How Many Bucks? Here’s What South Africans Are Paying At Their First Starbucks

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Few overseas chains and brands have galvanized hype and attention like the world’s best-known coffee company, and South Africans have been obsessing over how much they’ll pay for their first cup of Starbucks when it debuts its first sub-Saharan Africa store in Johannesburg Thursday.

On social media, some South African said they would be willing to pay the chain’s legendary high prices for the novelty of having a Starbucks coffee, but after that…who knows?

Taste Holdings, which has a 25-year franchise licence agreement for South Africa with the Seattle-based Starbucks, promised that product pricing would be aligned with “current premium offerings” in the local market, MoneyWeb reported.

Starbucks revealed its much anticipated pricing structure Wednesday at a pre-opening event, according to BusinessTech.

Coffees will come in three sizes — tall (small), grande (medium), and venti (large). It’s confusing.

A tall fresh-brewed coffee costs South Africans 17 rand ($1.20US); a tall caffe latte costs 27 rand ($1.90US); and a tall macchiato costs 32 rand ($2.25US).

When you compare these prices to a U.S. Starbucks coffee menu, they sound cheap:

In the U.S., a tall fresh-brewed Starbucks costs $1.75; a tall caffe latte costs $2.75; and
a tall macchiato costs $3.55, according to HackTheMenu.

Yes, South African Starbucks coffee sounds cheaper than in the U.S., until you consider how much people earn in South Africa.

South Africa’s gross domestic product per capita (GDP divided by population) was $6,483 in 2014 compared to $54,629 in the U.S., according to WorldBank.

Thanks to an immensely powerful brand, Starbucks is a destination in its own right, MoneyWeb reported. People will take a detour to get their fix.

Far more interesting than pricing is where Starbucks will actually open stores. We know the location of the first two: Rosebank (not quite at the mall, but more than close enough) and at the Mall of Africa on April 28.

The Rosebank location is smart. It’s on the corner of Tyrwhitt and Cradock, sort of diagonally across from the FNB. That’s right next door to both the Mall of Rosebank and the Zone. And, crucially, it’s perfect for the hordes of commuters heading to the various head offices in the mornings (and back home in the afternoons).

Along with coffees, the Starbucks stores will serve cakes and pastries. Here are a few other prices South Africans will pay at Starbucks:

Tall cappuccino, 27 rand ($1.90US)
Caffe Americano 22 rand ($1.55US)
Espresso 17 rand ($1.20US).

For more on South Africa’s Starbucks opening, read this AFKInsider report.