The cost and consumption of coffee in different categories varies from country to country due to fluctuating C prices, conversions and cultural preferences. SavingSpot explains which countries came out on top for most expensive cup and highest per capita consumption.
To determine which city has the most caffeine users and which pays top dollar for its daily cup, US financial adviser SavingSpot conducted market research in 104 countries between April and May 2021. Five cafes in each capital participated in the study, with a total of 520 coffee menus analyzed.
In its latest findings, it identified South Korea as the city charging the highest figure for a daily cup at $7.77 on average, followed by Qatar, Lebanon, Kuwait and Switzerland.
“One of the reasons coffee prices are high in South Korea is partly due to the ‘foreign’ premium, which means Koreans are used to paying more for anything imported,” says Barbara Davidson, chief content strategist at SavingSpot.
“Also, South Koreans can afford it. The average salary in South Korea has steadily increased over the years, and the monthly salary is expected to reach around US$5,000 by 2040, the highest value among major countries.
Davidson also predicts that high costs are associated with themed cafes that charge cafe customers top dollar to interact with cats while consuming coffee, for example.
North America was found to have the second highest volume of coffee consumers, also paying the second highest price per cup of US$3.77 on average.
Five Middle Eastern countries were among the top 10 most expensive coffee cities in the world.
According to SavingSpot, this is due to the growing demand for specialty coffee, in part due to abstinence from alcohol in the country.
“Café culture is growing, especially in the Middle East, where an affinity for specialty coffees has driven demand skyrocketing across the region,” says Davidson.
“For this reason, coffee is often seen as a luxury item, and the price reflects this.”
The study identified Iran as the cheapest country to serve coffee.
“Iranians prefer to drink tea, which might explain why their coffee is the cheapest at $0.46 a cup,” says Davidson.
Consumers in the Bahamas pay the most at US$3.91 per cup, while Hondurans pay the least at US$1.75 per cup. Additionally, coffee in Mexico costs just US$2.17 a cup and is often filtered and served with sweet Pan Dulce bread.
According to the research, the average price of a cup of coffee in Australia’s discerning market is $3.10 (around AUD 4.30), while the average per capita consumption is 2.1 kg.
Luxembourg turned out to be the biggest coffee consumer in the world, drinking 11.1 kilograms of coffee per capita per year.
“Luxembourg is right there, at the cultural crossroads of coffee-lovers’ Europe, so it’s no surprise that they drink the most coffee in the world,” says Davidson.
“It offers a wide variety of coffee experiences inspired by the city’s many expat cultures.”
Although Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world, it has also been identified as having a high coffee consumption rate, with an average per capita consumption of 6.2 kilograms, despite exporting 60% of coffee. more than Vietnam, the second highest producing country.
“Some of the biggest coffee-growing regions in the world, including Central and South America and Vietnam, are also among the cheapest places to enjoy a coffee,” says Davidson.
According to SavingSpot, popular Brazilian drinks such as cafe latte or cafe puro cost an average of $1.89 per cup.
“Brazil is able to charge less for a cup of coffee because it’s fortunate not to have high import costs built into its purchase price,” Davidson says.
Davidson says consumers in Nepal, India and Pakistan are more likely to drink tea instead of coffee, resulting in much lower consumption rates, drinking less than 0.1 kilograms per capita per year.
According to SavingSpot, the first recorded “coffee culture” dates back to 15and century in Yemen thanks to mystics, monks and other religious leaders who stayed awake and focused on prayer for long periods of time.
Davidson says understanding coffee habits and costs around the world provides insight into local history, spiritual practices and values.
“Readers can learn something about the economies of different countries by looking at the diversity of coffee prices,” she says.
“We can also learn about the lifestyles of people from different cultures.”
This article first appeared in the March/April 2022 edition of the Global Coffee Report. Learn more HERE.