Most coffee drinkers in the U.S. have a sense of how pricey, or not, Starbucks seems. At an average of $2.75 at U.S. Starbucks outlets, a small (or “tall” in Starbucks-speak) hot latte is pricier than a regular cup of joe, even ordered from a coffee shop or restaurant. But it’s less costly than, say, a meal or an alcoholic drink when ordered out.
But how indulgent is Starbucks beyond our borders? To assess that, we took prices for the drink in 39 other countries and adjusted them to reflect the cost of other goods and services there compared with the U.S. (See the methodology below for more on how we generated this data.)
The results reveal that Starbucks is pricier, relatively speaking, in every country outside the U.S. But how much pricier it is varies a lot.
In some countries, a latte hits the wallet only a little harder than in the U.S. The froth-friendly nations include Australia, the U.K., New Zealand, and Canada. Here, Starbucks represents something less than a big indulgence.
But stepping up to the Starbucks counter in the most costly countries feels like a far bigger extravagance. Nothing matches the luxe indulgence of ordering a latte in Russia, where the tab would feel like spending $12 for the drink here at home. In the other pricier countries for Starbucks, including India, Indonesia, and Thailand, the sticker shock would be more akin to spending $7 or so at home.
These seeming splurges underline how inexpensive many other goods and services are in those countries. With bread, milk, or other staples less costly there than in the U.S., Starbucks seems like a big spend indeed. The figures may also explain why in many countries Starbucks is an exotic, status-laden chain--an embodiment, perhaps, of American affluence and indulgence.