I love my coffee, be it from Starbucks, Illy's, Ipoh white coffee, Vietnam's drip style... they are all good. According to Mercer's 2010 cost of living survey, a cup of coffee is about $8 in Moscow, $7 in Tokyo or Paris and $4 in New York. Cash-strapped caffeine lovers should head to Buenos Aires or Johannesburg for a cheaper cup, where it is about $2.20. Here in Malaysia, its about $2.00 on average (we are using USD for all prices here). In Australia its about $3.00.
You can say that coffee at these western establishments are really a ripoff. That's why your grandma knows better. Ever try bringing your grandma for a cuppa at Starbucks, she would vomit blood at the prices. Can't blame her cause her cuppa is only $0.50 ... how in hell do we end up paying 6x. Even white coffee cost only $0.60-0.70 and thats pretty good latte already.
But, its not easy to operate a coffee place really. The diagram beloiw depicts where the money goes to for every $3.00 cup of coffee in Australia.
Yes, the reality is, for places like Starbucks and Coffee Bean, their cost of coffee beans is very low as they buy in bulk and can dictate prices somewhat. Their average cost is RM1.00 per shot. What we end up paying for is the logistics, labour, setup, couches, etc... which is also why you would NEVER find these places serving you good premium milk as the bloody milk cost as much as the beans. I like mine black, long black or americano, if I have to put milk, then please make it Farm House milk.
Beans comprise less than a fifth of the price of a cup of coffee, but the cost of labour and milk are putting added pressure on margins. Even when they make $0.45 per cup, you still have to depreciate a lot of other costs such as rent, fittings, shop design etc... so thats why they need to open stores in the thousands to make it a genuine business model.
Which is why, it makes so much sense to buy a Nespresso machine, they cost between RM1,200-RM2,000 depending on the model but the machine is long lasting and every shot is perfect. On average each shot cost RM2.00 and you can froth your own premium milk as well. Each cup saves you RM3.00 at least. If you are like me, drinking at least 2-3 cups a day, thats a savings of RM10 a day or RM300 a month. You pay for the machine within 5 months, and I have mine for more than 2 years already (actually 4 years old). My Nespresso was actually second hand, I bought from my friend when he wanted to upgrade to a nicer version, so I got mine for RM700.
Plus you get to choose from so many variety beans by Nespresso and you don't have to worry about grinding, keeping ground beans fresh, etc... Thats why most 5 star hotels now use Nespresso machines, they make so much more money and its a lot less hassle.
p/s not paid by Nespresso to do this posting... btw, an interesting fact, the "brain chip board" inside most Nespresso machines are made by Uchi Tech...