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A tall latte in Johannesburg is the 6th cheapest out of 76 cities
We created the Starbucks Index to compare the differences in price for the same cup of coffee in 76 countries* around the world. The study found Johannesburg ranks as the 6th cheapest city to buy a tall latte, at USD$2.18. Topping the list is Copenhagen, Denmark, where a tall latte at Starbucks will run you the equivalent of $6.05, whereas those in Istanbul, Turkey, appear to get the best for their buck, paying just $1.78. Our index is an informal way to measure the strength or weakness of local currencies for a common item against other countries. It’s supported by research that excludes variances that affect the cost of a coffee, like prices of raw beans, local labor costs and taxes. The study itself has two components: a coffee cost comparison and a GDP valuation index.
|7||Hong Kong||Hong Kong||$4.60|
|15||Lebanon||Mount Lebanon, Jbeil District||$4.31|
|16||United States||New York City||$4.30|
|18||United Arab Emirates||Dubai||$4.29|
|39||Costa Rica||San Jose||$3.64|
|40||Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan||$3.63|
|42||Trinidad and Tobago||Trincity||$3.40|
|46||El Salvador||San Salvador||$3.25|
|47||Andorra||Andorra la Vella||$3.19|
|56||Vietnam||Ho Chi Minh City||$3.02|
Our index measures each country’s ratio of coffee costs to GDP per capita against the average trend across all countries. It measures the actual cost of a coffee compared to what a country’s GDP indicates it ought to be.
Check out the world map of all the locations we bought a tall latte
The cost of coffee around the world
Cheapest coffees around the world
The second-cheapest country in the study after Turkey, is Egypt, at $1.95, followed by Colombia, at $2.04. The fourth-cheapest is Argentina, at $2.14, with Mexico, rounding out the top five at $2.15 a cup.
Most expensive coffees around the world
After Denmark, the next most expensive city to buy a Starbucks tall latte in is Switzerland, at $5.94 a cup, followed by Finland, at $5.40. Macau is next at $5.21, while the fifth most expensive latte is in Luxembourg, at $5.18 a cup.
The cost of coffee in 26 European countries
Europeans can expect to pay the most for a tall latte at Starbucks compared to other regions — an average $3.92 a cup.
Prices are steepest in Northern Europe — including countries like Ireland, Sweden and Denmark — which averages $4.74 a cup, followed by cities in Western Europe — Netherlands, Austria, France, Belgium, Monaco, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland — at $4.59 a cup. Cities in Southern Europe (Italy, Portugal, Andorra, Spain and Greece) pay a cheaper $3.15 a cup, while those in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Russia) have an even lower average cost of $3.00 a cup.
Coffee prices across other regions
Asia — including such countries as Malaysia, Turkey and Azerbaijan — closely follows Europe as the second most expensive region for a hit of coffee, where you’ll pay an average $3.72 a cup.
East Asian cities in such countries as Japan, Taiwan and Macau pay the highest average cost at $4.23 a cup. Following is cities in Western Asian countries such as Bahrain, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates at $3.80 and cities in Southeast Asian countries such as Brunei, Singapore and Thailand at $3.34. A tall latte in South Asia (India) costs $3.30. Central Asia (Kazakhstan), at $3.19, is the cheapest Asian region on average in which to pick up a Starbucks.
The average cost of a coffee across the Americas — including North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean — is $3.25 a cup. Cities in the Caribbean (Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas and Curacao) pay the highest average price at $3.81 a cup, followed by Central American cities (Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama) at $3.43 and North American cities at $3.20. South American cities — such as those in Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and others — have the lowest average price at just $2.85.
The least expensive part of the world in which to buy coffee is Africa, which comes in at $2.27 a cup – although this included a sample size of just three countries: Egypt, Morocco and South Africa. The second-cheapest region is Oceania at $3.18, including Australia and New Zealand.
We should expect that coffee prices are higher in wealthier countries and lower in poorer countries, because many factors affect the cost of goods and services, including the local cost of raw materials, production and labor costs, taxes, tariffs and retailer pricing strategies.
Our Starbucks Index looks at the GDP-per-capita value for each country alongside the coffee cost in US dollars to see how far each country deviates from the average. In Denmark, for example, a coffee costs $6.05, whereas the expected coffee cost based on the country’s GDP of more than $60,000 per capita is $4.20 — meaning the coffee is 44% more expensive than it should be based on GDP.
Search the full table of currency value by our Starbucks Index by country or index valuation.
Note that our figures reflect local purchasing power, rather than true currency valuation. This is particularly important when looking at countries that share the same currency, such as those across the eurozone. For example, if we look at Monaco, our Starbucks Index suggests a coffee is 30.4% cheaper than it should be. Compare this to Finland, where the index suggests a coffee is actually 35.3% more expensive than it should be.
Our Latte Line is the GDP-weighted index average, showing a correlation between the price of coffee and a country’s GDP. For example, at bottom left of the graph, you can see the correlation between a cheap tall latte and a weaker GDP in countries like Turkey, Egypt, Colombia and Argentina. Far right of the Latte Line, you can see Luxembourg with a high GDP and a more expensive coffee price.
However, within that trend, there are a few outliers, such as Monaco and Denmark. In Monaco, the cost of a tall latte is cheaper than you might expect, given its strong GDP. In the case of Denmark, you can see the sky-high cost of a coffee doesn’t correlate to GDP in the same way it does in many other countries.
Collecting the data
*We asked individuals in 76 countries and autonomous regions around the world to purchase a hot tall latte from a Starbucks store in their city and tell us how much it cost. We looked at the cost of a coffee in nearly every country where Starbucks operates. However, we could not source the data for some countries, such as Malta and Puerto Rico.
Individuals were required to send us three photos: a picture of them with the coffee, an image of the receipt and a photo of the coffee menu.
Say hello to our participants:
Coffee Cost. We converted local coffee prices to US dollars using the exchange rate on 12 September 2019 according to XE.com. We then ranked countries based on the cost of the coffee in US dollars.
Starbucks Index: We plotted the coffee cost in US dollars against the GDP per capita for all countries. We used the resulting trend line to determine the average increase in coffee cost against an increase in GDP. The final index valuation is the difference between each actual plot point and the trend line — or how far each country differs from the average.
Rankings: The cost of coffee was round to the nearest two decimal places. Where prices were exactly the same, we gave them the same ranking. Prices are rounded to the nearest two decimal places. Where prices are exactly the same, we gave them the same ranking. Russia and Kazakhstan are higher or lower value when rounded to three decimal places.
Limitations of the research
The cost of a Starbucks coffee can vary significantly due to a range of variables across a country or city. Given only one coffee price was used per city or country, our data may not serve to represent the area as a whole. Also, countries measure their GDP in different ways, so consider the data in this study an indicator rather than an exact measure of index value.