Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

$2.50 coffee, and kiosk is still in profit

Engineer fed up with pricey drinks sets out to prove cut-price brew is a viable option.

Mirela Martinescu says the hardest part of running Coffix is getting past the idea that if the price is low, the coffee can't be good quality. Photo / Greg Bowker
Mirela Martinescu says the hardest part of running Coffix is getting past the idea that if the price is low, the coffee can't be good quality. Photo / Greg Bowker

An Auckland coffee shop is knocking the foam off the city's reputation for high prices by selling brews for just $2.50 - half what some cafes charge.

Coffix on Karangahape Rd is charging the same low price not just for its Fair Trade coffees but for all its drinks and food, and doesn't ask customers to pay more for soy milk, decaf or syrup flavouring.

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Managing director Mirela Martinescu, an engineer, said she opened the kiosk this month out of frustration. She was fed up with paying high prices and wanted to prove it was viable to offer cut-price coffee.

"It's not an original idea," she said. "If you look all over Europe it is full of coffee available for 1 [$1.60], so I couldn't understand why it's not available here in New Zealand and why coffee is so over-priced.

"New Zealand has such a strong culture of coffee. We are all coffee drinkers and cafe-goers and the price of coffee is increasing.

"There is a need for introducing coffee at a fair price. Good-quality coffee does not cost much."

Ms Martinescu, a Melburnian who has lived in Auckland for three years, now plans to open a second branch on the corner of Elliott and Victoria Sts in the central city next month.

"Without going into numbers let's just say that after two weeks of operation we have made profit.

"The hardest part is getting past the misconception that because the price is lower, the quality wasn't there, there's a big myth around that."

The Fair Trade beans were sourced from South America and locally roasted for Coffix. All baristas were professionally trained, she said.

Hospitality NZ Auckland branch president Kevin Schwass said the small site would be able to charge less because it had fewer overheads than big cafes. "It is all based on what you're paying for rent."

Coffee in the city
Price of regular flat white at ...
• Coffix, K Rd: $2.50
• Espresso Coffee School, Auckland CBD: koha (donation)
• SPQR, Ponsonby: $4
• Cafe on Kohi, Kohimarama: $4.50
• Starbucks, Auckland CBD: $4.80
• The Coffee Club, Parnell: $5.20.

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- NZ Herald

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