Friday, June 25, 2010

Espresso, ABC, Ultimo

I didn't really plan it this way, but somehow this is the third ABC cafeteria I've visited in the last two weeks. Welcome to the ABC in Ultimo. If Sydney has anything over Melbourne*, it's the suburbs that sound like superheroes.

What surprised me about this place was the choice of beans available. Not just different origins and blends, but different suppliers too. I've never run or worked in a café before, but I imagine all those supplier-branded umbrellas and sugar packets and cups have some sort of exclusivity clause attached to them. Use-our-beans-and-cover-everything-in-our-logo-and-you'll-get-free-and/or-cheap-stuff. So I guessed a display like this is kind of like Britney Spears being sponsored by Pepsi but requesting Coca-Cola on her rider:

The ABC simply don't do advertising, and are pretty strict about even showing company logos on screen. For example, next time you watch Rage, you'll notice there's an Adrian Deutsch poster stuck to the side of a computer. It's there to hide the Apple logo. Adrian Deutsch must be loving that**. Maybe coffee supplier logos in the cafeteria have similar restrictions. Still, the result is no compromised interests in your cup, and more choice for the coffee drinker. That impressed me.

What didn't impress me was the pricing. Takeaway: $2.90. Have here: $3.40. A 50c have-here tax. That seems downright backwards in a world where, if anything, we should be giving people an incentive to use less disposable coffee cups. Australian takeaway coffee cup consumption may not quite be the greatest moral challenge of our time, but it must at least make the top ten.

* Remember kids, I said "if".
** The ABC don't see him as a conflict of interest, he gets a free plug, and now I've heard of him. And so have you.

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