Despite a global drop in coffee prices, Wollongong coffee lovers are still paying the same amount for their daily caffeine fix.
But don't take it out on your favourite cafe, a Fairy Meadow barista has urged, as many of the region's best brewers have maintained their prices, despite rising operational costs.
The price of coffee has been plunging for two years, after peaking in 2011, but Aussie drinkers have not benefited from the drop as cafe coffee prices have failed to match the declining cost of beans.
But Levi Garry, who co-owns the Matchbox Cafe at the university's Innovation Campus, believes customers are getting a good deal, often consuming high-grade coffee without the expensive price tag.
He said many Wollongong cafes had avoided putting their coffee prices up, despite the demand for pricier quality blends.
"It's disappointing to read stories that make out that cafes are making more money because the price of coffee is dropping - in reality, many cafes are offering higher-grade coffee, which ends up costing more for the cafe but we don't increase the price of our coffee," he said.
"If people are going to part with $3.50 for a cup of coffee, they want it to be decent - they don't want to spend that money on a cup of crap."
Mr Garry believes the Illawarra's coffee culture has flourished over the past decade as an increasing number of cafes have popped up, offering specialised coffee blends.
"Five or 10 years ago when I was at university, there weren't that many places serving a palatable cup of coffee," he said.
"Now, it's really noticeable that there has been a shift - the region has definitely developed its coffee mentality and it has become more a part of the culture.
"It's still not quite at the level of places like Melbourne but it's become a lot more integrated into how people behave and how they interact socially."
Mr Garry said the growing coffee culture had also changed the way people had their daily cup, prompting calls for smaller and more regular caffeine fixes.
"There's a growing market for smaller coffees," he said.