Forbes published a story titled Asia’s Most Expensive Cup Of Coffee that claims, based on data from a Mercer survey, that our fair city has the highest price for java (my highlights):
China’s massive capital city tops our list of where you’ll find the 20 most expensive cups of coffee in Asia. According to data from consultancy Mercer’s annual cost-of-living study, a cup of coffee plus tip from a reputable global brand can run a java-drinker $7.17 in Beijing, population 14 million. Other cities where a cup of joe costs more than five bucks include Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, and four more mainland Chinese cities: Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang and Shenzhen.
I read this while sipping a “bottomless” cup of coffee in the cozy confines of Union Bar & Grille in Beijing. Price: RMB20. In fact, I can name a dozen places within a five-minute walk–and where I am in Sanlitun is not by any means the cheapest area of the city–where I can get a coffee for less than RMB30. And where the staff would be surprised by any attempt to leave a “tip“, especially at a “reputable global brand” such as Starbucks.
Could I find a cup for RMB50 if I wanted to? Sure. But that’s not the point, at least given how Forbes describes Mercer’s research methodology:
If, for example, there is no Starbucks in a certain location–like Karachi, Pakistan–researchers will take into account the price of a cup of coffee at an upscale hotel, [Mercer's Marie-Laurence] Sepede says.
Beijing does have Starbucks outlets, plenty of them, and the average coffee is nowhere near RMB50. And even if it didn’t have Starbucks, how would an “upscale hotel“–where a coffee can cost more than RMB50–be an effective substitute? I dunno…
Ironically, I’m just about to put a post by coffee lover Sarah Peel about the five top spots to get a coffee in Beijing. In 10, 9, 8..