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The price of coffee in London – 2015 edition
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 09:00 AM - 4 days, 2 hours ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
The price of coffee in London – 2015 edition
For the last two years (2013 & 2014 ) I’ve published a simple analysis on the prices of coffee in London, based on the data collected by Allegra for the London Coffee Guide . Kindly, they’ve once again sent me the breakdown so let’s dig in and see how things are changing across London year to year… Espresso pricing 2013 Vs 2014 Vs 2015 Year 2013 2014 2015 Lowest Price £1.30 £1.50 £1.50 Highest Price £2.60 £2.60 £3.00 Average Price £1.89 £1.99 £2.03 Mode Price £2.00 £2.00 £2.00 Surprisingly not much of a change. It is hard to find much data but it seems that the 2% rise in the average price is exactly on trend with inflation for consumer goods in the food/restaurant world in the UK. Espresso by region Here we’ll have a look at espresso drinks by region of London, comparing them to last year. Here you can see the change in prices from this year to last, and also the change in ranking for price for each of the 11 regions: Espresso Prices 2014 Vs 2015 Region Espresso (£) Variance (%) Rank (11) Variance East London £1.97 4.2% 10 0 Farringdon/Clerkenwell £2.16 4.3% 3 ⇡1 Holborn/Bloomsbury £2.14 2.4% 4 ⇣1 Inner East/Shoreditch £1.99 1.5% 7= 0 North London £1.99 2.6% 7= ⇡2 Soho £2.23 5.7% 1 ⇡1 South East £1.83 2.2% 11 0 South West £1.98 -2.0% 9 ⇣3 The City £2.05 4.6% 6 ⇡2 West End £2.17 0.0% 2 ⇣1 West London £2.09 3.0% 5 0 A few interesting bits here. Soho is now the most expensive place to drink espresso in London, taking the top spot from the West End. Price in Soho went through the largest increase in the city too – so I’d infer from this that Soho is probably the most difficult place to sell coffee in London. Rents are painfully high, competition is fierce and I think prices reflect the high costs of doing business there. Also worth noting is the South West of London, that went through a price decrease. This might be a quirk of the data – it is unlikely that anyone lowered their pricing, but we might be looking at a number of new cafes opening with lower pricing. I’m not sure that this is a good thing. The data next year should be pretty indicative. I’d wager the prices in the region go back, but we’ll have to wait and see. Flat White by Region Let’s have a look at the flat white pricing by region in London: Flat White Prices 2014 Vs 2015 Region Espresso (£) Variance (%) Rank (11) Variance East London £2.49 -0.8% 10 ⇣1 Farringdon/Clerkenwell £2.71 5.9% 3 ⇡3 Holborn/Bloomsbury £2.69 1.1% 4 ⇣1 Inner East/Shoreditch £2.61 -0.8% 6 ⇡2 North London £2.53 1.2% 8 ⇡2 Soho £2.73 3.8% 1= ⇡4 South East £2.46 5.6% 11 0 South West £2.50 -2.3% 9 ⇣2 The City £2.65 -4.0% 5 ⇣4 West End £2.73 0.0% 1= ⇡1 West London £2.59 1.6% 7 ⇡1 Interesting to see the South West also drop in price, but not as dramatically as prices in The City. Again, I’m hesitant to read too much into this, because there are opportunities for the data to be skewed. I take the cheapest price listed for comparison, so if cafes are introducing smaller sizes this could also push prices down. Harder to explain is pricing in The City. Espresso prices leapt up (on average) but prices for flat whites dropped. As a little notable bit of data, I should disclose the number of businesses within each region. This could be taken as a distribution of speciality coffee, based on cafes Allegra have designated speciality: Number of Cafes per region Region Cafes East London 31 Farringdon & Clerkenwell 7 Holborn & Bloomsbury 7 Inner East/Shoreditch 19 North London 22 Soho 12 South East London 21 South West London 13 The City 14 West End 24 West London 14 In some ways I’m a little surprised that East London tops the charts, but then again the middle of London is so subdivided, while East London covers a wide geographic area. I think it is far to say that South West and West London remain the two unconquered areas of the city when it comes to population density vs great coffee. Last year I referenced the Standard Deviation for both espresso and flat whites across the city. I thought, for a last table, that I should break that down and look at that too. Standard Deviation of Espresso & Flat White pricing Region Espresso STDEV Flat White STDEV East London £0.16 £0.14 Farringdon/Clerkenwell £0.29 £0.16 Holborn/Bloomsbury £0.22 £0.17 Inner East/Shoreditch £0.22 £0.16 North London £0.16 £0.24 Soho £0.20 £0.15 South East £0.23 £0.17 South West £0.22 £0.15 The City £0.20 £0.18 West End £0.31 £0.18 West London £0.21 £0.17 I was surprised that espresso pricing is a lot more variable than flat white pricing. I was also surprised that the lowest variance for espresso pricing was in North London, which had the highest variance for flat white pricing. I think the implication is that if you like espresso and are price driven, the West End may be the most expensive but you can find cheaper coffee if you look for it. Again – I don’t have permission to disclose the full data (though it is available in the book if you want it), but if you have questions then ask me on twitter .

