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The national average tip on coffee is a little over 11 percent

Mike Pomranz
October 08, 2018

Unlike at full-service restaurants, opinions on tipping at coffee shops are far more divided. If you’ve ever stared down a barista’s tip jar and wondered, “Do people actually use that thing?” a new report confirms that, indeed, the national average tip on coffee orders is 11.4 percent. But the percentage of people who actually leave a tip at all is still a mystery.

The 11.4-percent tip number comes courtesy of a new report from the digital payment brand Square and the Specialty Coffee Association. As an important side note, since all the data comes from Square, it’s only reflective of tips placed digitally through their own payment system, though the brand writes that the data represents millions of transactions from thousands of coffee shops over the course of a year. Still, an interesting auxiliary study would be to see whether digital payments—with its ability to give a suggestion of tipping percentages—versus cash—is more likely to yield a tip in general.

Regardless, based on the data they have, Square was able to break down tipping on coffee across the US by state and found that, with an average tip of 17.5 percent, Alaska had the best tippers, followed by the coffee mecca of Washington State, where people tipped 14.1 percent. Wyoming also tied for second, tipping the same amount.

On the low end of the spectrum, New Jersey was last, leaving just 7.5 percent, followed by Connecticut and Delaware, where the tipping percentages were 7.7 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively. However, as the Takeout points out, since this data includes people who don’t tip, but doesn’t say what percentage of people don’t tip, it’s hard to tease apart exactly how much people who do tip actually tip compared to those who always tip 0 percent.

Tipping wasn’t the only trend that Square looked at. Are you a latte lover? You’re not alone: Square says it’s the most popular coffee drink in the country, and the average price we’re paying for all those lattes is $4.16—though you’re paying significantly less, just $3.49 on average, if you live in Idaho, the cheapest state for a latte. Meanwhile, North Dakota, surprisingly enough, had the most expensive average at $4.45.

Square also broke down the details on a number of other coffee stats including the most popular dairy alternatives, sales of iced coffee versus cold brew, the average number of requested add-ons, the peak sales times of different types of drinks, and the most popular international imports to have his the American scene recently. You can grab a coffee and dig through all the info on Square’s website.

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