When everything I eat in China is so inexpensive, why does my coffee cost so much?
Shown above is a screenshot of my payment app AliPay after paying for my Starbucks coffee.
What I bought was a venti caramel macchiato and it works out in my homeworld currency (Australian dollars) to be just shy of $8.
At first I questioned my memory of what things cost back in my home world of Australia, but I’m in New Zealand right now and I’m paying half that!
If I’m going out for a meal in Australia and I pay $20 for lunch, I’m not feeling too vexed when my hot, caffeinated delicious venti sized and flavored beverage costs under 50% of what I paid for the meal.
But when I go out for lunch in Shanghai and pay 32RMB for a meal (what I pay usually) or 28RMB (what I pay on weekends) it feels strange to always pay more than 100% of what it cost to eat to become re-caffeinated.
If nothing else it’s complete proof that I’m horribly caffeine addicted, what lunatic pays more for a coffee than a meal?
Without doing research or finding a related podcast I’m left to speculate wildly about the cause.
I personally feel myself concluding that the reason is because so few people drink coffee here when compared to the amount of people that drink coffee back home in the West.
When I worked in Australia the majority of our office drank coffee, easily more than half. Some of the others drank tea –
black tea with a splash of milk for Becky who’s watching her figure but sneaks a naughty biscuit anyway. Herbal tea for Margery who’s hip has been acting up but is excited for a good weekend because her son always calls on Saturday’s.
Finally there’s Trenton, the super fit gay part time spinning instructor who drinks fruit blended teas and has always had a rough night the night before.
The remaining portion of the office drinks water and talks constantly about burying the rest of us.
When I worked in the US nearly 100% of us drank coffee, enormous ones with up to 6 shots in cups the length of your arm. (Occasionally I exaggerate).
Whereas here in China I’m the only coffee drinker in my office, two of my friends drink it and literally everyone else drinks tea.
A Korean friend of mine drank cold tea from the fridge exclusively for the first 10 years of her life, she thought it was water until she was a tween.
Therefore I conclude that due to the fact that the only other people I see in Starbucks are well adorned rich people and super fly entrepreneurs making it big and business-typing on their notebooks I have to make my non-informed conclusion.
That coffee here is for foreigners, the wealthy and the fabulous young.
Oh God literally everyone in the queue is ordering tea. Bless my dehydrated soul.