Coffee Jobs Board, WBC and the new blog
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 11:08 AM - 5 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
Coffee Jobs Board, WBC and the new blog
We decided that Coffee Jobs Board should support the Go Live! streaming of the World Barista Championships this year. The goal is to introduce the service to a wider audience, and connect more coffee people with opportunities around the world. As part of that we made a short video, which you can see below (including a celebratory discount code so you can post free jobs for the rest of the month, wherever in the world you are): We are also launching the Coffee Jobs Blog . Here we’ll be posting a mixture of things. Some focused on baristas, and those seeking career opportunities (such as interviews with members of the industry about their careers and advice they have, tips of making job applications as effective as possible and highlighting potential opportunities for learning or progression ). For employers we’ll be postings tips on getting more applications, on creating career paths for staff and opportunities to help develop the staff or coffee program within their business. Keep an eye on the @coffeejobsblog twitter account, and we’ll be posting through the other twitter accounts too. I’m pretty excited about this – and hope you enjoy it!

Show me the money !!
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 10:54 AM - 5 days, 1 hour ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
This is the blog post no-one wants to write. It’s about prices going up. Not on all coffee; over the year we have slowly, slowly upped single origin prices and I expect them to level out a little now. But blend prices and starter pack prices have become cut-off from their single origin friends. To… Continue Reading

Vincent Paye from Bolivia Copacabana
Saturday, April 18, 2015 - 10:52 PM - 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
Vincent is a coffee producer in Caranarvi who is pushing the envelope for production in the area. Which is unusual as in Boliva there are few doing a good job let alone pushing the boundaries. Bolivia is a tough place t0 grow coffee, so we are very proud that Vincent sells his coffee to us.… Continue Reading

