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The Starbucks Index - Coffee Price Parity

Tyler Durden's picture


Despite Abe's protestations, it would appear - from WSJ's index of Starbucks coffee prices around the world - that Japan's currency 'value' is similar to the US while it is Mr. Hollande (in France) that has more reason to hope for a currency devaluation in his country. With India and Mexico showing the lowest price for a grande latte (suggesting undervalued currencies), it appears Europeans (from Madrid to Paris to Athens) pay significantly more for a latte than even the New Yorkers. Forget the Big Mac Index, forget Purchasing Power Parity - the Scandinavians are suffering from over-priced currencies and significant divergence from Coffee Price Parity.



Source: WSJ


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Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:47 | 3281559 13thWarrior
13thWarrior's picture

Too bad they don't have how much is robusta and how much is arabica component.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:49 | 3281574 Ralph Spoilsport
Ralph Spoilsport's picture

All their coffee tastes burnt - good arabica beans are wasted on Starbucks.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:07 | 3281637 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

Hence the need for syrups and surgars to flavor away the burn. 

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:20 | 3281806 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



We have hundreds of Yaupon Holly bushes on our property, and the surrounding countryside filled with the stuff.  I don't have to pay for my caffeine, I get it for free.

With cream from our grass-fed cow, the cost of my Chai Latte is, was, and will be close to $0.00 regardless of quantitative easing. 

Fuck you, Bernanke!



Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:21 | 3281960 jazze
jazze's picture

Starbucks/Bigmac index are so pointless.


In Germany/France you can go to a family owned cafe and get better and CHEAPER coffee than Starbux. In Asia, Starbucks is generally "luxury".

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:27 | 3281998 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

What impressed me was the highest prices were in the very socialized scandanavian countries.

(Where we're headed)

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:58 | 3282150 Karlus
Karlus's picture

I would posit there that everything is paid for, and SBux feels it can get a larger share of discretionary money. Not sure if this is true...

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 21:30 | 3284047 thisandthat
thisandthat's picture

Was about to say the same - 1st, I didn't even knew we had them here in Portugal; 2nd, 4$ for a coffee? Are you f* kidding me? It costs less than 1 € at a coffee shop anywhere (actually, it's closer to .5/6€ on most places), and just over 0,3 € at home, in capsules (which are a whopping 5x more expensive than grinded/bean packs: ~10 €/Kg), so why would anyone care?

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:14 | 3281662 CPL
CPL's picture

Thank christ for Tim Hortons.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:18 | 3281688 Ralph Spoilsport
Ralph Spoilsport's picture

I tried their coffee and donuts at one of the places they put in Erie, PA. Really good!

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:50 | 3281826 BeaverFever
BeaverFever's picture

And it's rrrrrol up the rrrrrim time!

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:43 | 3281796 Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

Yes, the secret of global fast food chains is uniformity, and burnt coffee all tastes the same.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:11 | 3281914 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

Rolllllll up the rim, to


I'm 1/5 for rollup.


Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:48 | 3281565 mayhem_korner
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Best buy on the board is Istanbul.  Turkish coffee is "chewy".

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:50 | 3281578 Agstacker
Agstacker's picture

Upvoted for the Star Wars reference.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:10 | 3281645 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Well played.  His best line, IMHO:

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:49 | 3281567 astoriajoe
astoriajoe's picture

I was surprised how easy it was to roast coffee at home. and I roast it at home.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:51 | 3281579 Jim B
Jim B's picture

I used to, but issues with getting a reliable roaster...  (went through 3 of them)

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:58 | 3281597 astoriajoe
astoriajoe's picture

I just use a stainless steel pot and shake the beans as I heat them. But I don't really claim to have a sophisticated palate when it comes to ...well anything really.


Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:00 | 3281605 Jim B
Jim B's picture

Probaly the approach that I should have taken, the consumer roasting machines tend to not be very reliable! 

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:21 | 3281697 fahmahbob
fahmahbob's picture

Hot air popcorn maker works perfectly.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:14 | 3281661 Floodmaster
Floodmaster's picture

All you need is good beans and a Rancilio Silvia.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:51 | 3281580 semperfi
semperfi's picture

Vegas (Excalibur):  $4.50 venti coffee (bold-pike-blonde)

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:03 | 3281611 HardlyZero
HardlyZero's picture

Yes, yes.  I go there for the foods and coffee or when travelling and need reliabile location and place to get simple eats in the cities.

Ever since the 'new Starbucks' and Pike...allll their in-store brewed coffee tastes costs more for fresh brewed and Starbucks gotta profit (with the new/old management).  I still like their simple Breakfast and House, and I still have my SB am a SB fan.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:52 | 3281586 Dangertime
Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:54 | 3281589 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

Starbucks is going to be an interesting play as deflation ramps up.


Starbucks layoffs have already begun.



Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:00 | 3281602 JonNadler
JonNadler's picture

deflation? People still believe in that stuff?

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:57 | 3281593 Edward Fiatski
Edward Fiatski's picture

A fucking $9.83 for a Starbucks in Oslo? I bet a fucking Royale with cheese costs even more than $6.38 that the Swiss pay.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:04 | 3281620 ihedgemyhedges
ihedgemyhedges's picture

Helsinki is in Switzerland?????  Wow, learn something new every day here.......

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:13 | 3281651 Edward Fiatski
Edward Fiatski's picture

Put one more question mark after your ADDisorder question one more God damn time. I dare you,  I double dare you.

What country you from? What? WHAT COUNTRY ARE YOU FROM? They don't have a fucking ROYALE WITH CHEESE in WHAT? If you DID, you'd know that a motherfucking ROYALE WITH CHEESE is not listed on the motherfucking list.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:33 | 3281757 mayhem_korner
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Xanax Wars.  Cool.  :D

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:05 | 3281594 Dr Paul Krugman
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Tyler has it backwards:  When the price of a good is low compared on an index, then the purchasing power of a currency is strong.  Since S.F., Detroit, and N.Y. are low on the grand scale of things - especially considering the cost of living in S.F. and N.Y. - this means that the dollar buying the coffee has high purchasing power.

So since this is true, is it also true that inflation is low?  Yes, this is correct.  This means that the Fed has more room to increase its purchase program, because we will need to increase exports, via Starbucks coffee and other goods.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:06 | 3281633 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

Leave it to a 'PhD' to lay a foundation on a single, high std. deviation data point.  Tenure, like the welfare/warfare state, means you aren't required to live in reality..

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:15 | 3281657 Dr Paul Krugman
Dr Paul Krugman's picture

I didn't.  Tyler did.  I just put it in the correct perspective.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 13:11 | 3282193 Matt
Matt's picture

The premise of the chart is that weak currency = cheap coffeee, strong currency = expensive coffee. I do not see any proof of this looking at that chart.

Tokyo has more expensive Star Bucks than New York, but the Yen is much weaker than the Dollar. Moscow has some of the most expensive coffee, but the Ruble is a weak currency. Even if they are trying to use this chart to show whether a currency is under- or over-valued relative to the others, there are disparities within the Euro and Dollar.

The chart seems to track living expenses and amount of disposable income of the people in the particular city. Expensive city with high wages and cost of living = expensive coffee. Affordable city with low wages = less expensive coffee.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:21 | 3281702 yogibear
yogibear's picture

"So since this is true, is it also true that inflation is low?  Yes, this is correct. "

I take it you don't go to a "normal grocery" store to go shopping?

If you get out of your ivory tower and go where shopping where everyone else hops you'll notice how much items have gone up in the last couple of years!

Notice the price of coke, coffee, meat have all increased substantially.

Also notice the average price of gasoline has also increased.

Yeah, I know about ex-food and energy, but people have to eat and  drive and use transportation. So it's inflation we have to deal with. Real inflation, not a pick and choose inflation like the government does. The government does it because they have obligations based on the CPI.

Just like real unemployment vs adjusted unemployment. 

Bernanke and the Fed bankers want inflation and their getting it. Not in wages because there is an over supply of labor world wide.

Bernanke and the fed will get a lot more inflation as they continue devaluing the US dollar. It will just squeeze people that much more. They will have even less money to spend.

Around me the public transportation just raised their riding fees by 87% along with taxes and fees. That's inflation. 

I suggest you look  around and smell the roses rather than just take the government line.





Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:36 | 3281769 mayhem_korner
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Oh my did you botch that logic, PK.  Funny, tho.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:58 | 3281596 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

You don't suppose there might be a link between coffee prices snd socialism, where the barristas get jacked up minimum wages, free health care, and shorter work weeks?

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 10:59 | 3281598 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Why is Starbucks so "cheap" in San Francisco?

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:06 | 3281631 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

Its in a different country than detroit is..

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:35 | 3281765 Shaten
Shaten's picture

The argument that the prices reflect currency strength, while listing 3 different data points (detroit, san fran, new york) for the same currency is just bad math. Cost of living indexs tied back to the amount of gold need in that currency.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:27 | 3281730 malek
malek's picture

Really makes one wonder, especially compared to Detroit...

