28 Jan 2011

The economics of coffee

I was just in Venice, where they serve a delightful cappuccino for 1.30€
I got it at this caffe, which churned out drinks fast enough to keep the patrons caffinated. No Tall, nonfat, caramel lattes, extra hot with two splendas here!

The caffe was in between my hotel and the boat launch for the conference center (post coming soon!), so there were some tourists as well as locals in the bar.

On my third visit (Saturday morning), three carabinieri were already at the counter, telling jokes. An older man bought them their espressos, which is what you do with carabinieri (they seem to get involved in bribery, beatings and the mafia a little too often).

I got my cappuccino, put 2€ on the counter and then waited for my change. The barista (no, Starbucks didn't coin the word) said "cappuccino?"I replied "Si." He then rang 2€ into the register and gave me a receipt.

I replied with "Cappuccino era 1.30€ ieri. Perche due euro oggi?" [Cappuccino was 1.30€ yesterday. Why two euros today?]

He listened, shrugged, and gave me the 70 cents he had tried to steal.

I didn't tip.

Regardless of the Italian version of honor, I miss their cappuccini. At work, I can get a "cappuccino" for free (as an employee), or pay one euro. Both come from machines, neither is very good. (Can you tell which one below is free?)