The Cappuccino Index
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 08:49 PM - 2 weeks, 4 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
The Cappuccino Index
For a year or two I’ve had an idea lingering in the back of my mind, that I had done nothing with. I was in Seoul a week or so ago, and had a chance to chat a little with BK of Fritz Coffee. We’d talked about this particular idea, and he reminded me (rightfully) that I’d done nothing with it. This was the nudge necessary to turn this thought to action. Last week I posted a few questions: Where in the world do you work? What do you earn per hour? How much is a cappuccino in your cafe? Sprudge had done some extensive research on barista pay, that I wasn’t looking to replicate. I wanted to look at it in a different way: How long does a barista have to work in order to earn a drink in their own cafe? I felt that this question could, potentially, offer up some interesting information. Baristas in Australia earn more per hour than baristas in Lithuania, but to compare wages like for like fails to account for the difference in cost of living. I decided to use the cappuccino in the cafe as a benchmark for a few different reasons: – Just about every cafe serves a cappuccino – Espresso isn’t a reliable metric as some places dramatically discount espresso to encourage consumption – Coffee alone isn’t a fair data point – as it is often imported, and also traded against the US dollar. I wanted a local ingredient in there to balance out the impacts of currency and global trade I didn’t know what I would find, and hoped to keep an open mind. However, what I did find has thrown up a few different interpretations which I’m going to look at as I examine the data. At the time of writing this I had received over 700 responses from baristas around the world. Inevitably I wished I had had more. Let’s start with the basic index. How many minutes do I have to work to earn a cappuccino: Click to embiggen So – what does it mean, that a barista in Japan has to work twice as long as a barista in Denmark to buy a cappuccino in their own cafe? Initially I looked at a cost of living index, to see if this would provide some insight. It did, in as much as it showed there wasn’t really a correlation between cost of living and the cappuccino index. Certainly, countries that had the highest cost of living (Switzerland, Australia) were the lowest on the cappuccino index, but there wasn’t strong correlation throughout. There was a rough trendline but it didn’t explain the data particularly well. I wonder then, if the cappuccino index could provide some sort of metric of the speciality coffee industry within a particular country. Australia has had a pretty long history of speciality coffee, and so the market is pretty developed. A more developed market might have lower drink prices (due to increased competition) but also higher barista wages (due to increased competition for qualified capable staff). In Australia this worked well – but the US didn’t reflect this particularly well. The UK has a newer coffee culture than the US (with respect to coffee generally, as well as speciality) but a barista in the UK works 5 minutes less to earn the same drink. At this point you’d be right to point out a flaw in the data. Countries where tips make up a substantial percentage of earnings may not have disclosed accurate data. I had asked what people earn per hour, and my issue with tips (well, one of my issues…) is that they aren’t guaranteed. They vary, and so it is hard to accurately factor them in to the idea of how long you’d need to work to buy a drink. Many people reported base wages (mentioning + tips) but others reported including tips too. In future I’d probably be more specific around this particular question. However, the cappuccino index does speak – to some extent – to the “specialness” of specialty coffee. If it is out of the immediate reach of the people who made it then it is positioned in the market more as a luxury product. The countries at the top 10 of the index were Costa Rica, Russia, Poland, Romania, Malaysia, Taiwan,Turkey ,Ukraine, Mexico and Indonesia. I should note, several of these countries lack real data for respondents. I live in a country that has an extremely uneven distribution of its economy. London is, in many ways, distinct from the rest of the UK. It’s economy didn’t suffer recession the same way as the rest of the country. It is disproportionately wealthy, and also distinctly expensive to live in. I wondered, digging into cities a little more, if this was reflected in the cappuccino index. According to this survey a London barista earns, on average, 8.2% more money per hour than the average in the UK and 14.9% more than baristas in the rest of the UK. (The UK average excluding London). The average cappuccino in London costs only 7.4% more than the rest of the UK – so there is an argument that it is better to be a barista in London than outside. (The average barista in London earns a cappuccino 1 minute and 20 seconds quicker than someone outside of London). However, the cost of living in London is substantially higher than the rest of the country – so outside of the cafe your money doesn’t go as far. I did also wonder if, within a market, the price of a drink in a cafe would be any sort of indicator of how they paid their staff. Does a place charging more pass this on, on average, to their staff. I had to look at this within a particular city (rather than internationally or nationally) because this is a very difficult question and the data looks very weak very quickly. I used London again, because I had more respondents from this city than any other. The answer here: maybe. There’s a vague correlation but I’d say that the price of a drink is a pretty bad indicator. Looking at the chart you can see a wide range of pay for baristas making a drink at the £3.00 price point. Equally it’s interesting that Perth in Australia has the most expensive drinks in the country, and its baristas earn the most – but Sydney baristas earn more per hour (on average) than Melbourne ones to serve cheaper drinks. There are so many ways that this data could be picked apart. What if respondents have only just started at a cafe? What if it pays more experienced staff better? What if baristas lied? Ultimately the sample pool here is very small. Way too small to be truly useful, but I think this is still an interesting little metric for barista culture that I would like to explore more in the future.