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:03 | 3281887 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

It's a known scientific fact that the presence of fags makes brewed coffee cheaper.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 17:50 | 3283334 Tango in the Blight
Tango in the Blight's picture

In Detroit they have to pay protection to armed gangbangers wielding AK47s.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:00 | 3281600 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Wrong conclusion. It costs more in Norway, where they pay employees a decent wage, than in India where they pay slave wages and use poisoned water. I'll pay up for the Norway coffee if I have a choice.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:07 | 3281897 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

They are fucking pulling espresso shots. A retarded monkey can be trained to do that better than your average Starbucks employee. Anybody who knows anything about coffee knows how shitty Starbucks espresso is. They get paid commensurate with the value of the service they provide-- which is, not much. The only reason they get paid more in Norway is because Norway is awash in oil.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:00 | 3281601 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

As soon as someone brings the 14 oz. 'Grande' to market we'll know the coffee wars are really picking up steam.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:09 | 3281904 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Dunkin Donuts reduced their medium coffee from 16oz to 14oz at some point in the last few years. Sneaky fuckers.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:38 | 3282056 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

The not-so-stealthy inflation creep..  Bought some Breyers ice cream the other day, a rare treat in our house. The rectangular container has a narrower width and tapers down to a false bottom to offer 4 fewer ounces at the same, or higher, price.  This is happening with everything.  The grocery store does not have a paper COMEX market that can hide true inflation. Neither does the minimum wage trend - another establishment 'confession' of inflation in the disquise as a gift. 

Sneaky fuckers, indeed.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:00 | 3281604 Aegelis
Aegelis's picture

This is like comparing the prices of an NFL football.  Of course Americans will pay stupid-high prices for Starbucks more than tea-centric England.  Where's the Dunkin' Donuts Index?  Better still a necessity like gasoline/petrol.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:02 | 3281608 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

gallons of gas per hour of minimum wage index


Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:26 | 3281695 moonstears
moonstears's picture

Rex, Aegelis, "gas per hour of minimum wage index",would be quite telling,"brilliant!" idea there. Guess too we'd need to know subsidized info, workers per household avg, avg "petrol" consumption, etc.(no sarc, I know we're a tough crowd)

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:31 | 3281750 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Nothing significant is ever simple, is it?

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:50 | 3281823 moonstears
moonstears's picture

Indeed, Rex. I believe we'll see $6 gas in the USA soon, but carpools, tele commute options will be an in-con-venient, but necessary solution initially.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:40 | 3282072 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Price of gas in pre-1965 quarters or dimes. Simple.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:12 | 3281920 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

A Home Depot employee I know was moved from 8-hour shifts to 4-hour shifts, effectively doubling commuting costs. Now gas costs are a meaningful fraction of their take-home pay.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 17:03 | 3283207 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

more than twice as much tea than coffee per day in the UK, 165 million cups of tea a day v 70 million cups of coffee...compared to 63 million people in britain

the US drinks 350 million cups of coffee a day..for 313 million people

i'd say coffee cnsumption per head was identical, but the brits also drink two cups of tea! (can't find tea stats for the US..ok i lost interest..heh)

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:03 | 3281613 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

Fuck Starbucks. Home of the liberal fucking assholes who will pay $5 fucking dollars for a coffee and sit around and fucking talk about how fucking great a job Obama is doing and how we need to feed the fucking poor. Fucking clueless fucking pricks. I hope Starbucks is putting dry roasted fucking dog shit in their fucking acrid fucking piss. Fuckers.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:05 | 3281628 Gavrikon
Gavrikon's picture

Fuckin' A right!  What he said.  

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:41 | 3282073 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Alcohol addicts have AA.

Narcotica addicts have NA.

Gambling addicts have GA.

Sex addicts have Fucking A.

So Soup, how do you *really* feel about Starbucks?

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:25 | 3281719 Aegelis
Aegelis's picture

Switch to decaf brother.  After many cups of Starbucks, I've yet been compelled to vote democrat or withdrawl my charitable donations.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 23:52 | 3284448 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

12 out of 54 (words).


Too bad I can’t give it a +12 instead of just a +1

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:05 | 3281626 Floodmaster
Floodmaster's picture

Junk beans are always burned

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:06 | 3281632 kaiten
kaiten's picture

Complete nonsense. Prices in Europe are higher due to higher taxes, VAT primarily, not overvalued currencies.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:07 | 3281635 thismarketisrigged
thismarketisrigged's picture

i fucking hate coffee and i hope starbucks goes broke. i know it will not happen, but starbucks fucking sucks. 


fuck u starbucks.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:08 | 3281639 pragmatic hobo
pragmatic hobo's picture

Athens? really?

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:15 | 3281670 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

some societies rely on external stimulants more than others and so price accordingly. France might want to consider gov subsidies for RedBull, as that might be their last chance at a "productive" recovery.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:21 | 3281698 LeisureSmith
LeisureSmith's picture

Starbucks in Oslo? I have never seen one, but then again i'm not looking for one either.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:27 | 3281729 Aegelis
Aegelis's picture

1.) Apparently people get very emotional over coffee/Starbucks, especially if they don't drink it.  2.) I think the people who make these infographics just like to poke us with a stick to see how quickly we snap over all the fallacies.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:28 | 3281733 Grimbert
Grimbert's picture

The London / UK price is £2.50, which is still a pound more than I think reasonable for a coffee.


