The standard price for a cup of coffee in Italy is €1, but in the UK, you can get charged anywhere between £1.50 and £4. Why is coffee

The standard price for a cup of coffee in Italy is €1, but in the UK, you can get charged anywhere between £1.50 and £4. Why is coffee so expensive in the UK?

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  1. It’s because drinking overpriced coffee, sitting outside on a rattan chair in the middle of the day while noodling away on a macbook or reading a pretentious book about the tao of fungus is FASHIONABLE.
    Have you noticed how other fashion items are also insanely expensive and over priced? My wife has a fake Chanel bag that she bought in Myanmar. It’s one of the “good” fakes and you really can’t tell the difference. The real bag costs about £4000! Hers cost around £20. Made from real leather and everything.
    Because bags are seen as fashionable they can be massively overpriced.
    The same is true of faddy coffees.
    Have you also noticed that you can’t walk into a shop and buy a “cup of coffee” any more? You now have to buy some signature named coffee dish which takes 14 minutes to brew, hiss, gurgle and spit and came out of the bum-end of a cat. If you do ask for a “cup of coffee” the assistant, sorry barista, will look at you like you are an alien from the planet Zarg and you just told her you came to kidnap all the cows in the world.
    There was a coffee shop in my home town long before it became fashionable and it barely survived by selling foods and doing deliveries of cakes. Now it has a roaring trade and they charge more for a cup of coffee than they used to charge for a whole cake.
    This is what you think you’re doing :

    The standard price for a cup of coffee in Italy is €1, but in the UK, you can get charged anywhere between £1.50 and £4. Why is coffee

    You’re buying into some kind of coffee culture. Only it isn’t actually a culture at all as you all sit around silently staring at your fashion rectangle (macbook) while trying to surreptitiously look at the people around you wondering if their shoes are more expensive than yours or made from organic plankton.
    This is why women go to expensive coffee shops :

    The standard price for a cup of coffee in Italy is €1, but in the UK, you can get charged anywhere between £1.50 and £4. Why is coffee

    To take inane selfies or immaculately posed pictures of tat on a table just so they can post on Instagram or Facebook about their “Me day”. I’m not being sexist here. Men are equally as likely to post pathetic “chilling at the cafe” photos as women, just possibly without the handbag.
    And finally this is what the owners of these conglomerate coffee giants are doing as they artfully extract money from you and then very quickly send it abroad to avoid paying corporate taxes :

    The standard price for a cup of coffee in Italy is €1, but in the UK, you can get charged anywhere between £1.50 and £4. Why is coffee

    It’s safe to say I am not a fan of coffee shops.

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  2. It’s like this here in Tenerife. A decent coffee, table service too, no having to go inside and ask for it – is around €1.20. You can sit as long as you want and just leave the money on the table when you leave. The same coffee in the UK is around £2.50 and you have to go and order and pay for it before you get it.

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  3. That’s a good question. You see, even in my country of Puerto Rico where we produce one of the finest quality coffees in the world there’s coffee shops that charge you $3-$5 for a latte (with taxes) and others charge you $1.50. It all depends on what coffee are you drinking.
    You can go to a general cafeteria and order a cup of coffee and you’ll get served some Yaucono which is the main general brand (which is a bunch of mixed coffee with a little bit of puertorrican beans).
    On the other hand, you can go to a coffeeshop like Finca Cialitos in El Viejo San Juan which offers you a cup of coffee that is 100% puertorrican – locally grown from his own farm in Ciales, PR. Here, you can pay about $3-$5 a latte because it’s really a very good coffee and the place is always full of customers.

    The standard price for a cup of coffee in Italy is €1, but in the UK, you can get charged anywhere between £1.50 and £4. Why is coffee

    I would say that most of the coffee you find in UK is expensive because it’s imported from places that are really far away and to get coffee beans to the UK consists of many shipping costs as for the other Euro countries are closer to the supplier. Also remember that coffee beans must be consumed fresh I’d say no longer than 2 weeks from roasting because they would lose their taste.

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  4. Great question. There are actually a few factors at play here, on both the supply and demand sides.

