How can a cup of coffee cost a million dollar?

by chee Leng (on coffee makers)
(Singapore)

Kopi in a Singapore Kopitiam

Kopi in a Singapore Kopitiam

Do you spit out burn coffee, or basically coffee that does not taste good? And how many of you are snobbish when it comes to instant coffee (you might not touch it even when people serve it to you!).


Attached is an image of a coffee that cost S$0.90 or about US$0.60. A very cheap coffee, it is roasted with margarine, sugar, and a large amount of Robusta beans.

This is not your gourmet coffee, but it is still a coffee that is brewed after many concerted effort and one that is probably worth a million dollar.

If you are reading this article, take it as a thought to treasure all food and beverages on table as nothing comes easy.

This is a coffee known as kopi in South East Asia. This is purchased from a coffee shop known as Kopitiam in the North Eastern Part of Singapore (Sengkang -how many of you know where it it anyway...).

Here is how a cup of coffee can cost a Million dollars:

1. To be able to enjoy this coffee, there must be a place to serve this coffee -the Kopitiam.

You need to build a place, (this place is known as Rivervale Plaza), so it probably take a few million dollars to build. Lets apportioned a part of cost to Kopitiam (they need to pay rent), say S$300 000.00

2. After building the place, you need a series of renovation in order for it to be functional, cost of renovation: S$300 000.00.

3. Then there is the auntie that makes the coffee, her pay: S$24 000.00/year

4. To make the coffee, you need hot water, to have hot water, you need to install the boiler and filteration system, cost: S$50 000.00

5. In order for the water to be drinkable, the government need to collect the water, process the water then pipe the water to this outlet, average cost: S$100 000.00

6. From picking the coffee beans, to processing the coffee beans, to blending and finally packing and shipping it to the outlet, my estimated cost for it: S$100 000.00

7. You need sugar as well, again the processing of sugar cane to refined sugar, together with the process flow and shipping, cost: S$100 000.00.

8. Then, you cannot drink without a cup, someone need to buy the cups, a company need to be set up for that, a factory need to make the cup, logistics need to ship the cups. Lets say the cost is S$100 000.00.

9. Then, what about the spoons? You need something to stir, again someone to open a company to buy the spoons, someone to produce the spoon, someone to ship the spoons, cost: S$100 000.00.

If you tabulate the amount, it is about or close to a million dollars. It is not easy for something as simple as a cup of coffee to be place on our table.

So, the next time you say that some coffee taste like "X%$" or have negative remarks, remember that the process for it to be on your table comprises of many people effort -be grateful.

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