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Survey Ranks the World's Most Expensive Coffee Cities

Coffee. It's what makes the modern workforce run. But where can you get the world's most (and least) expensive cup 'o Joe? I know this topic is really perking you up, so let's pour it on!

Online office supply company Service Partner ONE has just released its 2016 Coffee Price Index, which tells us which cities around the world offer the best value for our coffee money. But first, we must cue the soundtrack of our work lives.

How on earth did the researchers create this index? By drinking copious amounts of coffee, I presume. But they also averaged and ranked the cost of four different types of coffee. These include the coffee we get in the office (if we dare); a Grande Latte from Starbucks; a medium cappuccino from an independent coffee shop; and the coffee we brew for ourselves at home. The survey sample included 75 cities from 36 countries.

The World's Most (and Least) Expensive Coffee Cities
So what's the skinny on our skinny latte costs? Let's start by sourcing the survey results globally instead of locally. The cheapest cup of coffee can be found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This makes sense because Rio is near to where much coffee is grown. (Yes, I realize that I could phrase this sentence better, but I still need more coffee this morning.)

After Rio, the top 10 "cheapest cup of coffee" cities are Sao Paulo, Lima, Milan, Seville, Ha Noi, Valencia, Guatemala City, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

Zurich, Switzerland ranks as the most expensive coffee city in the world. In fact, four out of the five most expensive coffee cities in the survey are in Switzerland. Rounding out the list are Bern, Basel, Copenhagen (Denmark), and Zurich.

To put it all in perspective, a Grande Starbucks latte costs around $1.45 (US) in Rio de Janiero while it costs around $6.89 (US) in Zurich.

How U.S. Cities Rank On Coffee Costs
Who drinks the most coffee? The Finns, who drink a staggering 9.6 kg per capita annually of coffee. I am not surprised at all by this finding. As the daughter of two Finnish-Americans, I can attest to the Finns' keen love of coffee. The coffee pot was always on at my parents' house -- even into the wee hours of the morning! -- and it was filled to the rim with Maxwell House light roast. They drank it black, with a little sugar, and brewed a new, 12-cup pot for afternoon pastries that they split between the two of them. No milk, and never decaf. Who drinks decaf? Pffft. That's not even real coffee!

I remember taking my elderly parents to Starbucks once (and only once). I bought them both a grande black coffee. They added sugar and took a small sip to a bossa nova beat. They both grimaced and pushed their cups away. Would I take it back to the counter and ask the (confused) barista to pour half of the coffee out and refill the cup with warm water? This coffee is way too strong, like engine oil! There, that's a little better. It's still too strong, though. We don't know how you drink this stuff.

But back to the survey. You might have notice the total absence of U.S. cities on either top 10 list. Seattle, the home of Starbucks and hipster coffee snobs, ranks #50. Seattle is followed by Chicago (#51), Houston (#54), New York City (#57), Miami (#58), Los Angeles (#59) and San Francisco (#61).

So, there you go, business travelers! Your double half-caff take on coffee costs around the globe. To read the survey, click here. I need another cup of coffee.


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