Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Do you like it black and strong ?

Know your coffee.

Malaysians these days like to drink "Gourmet" coffee...at franchised cafes...talking away on their hand phones and tapping away at their laptops, while sipping their favorite java. Wah, how classy ! - just like in Paris or New York ;)

Not important facts about coffee

Coffee can trace its history as early as the 9th century, from the highlands of Ethiopia. From Ethiopia, coffee spread to the Middle East and to rest of Africa, then to Italy (and Europe).

Although there are about 10 types of coffee species in the world, Arabica and Robusta are the most common coffee beans traded.

Arabica, however, represents about 75% of the world's coffee trade.

Arabica is a species of coffee indigenous to Ethiopia; it is hand picked by the natives.

Robusta is grown mainly in Africa, Brazil and Vietnam.

Arabica beans are considered superior to Robusta. Robustas are usually limited to lower grade coffee blends as a filler - usually used for instant coffee.

Important facts about coffee

Different coffee companies blend and "brand" its coffee differently, just to confuse people. It's more or less the same shit, with different names.

Anyway, coffee beans are relatively cheap as it is produced in 3rd world countries. Why then, you may ask, is coffee so expensive when you buy it in the shops ?

Why is regular petrol (RON 92 - RM1.88 sen per litre) still very much cheaper than a mug of the cheapest coffee ("coffee of the day") at Starbucks ?

A regular / medium mug (about 300 ml) of the cheapest coffee (coffee of the day) at Starbucks cost about RM8.

300 ml of petrol cost only about RM0.56 sen.

I can see you coffee drinkers are all sad already...

Now you know who is the super Star and who has the big Bucks. ;) - sorry, it ain't you.

Pointed out earlier, the coffee beans itself are cheap.

What special expertise does it take to make a cup of coffee ? A Rm4.50 per hour waiter (opps...Barista) ? Absolutely not.

No high technology or expertise required, at all, to make a cup of coffee. And yet, its.....RM ? per mug.

At least for petrol, there are high costs for exploration, extraction, research, scientists, chemists, engineers etc etc just to produce the final product. But it is still very much cheaper than....hehehe....coffee.

Ok, I wont make you people depressed anymore...

On the bright side, this is what all the exotic stuff you've been drinking mean:
view Coffee For Dummies

To cheer you up further, I've also included a fun quiz Do You Know Your Coffee ?

You won't win any prizes if you get all the answers correct, but its a great time waster and it is free ! :)

Comments please - "Gourmet" coffee and tea drinkers are especially invited to comment after you "cool down".


GL Tan on September 19, 2007 at 1:47 AM said...

Starbucks is ridiculously expensive in Malaysia considering the average wage rate.

But I find Malaysians generally simple folks who don't mind paying extra just to look "classy", even if they don't really know what they are actually consuming.

Living an "international" lifestyle, but earning Malaysian wages. Very sad, really.

Angie Tan on September 19, 2007 at 1:51 AM said...

geez.. i can't recall when i last took a starbucks coffee...

anyway, coffee beans are expensive as the labour cost is really high, that is, if the company is willing to pay the labourers their fair share.

starbucks has mentioned that they support the fair trade for coffee, i.e. they claim to pay the coffee for what its worth to the small coffee growers in South America or etc... i'll have to confirm this. :-P

so, that's why we pay so high for the coffee there.

Kavi on September 19, 2007 at 2:41 AM said...

gimme a cuppa in those chinese stalls with those ceramic cups... i'll choose that over Starbucks anytime!

Gallivanter on September 19, 2007 at 3:38 AM said...

Starbucks and Coffee Bean, both overrated fad. RM10+ for coffee - where's the logic?

t.raju said...

Malaysian gourmet coffee drinkers are a pretentious lot. RM8 for a mug (coffee of the day) is a rip off.

You're right, petrol is still very much cheaper.

Anonymous said...

I thought you have to specifically ask for fair trade coffee and have to pay more for it.

keeyit on September 19, 2007 at 5:55 PM said...

I love the smile of the coffee. BUT I cant take it too much. I cannot sleep on that night if I take coffee on that day =( too bad..

Anonymous said...

nice post
keep up the good work
cool blog

The Malaysian Life on September 20, 2007 at 3:53 AM said...

GL Tan - Yes, thats right. Malaysians are the perfect consumers.

Angie - Apparently, fair trade coffee is purchased by big coffee companies "selectively" and, even so, it is still very cheap.

Kavi - That goes for me too. Unless you prefer a cosy ambiance, then, the kopi tiam can't give you that. But a lot of Malaysian cafes do have nice ambiance these days.

Gallivanter - Advertising can go a long way in Malaysia.

t.raju - You did the calculation too, eh ? :)

Anonymous - Yes, thats what I heard as well. Now they rarely offer "fair trade coffee".

keeyit - The black and strong ones will keep you awake all night, Im sure ;)(no pun intended). Try Ipoh white with extra milk. :)

Anonymous - Thank you.

Snapshots on September 23, 2007 at 2:01 AM said...

In defence of the Coffee Cafe industry, i have to say that it is the costs,
2) lABOUR COST for the time standing there waiting for some one to walk in
4) Renovation Cost.
5) Equiptment Cost _ a good coffee machine cost around RM25K to RM60K (you can buy a malaysian car with one of this) of course there are cheeper ones but they dont last.

Cost of having a labour intensive business (F&B business is very labour intensive)and keeping the staff (high staff turn over due to work load, work preasure, no recornition from the locals), is what that make coffee at this place expensive / high. Of cost Profit Factor Come in as well.

Yes the coffee is expensive, we can always choose not to go in to consume. I do not go in to this places if i can help it, a simple warong or coffee shop will do.

Yes i work in the F&B industry, i can understand some of the things but the fact is simple, vote by spending your money wisely.

The Malaysian Life on September 24, 2007 at 1:03 AM said...

Snapshots - Thanks for your comment. :) I just want to make my points of view clearer.

Point 1.
There are costs in producing a cup of gourmet coffee (from the coffee grower to the "barista").
There are also costs in producing petrol (from oil exploration, extraction, refining etc etc to the petrol station).

Point 2
It is extremely expensive to produce petrol compared to coffee (the technology and expertise required for the petroleum industry is more sophisticated compared to the coffee industry). For instance, how much does it cost to own a Shell petrol station compared to a Starbucks cafe ? ;)

Point 3
300ml of petrol is about the same quantity as a cup of coffee.

Point 4
Why is a cup of "gourmet" coffee , still more expensive than the same quantity in petrol ? i.e. 300ml of "gourmet" coffee is about RM10, but 300ml of petrol is only about RM0.50 cents.

Anonymous said...

yah, the comparison between the price of petrol and starbucks is very true. Thats the same as a small bottle of "mineral water" 600ml from 7-11 is RM1.20, that means its RM0.60 cents for 300ml. Thats almost the same as the price of petrol.

The Malaysian Life on September 28, 2007 at 3:46 AM said...

Anonymous - Thats the point I was making. Relative comparisons of common goods and their prices.

Snapshots on October 2, 2007 at 1:45 AM said...

1) as long as there are people out there paying the rate that are being charge, there will continue to be coffee at high price!

2) It Just simple economics, Do not patronise high price coffee cafes. They will either close shops or lower their price to survive.

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