Coffee prices

Given that hot and cold coffee drinks bought in cafes etc are so expensive now (makes petrol look really cheap) dont you believe that retailers should by law have to display volume information so that we can decide which size offers best value for money. For instance some mugs have only a little extra compared to cups


Hi @Darell, welcome to the Choice Community.

Whle not a coffee drinker (tea is my preferred drop and don’t buy at cafes as it is ridiculously expensive), this is a good idea. A bit like unit pricing, but unit volumes. It could apply to a range of foods and drinks offered at takeaway/eat in outlets.

Even if the volumes are not posted, cafe staff should be able/made to provide the information if requested. I expect that many would not know the volumes of the containers used to serve coffee or other products which may come in varying sizes.


There has been some testing of what is supplied but I am unsure if the size of servings is actually part of the law. sets down how things are measured but drinks that are purchased like Coffee at a Coffee Shop or Cafe don’t seem to be included.


Most cafes have their cups and mugs on display. I am not sure the volume would be as informative as expected because of the variations in interest. How much is coffee? How much is milk? How much is an added flavouring?

Showing the serving size would be interesting but would it really be informative? A cup might be 50% milk but a mug could be 75%, both having the same double shot of coffee, or maybe the mug would have a triple or quad shot?

It would almost need to be an interrogation to understand what you get. If it is good by my taste system and not over the norm for local prices I am happy.


I think coffee is very overpriced and a complete rip off thats why we need unit pricing. Sure if one provider sells crap coffee with not enough shots or too milky thats i different matter and you dont go there unit pricing wont fix that but if your favourite cafe has 3 sizes dont you want to know which size has the lowest cost per ML. Dont you want value for money


I would if I knew if their large was just more milk, or also more coffee as well as more milk. It is not just about ml, it is about what constitutes those ml. You might love the normal cup but gag on the comparatively vapid mug for example. In that case the price/ml would be irrelevant.

After you patronised the cafe and found you liked both sizes equally, I can understand it might then be informative.


Value for money?

Our local bakery does a good coffee. They are quick to
hand out more cheek than less well known customers might be accustomed to. Great coffees are far less common, than good humour.

They do a regular single shot, large single or extra for a double shot, and grande with a double. The grande costs the same as the large with a double shot, hence better value in a volumetric sense.

I suspect the real cost has a lot to do with the fixed time overheads of the business, (staff of one) and time taken to prepare each option. The milk is cheap. The cost of coffee per shot is a small cost too.

While the grande may be the best value, it is possibly also the most profitable relative to the efforts and time required of the one staff.

We are paying for much more than the contents with each purchase!:wink:


Another option may be to have the volume labelled on the side/bottom of the cup/container…a bit like what was done with beer glasses in the past. While a cafe may add different amounts of ingredients to make a coffee, at least one know the volume of the vessel it comes in.


Is there any point?

Beer is not coffee.

Coffee is not a glass of warm milk.

There is far more to a good coffee due to the expertise of the barista, their equipment and the roasted beans.
Recycled feral animal aged beans excluded.

Judging the value of coffee, simply on the difference in millilitres of added or less milk, or water or … defies good coffee sense.

I’d rather an assurance or choice for the caffeine content and the served temperature than a plimsol line on the cup.

Coffee is definitely not beer!


Straying from value for money per the OP, so admittedly OT.

Here is a site promoting the wondrous profits spun from coffee including [not so many of] the costs and a [misleading claim depending on how one accepts it in context about the] net profit.

For all but the most basic one person operation with a window kiosk takeaway only, any but the most naive might notice there is no reference to rent, equipment, power, tables and cups for ‘eat in’, insurances, licenses and permits, and paying off any loans from startup. Add advertising, buy X get 1 free and other discretionary but repetitive costs.

This owner-consultant seems to have some decent advice.

If we take 500 coffees per day * $4 * 5 days per week * 52 weeks p.a. = $520,000 turnover; note that is about 1 coffee per minute prime time. $520K looks like an attractive turnover. Was my math OK? Admittedly most coffee shops also sell other things but for simplicity this is a ‘coffee’ shop.

At 10% net the owner-operator who might or might not be paying himself regular wages could get a princely $52K, at 20% $104K. Power and rent could make or break the equation regardless of the other components.

Factor in interruptions for illnesses, want a holiday and need to shutdown for it, and so on and I for one think it is more often a difficult business requiring an astute operator to be successful, and $4 a cup in our economic world is not outrageous when viewed at a level of business sustainability.


