The value of a cup

After some rough research (the tough kind of research where you have to drink many flat whites) it seems that an average cup of coffee in the UK costs around £2.40: that’s around A$4.20 and US$3.20. Of course this will vary greatly from place to place but for sake of argument let’s stick with £2.40.

Here are 5 things that cost £2.40 (UK prices but you get the drift):

1.         A bottle of hand wash
2.         Two litres of petrol
3.         24 pack of Weetabix
4.         A return bus journey
5.         Three first class stamps

It doesn’t go a long way these days does it? When those few spare coins in our wallets are used up on mundane things, it’s easy to lose sight of the value of money – it has a tendency to just disappear.

I’m a pretty bad impulse buyer and my last trip to a stationary shop for a notebook ended two photo albums, three notebooks, a star-shaped hole punch and a pack of five pens later. I had little idea what I was spending as I went along and felt strangely guilty afterwards for being so dispensable with my money, musing over the other things I could have done with it.

I don’t think it’s ever right to feel bad as a consumer, but I do think that being more aware of the value of money can only be a good thing.

For many coffee drinkers, a morning cup is a non-negotiable expense and ritual. If it brings us pleasure then sure there’s no problem at all with this. Yet, in practising this being mindful about money, I wonder if with each £2.40 coffee we buy we could consider doubling this as a suspended coffee – say once a week – and cut £2.40 being mindlessly spent elsewhere? Instead of those impulse buys at the till of a multipack of gum or chocolate bar, we set aside this money each time we’re tempted and watch how it totals up ready to be put to a better use. £2.40 of course could go far if spent wisely – nearly half of the world’s population live on less than US$2.50 a day. In developed countries this is almost impossible to imagine but to bring it closer to home, for the homeless and poor in our own communities, £2.40 spent lovingly on a warm drink more than doubles its monetary value. It can give someone back hope and bring happiness into their day, and remind them that there is kindness to be found in humanity, all under the lid of a coffee cup.

Photo used by kind permission of Olé Latte, one of our earliest supporters and only the second café in the US to join the Suspended Coffees movement. Check them out at, where you can also purchase their fabulous coffee mugs.