Coffee: NZ's best and worst

19:35, Jul 16 2012
BEAN COUNTING: How much does a coffee cost in your part of the world?

Coffee and its price - something to get frothing at the mouth about? It appears so.

Despite a fall in international wholesale coffee bean prices of 50 per cent and milk 30 per cent in the last year, the retail price has changed little.

And some have even raised their prices.

Parliament's Copperfields increased the cost of a flat white from $4 to $4.30 on Monday, drawing howls of protest from political types and a twitter campaign which saw it quickly reversed.

So, in that spirit, we asked you where to find the cheapest and tastiest coffee in the country.

And the response has been overwhelming.


Scores of readers from Auckland to Wanaka have sent in their favourite places and prices, and the cheapest according to Luzinda Lo from Auckland was a flat white for $1 on the third floor of the Mid City building.

"Comes in a normal sized cup and rather decent-tasting too, I might add,'' she said.

Nandos in Rotorua was in second place, with three readers giving their $2 flat whites praise.

"It's pretty good," Lian Calitz said. While Janine Weyde said: "They are great value and taste".

The average coffee price in the country was $4 for a flat white and about $3.50 for a long black.

The majority of readers believed that was reasonably priced and said they would give up on caffeine if it went up to $5.


Financial commentator Bernard Hickey was urging café owners to adjust their prices as the raw material - milk and beans - as measured in the market was costing less.

"They would say that renting the premises, buying the machine and employing the baristas is a much bigger portion of their cost. It's fair enough," he said.

"But you got to remember a couple of years ago, they put up their prices at the same time as the GST increase by much more than the GST increase and cited higher coffee prices and milk prices.

"So my argument is cafes need to reflect those lower raw material prices in their own prices and certainly not increase prices."

Hickey encouraged coffee drinkers to question any jump in cost.

"Go back to your café owners and say why are you doing this when your raw material costs is falling," he said.

However, Mobile café business owner Jeff Nepier, from Auckland, said that coffee price from his suppliers had not gone down.

"Coffee went up last month for us, but it was only the second increase in three years. Sometimes milk is cheaper at the local dairy than what our milkman delivers. Takeaway cups cost about the same as three years ago," he said.

"We sell 390ml double shot brand name coffee for $4 and 290ml single shot for $3.50."

Among readers' suggestions, Jess Chaw, who has lived in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, said that "without a doubt" the best coffee she's had cost her $3.50 at 2 Stags Café in Timaru.

In Auckland, Chris Caskey said the Hollywood bakery on the corner of Mayoral Dr and Queen St made the best mochas.

"You can get a large for $4, small for $3.50, and a free muffin with every espresso purchased - nothing better in central Auckland".

While Midnight Espresso was a Wellington favourite with two readers naming it as the place to go, with a long or short black selling for $2.50.

"It's a good coffee every time," Rochelle Higham said.

* This story has been edited to remove an incorrect coffee price provided for Momento Cafe in Hamilton. They charge $5 for a regular double shot soy latte, not $8.