Milan on 18th May re-opened. It is not a total reopening as a large majority of coffee shops and restaurants decided to wait. Wait and see.
Because this uncertain times are far way Dangerous to our community, to our business.
Who on Monday morning opened the doors of his coffee shop faced major difficulties. No this time it’s not due to strange customer’s requests.
This time not only you had to invest money (after 70days of complete lockdown which means no income, let’s talk honestly), this time you had to sanitize your working area (which is fair and must be done, not only because of the virus, let’s be brutally honest), measure the 2mt distance and the queuing line for your customers.
This time you have to face a no sense debate with Customer’s union: CODACONS.
The debate, that since Monday reopening is becoming far way harsher than what we need, is focused on coffee price.
The consumer’s organization since years has the mission to find out unfair conduct in the market against consumer’s rights.
This is a great mission. We all agree on this.
What is missing in CODACONS vision is the big picture.
Let me be more specific and explain you better. In Italy, the average price of a single espresso shot is 1€. It’s not my intention to go deep in why since decades this has become the average price paid for a cup of coffee. I want to underline concrete necessities and injustice.
CODACONS on its website Yesterday evening sent out a press release stating that:
coffee prices applied in coffee shops are low simply due to the fact that in Italy the average consumption is higher (in number) than in the rest of the world. Coffee is a tradition that guarantees large income to the ones operating in the coffee field. There is a clear evidence that the price increase is aimed only to cover the losses and the expenses made as to sanitize the coffee shop
Now, what is crucial is not the fact that coffee should cost 1 or 2 or 10 euros. What we must undestand is the big lies behind the upper statement,
- coffee consumption in Italy is not the highest in the world.
- The Italian espresso tradition is not a guarantee of large gains to who works in the field.
What is not clear to CODACONS, and in part to the average consumer, is what lies behind a cup of espresso. For every single shot there is a barista trained to brew it, there is a machine especially designed to work at its best to guarantee safety and quality to your final cup, there is a green importer, there is a roaster trained and with special knowledge to roast your beans, there is (and THIS is a shame not to be mentioned in CODACONS press release, if really they want to stay on consumer’s side) a work force underpaid as to pick up coffee cherries and process them as to obtain green beans.
As underlined by professional baristas in the past hours we must let people know that the cup they give for granted is the result of 5 kilograms of coffee cherries picked tat will give as a result only 1kg coffee. The same coffee that now you are trying to undervalue.
What CODACONS is aimed to do as its mission is educate the consumer, give them the big picture as to choose wise once they have all the details. Otherwise the only result will be to start a never ending war one against the other.
And this believe me will be not only the death of coffee shops in Italy, it will be the death of free market and free consumer’s choice.
I am sure that a well informed consumer is indipendent enough, clever enough to understand what to choose and why. It’s up to us as consumers to change our behaviour and choices, don’t let a organization that doesn’t know the field, tell you what to do without explaing why.
Be an indipendent thinker!
Consume less buy better.