City IndexWhat is the cost of a grande cup of black coffee around the world?
Whether starting off your day or pummeling through 4pm fatigue, it's there when you need it. But a cup of joe can go for a lot, depending where you live. In this week's City Index, we explore coffee.
City Index tells you the price of something around the world. This week, it's a cup of coffee. Inspired by the Economist's Burgernomics, we've standardized the process, sticking to the ubiquitous Starbucks chain's regular ("grande") cup of drip coffee, black. Surprisingly, someone always spoke English, no matter how long-distance our phone call.
One key reason a country like Brazil or Kuwait, whose land is so rich with coffee, might be suffering higher prices from Starbucks is that the chain's signature coffee blend comes mostly from the Asia-Pacific region (one can thank the Dutch for that one). So while coffee might be abundant, Asia-Pacific coffee incurs a higher price.
We chose 16 Starbuck'ed cities from Buenos Aires to Tokyo across the globe to retrieve our data
The Cheapest Cup
170 Russian Roubles
New York City
3.20 Australian Dollars
1.95 British Sterling Pounds
360 Japanese yen
2000 Chilean Pesos
33 Argentine Pesos
27 Hong Kong Dollar
33 Norwegian Krone
5.60 Swiss Francs
Rio de Janeiro
18.30 Brazilian real
2.50 Kuwaiti dinar
The Most Expensive Cup
In South America, Starbucks is part of a globalized food service company called Alsea, which includes restaurants Burger King, Domino's, and P.F. Chang's, to name a few. So if you are feeling hungry when visiting Santiago, rest assured there's mediocre wonton soup.
But why is Switzerland so expensive? It might be that it’s an island that often doesn’t get the same treatment as the rest of the Europe (as in “ships everywhere in Europe but Switzerland”) or it might be due to the country's extremely high minimum wage (22 Swiss Francs an hour). Same with Norway, where according to the OECD, wage inequality is low and a very progressive system of taxation further helps to reduce income inequality. So, in certain scenarios, expensive coffee means income equality.
COVER IMAGE: Antwan Duncan, Serge Rodionov