As the old saying goes, “one person’s luxury is another person’s super luxury.” That’s the takeaway from this new study published by Value Penguin, which takes a look at the cost of a Starbucks latte, exploring how extravagant the milky beverage is in 39 different countries. It’s the Big Mac Index for steamed milk and coffee roasted really pretty dark still, after all these years. To achieve this, the study adjusted the price of a latte in each country to match “the respective cost of a basket of goods, including food,” in order to “reflect the cost of other goods and services there compared with the U.S.”
The figure we show, then, essentially represents the sticker shock, from mild to major, that you’d feel if you lived in the country, making a local salary, and perused the prices at one of the local Starbucks. Put another way, it’s how pricey that drink would seem to a local latte drinker, in light of what most things cost in the country.
The study found that the relative price of a tall Starbucks latte is lowest in the United States–$2.75 on average–but the comparative cost varies pretty wildly in the other countries examined. Australia and the United Kingdom, for instance, have comparative costs only slightly above the American price, $2.86 and $2.88, respectively. Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, on the other hand, have prices breaking the eight-dollar mark.
But the far and away most extravagant latte is in Russia, where its comparative cost is a staggering $12.32. That’s the cost of four and a half American lattes, or put in other terms, one coffee run for the office.
A full list of comparative costs can be found here. The entire study is vastly interesting and gives a more global perspective to ideas of indulgence and extravagance. I can’t help but wonder how my own coffee habits would hold up were the relative costs two or three times what they currently are. I know my $1,500 a day Faberge Egg habit would certainly need some amending.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.