Coffee prices: Woman shocked at 'preposterous' AU$8.90 soy latte in Sydney

Screenshots from Traci's video about her expensive coffee
The price of the coffee has been branded as "obscene" and "preposterous". Photo credit: TikTok / @migrationlawyer

For some people, coffee is the be-all and end-all of their day-to-day existence. Without that post-alarm brew, how am I expected to function? How can I make it through an afternoon without my lunchtime Americano? 

The beverage also brings people together: colleagues bond over coffee-collecting excursions, and chatting over a cup of Joe at a cute café is a popular pastime for friends and couples alike. 

But how much would you be willing to pay for that all-important cuppa?

One Melbourne woman was gobsmacked after she was charged AU$8.90 (NZ$9.50) for a latte in Sydney's inner-city precinct of Barangaroo. 

In a clip posted to her TikTok earlier this week, the woman, named Traci, shared her shock at the jaw-dropping cost for a cup of java

According to the caption, Traci - a migration lawyer - had purchased the beverage at a café inside Sydney's Crown Towers, a five-star luxury hotel.

"OMG, I just got charged $8.90 for a cup of coffee," she captioned the clip.

"At Crown Towers, Sydney. Also, it was average."

In the video, which has amassed almost 150,000 views in three days, Traci shared her receipt as evidence. The café had charged her $1 extra for soy milk, $1 extra to upgrade her coffee to a large size and $0.80 for a Sunday service fee. An extra $0.10 was also added as a credit card processing fee.

Before the additional charges, a standard small latte would have still cost Traci AU$6 (NZ$6.50). 

Speaking to 7 News, Traci said she "didn't mind too much" about the price, but was very aware that the drink cost "more than usual".

The clip has quickly gone viral since it was shared on Sunday, with some questioning why she had bothered to pay the exorbitant price.

"It's not like the price is displayed anywhere," Traci responded, adding that she usually makes her own coffee at home, but had decided to treat herself to a brew considering she was on holiday. 

Most people were simply shocked at the price, with one stating: "OMG that's preposterous. What's going on?" 

Others reasoned that inflation was probably the culprit, with one sharing: “Coffee prices are getting obscene - $7 just to have it over ice the other day."

Rising coffee costs across the ditch have been well-documented in recent weeks. Following a sharp increase in freight and shipping costs partly due to the ongoing pandemic, cafés are expected to hike the price of coffee - and New Zealand is not exempt. 

Speaking to the ABC, Cafe Owners and Baristas Association of Australia president, David Parnham said the price for an average flat white in Aus could jump to AU$7 (NZ$7.50) by the end of the year.

"The cost of shipping has become just ridiculous," he told the ABC.

"It's nearly five times the container prices of two years ago due to global shortages of containers and ships to be able to take things around the world."

Speaking to RNZ last week, Joe Stoddart from Wellington's Havana Coffee Works said the cost of coffee in Aotearoa is set to skyrocket

"We've got a scenario where there was a frost in Brazil last year, which meant that heaps of coffee got damaged," he explained. 

"Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world and it means that there's a limit on how much high quality coffee there is to buy... that was coupled with coming out of a drought and then you've got shipping delays and prices in some situations around the world [are] quadrupling.

"Right now for producers, it's hard to even get your hands on a container that's food grade, let alone book something that's going to come to this part of the world.

"You've got a scenario where all costs are going up because of social distancing in developing countries, [which are] coffee-producing countries, as well as what we're going through here in Australia and New Zealand. The price of diesel is going up.

"All in all, the costs are going through the roof."