You'll have to go abroad
As you lament the rising price of coffee, an inevitability with the onset of coffee's third wave, remember that it’s not so bad everywhere. The 2016 Coffee Price Index by Berlin-based office-supply company Service Partner ONE has determined where you can find the most affordable coffee in the world. Unsurprisingly, it’s nowhere in the US. The coffee price index compared the value of coffee between 75 cities in 36 countries. The winner for the most affordable cup? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the average price for a cup of coffee is $1.03 USD. Rio is followed by closely in the rankings by Sao Paolo, which makes sense because Brazil is the biggest coffee producer in the world. The most expensive coffee is in Zurich, Switzerland, where an average cup costs $3.60 USD. This makes sense because everything is expensive in Zurich.
Among the seven US cities included in the coffee price index, the difference between least and most affordable cities for coffee is a not insignificant 13 cents. In the US, you’ll find the most expensive coffee in San Francisco, which should come as no surprise to San Franciscans, whose cost of living is 62.6 percent higher than the U.S. average. Somewhat ironically, the most affordable coffee isn’t located in relatively affordable Miami or Houston. It's in Seattle, home of Starbucks.
Here's the full ranking of average coffee prices for US cities, from most to least affordable:
1. Seattle $2.26
2. Chicago $2.29
3. Houston $2.32
4. New York City $2.34
5. Miami $2.36
6. Los Angeles $2.37
7. San Francisco $2.39
To get these results, Service Partner ONE's team of researchers averaged the cost of four types of coffee in each city: a cup of coffee in an office, a grande latte from Starbucks, a medium cappuccino from an independent coffee shop, and a cup of coffee at home. The researchers found that the biggest variation in cost between cities was the cost of coffee at independent cafes.
In the US, the average price of coffee for all categories except independent cafes is the same. No matter what city you're in, a cup of coffee at the office costs 58 cents, a grande latte will always be $3.65, and a home-brewed cup will cost you an average of 49 cents per cup. So, support your local cafes, but know that the cappuccino you buy in San Francisco is more expensive than the ones your friends in Chicago are enjoying. And if you are looking to save some dough, perhaps the answer isn't cutting out lattes altogether, as some have suggested, but moving to Brazil, where those lattes will be cheaper.