    The standard price for a cup of coffee in Italy is €1, but in the UK, you can get charged anywhere between £1.50 and £4. Why is coffee

    Supply . The biggest part of the cost of serving a cup of coffee is certainly not the coffee: that amounts to only 8p in a £2.20 cappuccino, compared to 16p for the cup, lid and stirrer. VAT is certainly significant (EU countries have similar top rates, but it’s possible that some apply reduced rates to coffee). However, by far the most significant cost is staff wages , followed by rent and business rates. British barista wages and café rents are indeed higher than in Italy, though in fact that’s not the key difference. Rather, it’s the difference in drinking culture that has the biggest effect. British coffee drinkers spend far longer on a coffee than Italians who order “un caffè” at the bar and drink it standing up, allowing Italian cafés to make more sales for the same costs. The opposite extreme is in Greece, where people sit over a single coffee for hours; as a result, Greece has some of the most expensive coffees in Europe, despite having lower salaries and wages than most other Western countries.
    Demand . The other main contributing factor is the differences in the social significance of coffee drinking, which can make coffee a luxury good in some places and a necessity good in others. While Italy has long consumed excellent coffee, drinking in cafés became widespread in the UK only relatively recently and is strongly associated with middle class culture. This has helped turn coffee into a status symbol — or at least, coffee with a sufficiently foreign name (a latte, an Americano, etc). This is why the Americano at the supermarket machine will cost more than the black coffee at the local greasy spoon: the former is a sign of sophistication, the latter just a drink.

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  5. It’s the market economy. Suppliers will charge as high a cost as possible if people will pay that cost.
    In Italy people won’t pay more for coffee, but people in the UK will. In the UK conversely tea is generally cheaper than coffee – even though the true costs are probably the same.
    want to make money? Find a way of convincing people that your cheap product is glamorous and exciting. Use all sorts of exiting foreign names. Find ways to get people to buy more than they really need. That’s why UK coffee seems to cost so much – we’ve been conned, and are coming ourselves, that our cappuccinos and lattes turn us into cool stylish Italians.

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  6. To add to the other answers, people drinking coffee don’t usually drink more than one or two and unless they drink quickly, leave, and are quickly replaced by a new customer who does the same, they don’t usually make much turnover, hence the high markup.
    There are a lot more people in a bar who will drink ten beers than people who will drink more than 3 coffees in a sitting.
    Of course, this only applies to licensed premises: cafés obviously sell more coffees than bars. But when I had a pub, the coffee drinkers weren’t particularly welcome as they took up space in which the boozers could have sat and spent all of their money.

    Eight O’Clock

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  7. Simple answer is everything is expensive here, the prices are just too fake & artificial and they will simply charge you £9.50 for lunch that taste awful.
    With coffee you are right you pay anything between £2.50 to £6 it’s a robbery

    Victor Allen’s

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  8. My view is that coffee in Italy (and Spain) is highly visible commodity priced entry product for a bar, and the 1 Euro short coffee is the necessary zero profit mechanism to buy footfall. The profit is made from alcohol and food.
    In the UK, the coffee is a large profit source, and the cost of bringing in footfall is in the comfy chairs in Costa.

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  9. Factor in the expensive rent in the UK also, (especially London) compared to Italy.
    I disagree with the notion that you are ‘buying into fashion’ and wanky coffee culture. That may very well be the truth to some extent, but at the heart of it, the cafes in Uk and London, especially the really good roasters and coffee makers, try their best to source the beans from sustainable farms. The most successful coffee barons in London, like that dude who made St. Ali, (from Australia actually) has established a carefully monitored supply chain right from the farms to the harvesters, roasters, importers, all the way to the cup you sip from in their establishments.
    I don’t even drink coffee but I am married to a passionate coffee addict and have learned a lot about pricing of coffee. If you want quality, and you want to pay people who grow it a decent wage, you can’t expect to pay one euro per cup. Not in London, anyway.

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  10. Supply and demand. If there’s high demand then prices will rise. The shops know how much they can charge. Motorway service stations are way more expensive as they have a captive market.

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