A very quick survey for baristas around the world
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 11:16 AM - 3 weeks, 5 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
A very quick survey for baristas around the world
I’ve been thinking about collecting a little data for a while. A recent chat with BK, of Fritz Coffee in Seoul, has prompted me to get around to posting the question. This isn’t really a survey about earnings specifically, as Sprudge has already been pretty thorough here . If you work in a cafe I’d love it if you could answer 4 very quick questions, and perhaps share with other baristas at other shops around the world. Loading…

A new home for The Learning Project
Monday, March 30, 2015 - 11:00 AM - 3 weeks, 6 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
A new home for The Learning Project
Last year one of my goals was to use the blog as a platform for learning, and this resulted in what I called “The Learning Project “. For a few reasons it never really got past the first subject (Acidity ), and has languished, unloved, since then. The principle was simple: I wrote an introduction to a topic, people submitted interesting links relating to the topic and that was turned into a larger resource. In return for submitting a link you got to vote on what the next topic was. The failure of the project to continue, as was pointed out to me a few times, was sad and something of a wasted opportunity. Now there is a new home for The Learning Project – a home where I think it can be more useful, and reach a wider audience: The Barista Guild of Europe. Regardless of whether or not you are in Europe, there is going to be an opportunity to learn and contribute to others’ learning. The internet has made the world very small, and we should absolutely take advantage of that. If you want to participate, actively or passively, then I suggest you follow BGE on twitter , sign up to the newsletter , and check out the website for this and more in the future. I’m very happy to see the project live on, and I look forward to participating myself in the near future.

My favourite question
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 10:00 AM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
My favourite question
When behind a bar, at a certain time of day, there is a question that I really love to ask. The timing may vary but between 8am and noon I like to ask a simple question: “Have you had coffee yet today?” If the answer is “No” then I realise that my priority, above all is, is going to be quickly and efficiently getting this person what they asked for. No unnecessary questions, no additional choices, no upsell. Get to work and get this person coffee right now, and be sympathetic for their need for caffeine. Especially if it a grumpy, uncaffeinated and impatient “No.” from the customer too. I think we sometimes lie to ourselves about how much we care about coffee when it comes to our first cup of the day. (I must credit Tracy Ging and the SCAA Symposium for really driving this home to me.) If I look at my own habits, for the first cup quality is actually lower down on the list, below convenience. I am not alone in this, even amongst other industry professionals – let alone habitual consumers. I’ve seen swathes of coffee people choose to skip the line at a brew bar to grab their first cup from a giant urn of very average hotel coffee. Most people, at the start of the day, just need coffee. We don’t have to like this fact, but we do have to accept it. However, once we’ve had a coffee – then the world changes a little. The chemical need is alleviated, and I think this change is an important one for baristas. If I ask someone if they’ve had coffee yet, and they say “Yes” – this is very useful information. They’re not necessarily looking for caffeine – to alleviate their withdrawal – but, more likely, they are looking for a tasty cup of coffee. I can ask if they’re in the mood to try something different, I can suggest a different coffee or perhaps a different drink. As a barista I have a little more space and time for the conversation. Even better is when they tell you what they’ve had today – the more information you can gather about someone the more easily you can delight them. Everyone needs something a little different in terms of service and experience, so any opportunity to understand them a little more should be taken. This is, to me, the very root of great service – and I hope this one little question is useful to those of you reading this.

Moka Pot Brew Guide
Friday, March 13, 2015 - 03:50 PM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
Our next brew guide comes from the much malined and under appreachaited moka pot. When viewed as its own unique brewing method, it can give you tasty and delicious coffee and is a brewing treat. Because each pot is very different from each other I’ve shied away from weights and volumes, and simply given… Continue Reading
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A small post on some big work at El Limon
Monday, March 02, 2015 - 09:13 AM - 1 month, 3 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
So this is a small post about the huge work Beto is undertaking at the farm El Limon in Palencia located to the east of Guatemala city. Beto is one of the most amazing producers we buy from as he really reacts to feedback from us. A conversation a couple of years ago about his… Continue Reading

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