co-owner of River Street Kitchen in Hamilton East, Lisa Quarrie.
The cafe, awarded NZ Cafe of the Year in 2010, charges $4 for a regular flat white and it has not upped its price in the past 18 months.
"Plus there are lots of other things to consider, like the power, rent and wages," she said.
"It's not just the coffee and milk itself that determines the price."
Coffee has long been seen as recession-proof, and the overseas trend would not jolt drinkers into a different routine, Mrs Quarrie said.
"I think a morning coffee is part of most people's routine," she said.
"It is a very enjoyable thing for people to come to a cafe and order a coffee.
"I think in times of economic downturn people cut out other things, but never coffee."
Owner of Hazel Hayes cafe, Brad Bakker, said a drop in coffee prices was not feasible.
"We pay about $35 for a kilo of coffee beans.
"But there are a lot of other things built into that price," he said.
"Just because the price overseas has dropped doesn't mean we can drop the price."
Waikato Times' readers had their own opinions on coffee prices.
Bella Perone, who is often spotted in Hamilton cafes said "there should at least be a price difference between a black coffee and a white coffee".
Coffee lover Megan Macfie said the price went beyond the cost of the beverage.
"I pay for the entire experience – the cafe, the people, the cleanliness," she said.
"I think between $3.50 and $4.50 is cheap for a half hour or so of chill time."
Or another solution is to get your coffee from Hamilton's Milk and Honey Cafe, where you pay by koha.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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