The Quiet Musings

The Strange Economy of Coffee and Milk

February 10th, 2020 //

One of my weekly past times is to sit down for at least 30 minutes at a coffee bar to enjoy a decaf cappuccino with oat milk. I’ll read a book or an article on my phone. Maybe chat if I meet somebody there. Being the Excel fan that I am, I budget these coffee outings in my monthly budget.

Flat White Coffee

Coffee prices currently are around 3.50 to 3.80 euros for a cup. Cappuccino, flat white, cortado, decaf, regular milk, soy milk or oat milk. You get the gist.

Sometimes I have to deviate from one of my regular coffee spots because, gasp, they are out of decaf coffee. This happened to me recently and it was too late to walk all the way to my other coffee spot. I decided to try another place close by because I saw they started serving decaf.

All these places have the same concept: they serve speciality coffee, good tea, good food. Yet, some of these places charge more when you order plant-based milk or decaf.

Instead of paying 3.50 for my decaf cappuccino, I was charged an extra 0.50 for it being decaf and an extra 0.50 for the oat milk.

4.50 euro for a cup of coffee.

But why?

To tell you the truth this is reason enough for me to not go back again. For some places I make an exception once in a while because they have food on the menu I really like and/or they are in a part of the town I need to be. But mostly I seldom step foot again there. I mean why go to a place where I have to pay more when there are equally good places that handle one fee for coffee.

The worst-case scenario is, a place that serves speciality coffee, but their decaf is a cheaper brand that tastes bad. And they’ll charge you more for the cheap bad-tasting decaf brand than for their speciality coffee. That’s just an underhanded way to insult you for drinking decaf.

Get on with the times

Considering the climate crisis, it’s an offence to charge more for plant-based milk. Especially since more and more people are drinking plant-based milk. Every time I’m sitting in a coffee bar I see how many packs of oat milk they go through a day. They certainly aren’t sitting there going past their expiration date.

Speciality decaf has become so refined good, you can’t taste its decaf. It’s nothing like decaf used to be; chemical and bad tasting. For people like me who like coffee but for health reasons can’t drink caffeine, speciality decaf is the best thing since sliced bread.

I got feedback that cow milk is part of the European Union agriculture subsidy. Which makes for a cheaper price than plant-based milk. Speciality decaf is no more expensive than a regular speciality coffee. Prices are mostly based on the kind of beans or origin. A coffee bar that serves several roasts will still have one price per cup even tho each roast is a different price per bag. Which is why I find it particular some charge extra for decaf.
Turns out we are all confused about prices