I won't drink the stuff because Starbucks is the only coffee I need to put sugar in it is so bitter. 


Also, for not much more than £3  I can buy a 20 fl oz pint of beer, so oz for oz I'd rather get drunk.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:35 | 3281763 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

I was a young man living in Seattle when Starbucks was a single coffee shop, and it was hardly the best or most popular one in town. The quality didn't improve over the last several decades, either.

McDonald's hamburgers suck, too.

Marketing is EVERYTHING because people are usually both vain and stupid.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:30 | 3281746 Uskatex
Uskatex's picture

There is no Italian city in the list. In fact, here in Italy an expresso typically costs 80 cents/1 Euro, and a cappuccino 20% more. A thing like the "Grande Latte" (btw, it is pseudo-Italian and means "Big Milk") would cost 40-50 cents more for the bigger amount of milk, but still much less than 4$, not to say 5-6, or even 9$!

Ah, and we have very few Starbuck shops, just in the big cities, frequented by foreigners and by Italians wishing to act as a foreigner...

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:16 | 3281939 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

And you forgot to mention how much better the coffee tastes in Italy. Because they use better beans, and the person standing at the machine actually knows how to properly maintain the machine, and how to properly pull an espresso shot.

And, 1 Euro is expensive. Back when they still used the lira, I remember getting espresso shots for 1200 lire at your typical corner bar, which was about 60 cents at the time.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 18:10 | 3283404 ForTheWorld
ForTheWorld's picture

I junked you because of the assumption that because it's Italy, they use better beans and people know what they're doing. Seeing as though the beans Italians use most likely come from the same places cafes in Australia get their beans (Ethiopia, Columbia, Guatemala, PNG etc), there's no advantage just because they're (the baristas) Italian. A trained monkey could learn how to pull a shot and maintain a machine. (No offence to Italians though).

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 16:50 | 3283147 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

same with the cuban section of miami airport...and its good too

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:42 | 3281790 Börjesson
Börjesson's picture

As far as I know, the only Starbucks in Stockholm is at Arlanda airport. Like at most airports, everything there is far more expensive than elsewhere in the city. If similar skewing factors exist for other places on the list, then this is probably a very poor index, that doesn't really tell us anything useful.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:56 | 3281846 lemarche
lemarche's picture


Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:47 | 3281820 clawsthatscratch
clawsthatscratch's picture

Good coffee = good beans and a french and easy to do (of course if you are too lazy go to starbucks ;))

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:53 | 3281836 lemarche
lemarche's picture


Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:18 | 3281951 fogcity1981
fogcity1981's picture

Seems to me that this sort of analysis is interesting but incomplete.  Don't you have to adjust for the all in cost of a barrista?  

A more interesting index would factor in the coffee at the local delivered price and the labor cost component at the local delivered price. 

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:18 | 3281952 impermanence
impermanence's picture

Just shows to go ya that ignorance is pandemic.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:29 | 3282006 CuriousPasserby
CuriousPasserby's picture

Ten bucks in Norway, wow! Many years ago a beer in a bar in Norway was $10. Wonder what it is now.

Is everybody else getting these damn blinking eyes ads? I train my eye to igore the ads so I have no idea what they are advertising , but they sure are anoying. Tyler, I hope you charge more for annoying ads. I prefer the ads for gold. They make me smile. And remind me to do more stacking.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:31 | 3282020 Floodmaster
Floodmaster's picture

Starbucks is a good first step from waiting room coffee machine.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:50 | 3282127 Oldrepublic
Oldrepublic's picture

I am a big fan of the Big Mac index, also like the Mercer index and the one from the Economist intelligence unit. Very interesting about which cities in the world are expensive and the ones that are cheap. Luanda in Angola is very, very expensive, lately Australian cities are among the most expensive in the world. UBS, the Swiss bank has a good index called prices and wages around the world.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 13:49 | 3282326 smacker
smacker's picture



I feel sure the price in São Paulo is wrong unless it's referring to downtown, not airport prices. I'll check in two weeks. I pay about R$12 (probably R$15 in two weeks) for a standard coffee in an airport coffee shop in São Paulo airport, I cannot believe that a Starbuck's cup would be 40% cheaper.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 14:40 | 3282542 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

Twenty five years ago I had a $5 cup of coffee in an SAS hotel. It was worth it.

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 15:57 | 3282925 laomei
laomei's picture

Comparing the costs of this crap is honestly retarded.  Be it big macs or starbucks.  Different markets get different marketing agendas, not a "one size fits all", and along with that goes pricing.  

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 16:48 | 3283140 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

and only 5% of the corporate taxes paid in any of the countries it sells coffee in, but 100% of the tax rate in Luxembourg...

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