How do coffee prices in Tallinn cafés compare to those in other big cities?

Coffee. Source: Michael Cole

As the popularity of cafés in Tallinn shows, Estonians love coffee. And, although prices have risen, the number of customers does not appear to have fallen. ETV show "AK Nädal" wanted to find out how current coffee prices in the Estonian capital compare to those in other big cities around the world.

Many Estonians are probably familiar with the low prices in Italian cafés, and in the Canary Islands too, for example, you don't have to spend much to get a cup of coffee.

"An Espresso, black coffee, coffee with condensed milk or a latte costs €1. A regular coffee with milk is €2 and an Americano is €1.20," said Judith Acosta Rodriguez, owner of La Cabana Café in La Palma, Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands government wants its businesses to use local raw materials, so imported coffee beans are subject to additional customs duties. Local cafés are also spared a so-called sales tax of 7 percent, while in mainland Spain, they have to pay 21 percent VAT.

To find out how much Estonians' favorites, black coffee and cappuccino cost elsewhere, ETV show "AK Nädal" took a small trip around the world.

"In Warsaw, a cappuccino costs 14.50 Zloty, or €3.27. And a small black coffee, espresso, costs 10 Zloty, or about €2.25. Pretty reasonable prices," said Epp Ehand, a journalist who visited a café in Warsaw.

"At Place Jourdan, a popular spot among Brussels Eurocrats, you have to pay €2.70 for a black coffee and €3.50 for a cappuccino. And if you want a cappuccino with herbal milk, you have to pay an extra 30 cents," said journalist Joosep Värk about the prices at cafés in Brussels.

"Around Washington D.C., the U.S. capital, coffee prices are pretty steep. A regular black coffee costs about €3, a cappuccino €4.50," said ERR's Washington correspondent Maria-Ann Rohemäe.

"We had two coffees at a café in downtown Stockholm. A cappuccino, which was small in their terms, cost €4.80 and the most common black coffee, which was also small, cost €2.80," said Margitta Otsmaa, who visited a café in Stockholm.

"When was the last time you paid three figures for a coffee? Iceland is the second most expensive country in the world after Switzerland. A cup of cappuccino at a café in downtown Reykjavik costs 765 Icelandic Krona, or €5.25," said Ave Häkli.

"No doubt you can get a coffee at Icelandic prices in some niche cafés in Estonia. In general, we're similar to Poland, because in the city center a small cup of cappuccino costs us €3.20 and a small black coffee €3," said ERR journalist Veronika Uibo.

The price of coffee is dictated by the market. However, it is also affected by the fair trade premium and, of course, the quality of the coffee beans. The choice of milk also has an impact.

"It's not everywhere in Europe that you can always drink coffee with fresh milk. For Estonians, it's unthinkable that I would make my coffee with UHT milk, but the advantages of UHT milk are actually that you don't have the storage costs in terms of refrigerators or electricity," explains Annika Andresen, business manager of café chain Caffeine Estonia.

When enjoying a coffee in a café, the customer is not just paying for the coffee and milk.

"We're talking about labor costs, the cost of training the workforce, renting, utilities and administrative costs, if the coffee machines break down – you name it. In fact, all of that has to be factored into the price," Andresen said.

With the price of renting space in the center of Tallinn up by around a fifth, enjoying a coffee in a café is now also more expensive. Nevertheless, the number of customers doing so is up 12 percent on year.

"I don't know whether people still don't feel this enough, or alternatively, whether it's a nice emotional thing that they don't want to let go of," Andresen said.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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