More likely a 6 or 7 day a week operation, but regardless the costs would be high. Though a 6 or 7 day operation may allow the inclusion of staff. Would it just be coffee or would other bits and pieces be sold eg cake, muffins. Each would have a cost plus there would be spoilage but still an astute operator would build that into the prices they charge. Having one on every corner however dilutes the market, I sometimes wonder how so many can afford to be so close to one another…perhaps the quality, taste, and the difference makes it so each serves their particular taste and service market.


I tried to keep it simple, no penalty rates or anything to consider :slight_smile:

There are 3 cafes at the end of my most common bike ride. All are equally good but the one that gets my business on the nice days is the one with the most pleasant outside tables, but on cooler days it is another where the staff are more smiley and friendlier. The third, been once and was turned off by a CBD mentality even though they are in a small town on the far edge of the metro area.


Do you prefer the Store bought product over your own? I mean it could be purely taste but it could also be the service, the staff, “atmosphere”, I mean even at a Restaurant for me some of those things add to the enjoyment of the meal more so than even my good ones at home. Sometimes at home even for brilliant ones the end is just food for nourishment and it ends up mechanical and not memorable if you understand my meaning.


No, except for place utility. I have a Sunbeam EM7000, Eureka grinder, and buy Lavazza beans. I don’t appreciate the difference between Lavazza and the ‘serious beans’ because I go with flat whites and when you add milk, you add milk; those who savour espresso could rightly disagree with my choice.

Not so much any more, but yes once upon a time.

Yes but only rarely more so, depending on company at the table more than the staff these days. Using the US wait server as the model for this comment (anyone who has been will understand), I want a coffee not a new BFF.

Never! But I fail miserably trying latte art. Otherwise my consistency has become excellent and my flat whites are, for my taste, as good as 95% of the cafes.


My strategy with the local coffee shop come bakery outlet. They are owned by the bakery.

When buying fresh bread, or rolls, or a once a week treat, a coffee is always a must. I’d rather they stay in business than not. The alternative 1km in the other direction only picked it’s game up when there was an alternative just down the road.

The coffee is good. The local gossip is well informed and relatable.

Like @PhilT my coffee skills at home are average. They taste similar although it is easy to choose a more chocolate bitter or sweeter mellow bean. Two choices beyond which all else seems to taste the same. It is always a treat to have one of the sons who has made coffees for a living to visit.

1 Like

There’s lots that can go wrong inside in a coffee cup, but a watery, too-hot brew is the real killer for me.

Perhaps makers of “keep cups” could add a scale to the inside of the cup. Regular drinkers would get a feel for what’s the right volume of liquid per shot. If the cafe is otherwise OK you could them and yourself a favour by letting them know that you prefer more or less water than they normally dish up.

I drink long blacks and if anything I’d rather have less volume than more.


So, how much for a cup of coffee? I guess I don’t mind so much paying the price (within reason) if I could be assured about what I will get. There are so many variables involved – quality of the coffee beans used, the milk used (varies from the cheapest supermarket milk to that which retains some proximity to a cow), and dare I suggest, the skill of the barista. As for the cup/mug size, they’re usually on display, so I have a reasonable idea of volume.

When I enter a café that’s new to me, I like to get an idea of what the coffee looks like. It’s not a finite science but it’s somewhere to start. Next, I like to see the coffee being produced and that’s not always possible. Finally, I ask, “Do you double-shot your mugs of coffee?” If I get an answer like, “We can do!” it is likely I’ll defer to tea.

In Adelaide’s CBD I can go to several places and get a great mug of coffee for $4.50 (I could pay more, but $4.50 is enough at the moment). I can go to a suburb near me, pay the same price for a mug and the coffee is atrocious. The bottom line here is that many cafes don’t bother to seriously train their coffee makers (they’re certainly not baristas), but sadly there is no compensation in the price for a poorly made coffee.


Welcome to the site and Thank You for your post. I hope you continue to find the site a useful place both to add and get information, advice and help.


Same here except even more so. I don’t have a grinder so I buy the Lavazza pre-ground coffee, in 1Kg bags. I also don’t have an espresso machine anymore because I don’t like coffee which is mostly milk. I prefer the late 60s/early 70s notion of the flat white which is a long black with white stuff added. I no longer use milk (too much sugar, dont like the taste) and prefer dairy farmers pure cream instead. My machine is just a Breville drip filter coffee maker and I love it. If I only want one cup of coffee, I have a gadget that sits on top of the cup/mug and does the same drip thing.