In the week before Easter, many of us would have been aghast to learn that disease and heavy rain in West Africa have shot cocoa prices to an unprecedented high. The cost of chocolate in our supermarkets could soar dramatically this year.

But we’re already noticing a steady creep in another source of roasted delight – coffee.

Having long been tethered to a psychological anchor of about $4 a cup, last year saw the price of a takeaway coffee begin to creep above $5 for the first time.

It’s natural to feel hurt when the cost of our daily essentials goes up. And few things are essential to so many people as coffee.

But as Emma Felton writes, Australian cafes are cheap by international standards, and have been for some time. Our world-renowned coffee scene was largely built by tiny independent companies operating on thin margins.

In a cost of living crisis, we absolutely should call out price-gouging by major supermarkets, banks and airlines. There are certainly big fish in the coffee world too. But many of our most beloved cafes are tiny operations striving to survive.

If we are soon asked to pay more, Felton argues, we should respond not with hostility, but with curiosity and compassion for a local industry that exists to keep us happy, caffeinated and connected.

Matthew Hall

Deputy Business & Economy Editor

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Katie Attwell, The University of Western Australia; Jessica Kaufman, Murdoch Children's Research Institute

The move makes sense at this stage of the pandemic. But abolishing a vaccine mandate needs to be done carefully so as not to damage public trust.

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Curious Kids: what did people use before toothpaste was invented?

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People once used tooth powders made from crushed bone or shells to whiten their teeth. Others rinsed their mouth out with pee. Yuck!


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