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3:55pm on Thursday, 26th July, 2007:

Cost of Coffee


I went to the offices of The Guardian today to be interviewed for a podcast interview (which was nothing to do with The Guardian as it turned out). The interview was held in the Guardian coffee bar on the ground (where else?) floor.

The price of one café latté was 99p. It was pretty good, too — I wouldn't have complained if I'd been given it in Starbucks.

Contrast this with Essex University's coffee, which comes in a much smaller cup and costs £1.05 (ie. a guinea). That's not a latté, either, it's an add-your-own-milk-from-the-jug coffee, whatever that is in Italian. It's made using an espresso machine, so it's not as bad as the brown stuff that comes out of the vending machine when you press the button marked "coffee", but I'd feel overcharged at 70p, let along 105p. I've no idea what the latté tastes like because I haven't yet squandered any money on buying one.

How come a newspaper in the centre of London can sell good coffee at under a pound a reasonable-sized cup, yet a university out in the provinces sells a smaller, so-so coffee at 6p more? It's not as if a newspaper is likely to subsidise its coffee, especially at the rate journalists knock the stuff back.

Maybe it's the speculoos you get with your coffee at Essex that hikes up the price. Surely it couldn't be that the catering section wants to RIP PEOPLE OFF.

It's not as if coffee is my drink, I normally go for tea. There's something about a cup of boiled-some-time-ago water with a teabag in it that's unappealing, though...

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).