Got 10minutes to spare? Fancy playing a game? I guarantee you’ll spend 30minutes or so on it though…

I came across this game about four years ago when we were running a business project in my last school and I have played it a few times since. Today I showed it to a bunch of Year 5/6 children who had a session of free time on the computers (pre-Sats treat) and many chose to play this and try and beat my score.

The premise is simple. You have 14 days worth of business. Each day you buy cups, coffee, milk and sugar. You mix your ingredients, set a price and start the day. If people like your coffee then your sales will go up and if they don’t, then your reputation goes down. If you love coffee and drink it daily sign up for weekly coffee delivery.

All simple enough right? Well, no. Each day, the milk goes off, sometimes sugar and/or coffee is ransacked or attacked by ants and the weather changes too. On hot days, people don’t want as much coffee do they? Also, the price you charge depends on the quality of the coffee. Oh and you need to think about your reputation too. So there are lots of variables coming into play.

I remember my top score from a few years ago being around the $200-mark yet I played recently and got $291 which I was very proud of. I set this as a challenge today and the children had a go. After all, I’m old, what do I know about games? A couple came close, and one even reached $320! I had another go, in front of them and racked up $630. So that is the current record in my school. Although one child has emailed me to say he has got over $500 at home this evening, so the competition is on!

The thing is, the children were playing a game but they were also thinking. If it was more of a lesson (and less of free time), I would discuss how much each cup actually cost them before they went to sell them. If you buy more coffee, then the unit price comes down but the potential for coffee going stale rises. I’d also look at the percentage markup, profit and loss and other factors and make it an in-depth maths investigation.

It’s like being on the Apprentice. But with less idiots.

So, have a go, show it to your children and see what happens.

The Coffee Game.