Likbez: Do You Really Get What You Pay For?

Independent MediaAll Moscow coffeehouses offer pricey coffee drinks.
When the first Starbucks in Russia opened at the Khimki Mega mall last September, much was made of the cost of the most expensive coffee drink on the menu. At 230 rubles, a venti mocha cost the equivalent of $9, while the charge for the same drink in New York was only $4.70. Today, 230 rubles is worth nearly $10, but that hasn't lowered the Russian price. At 75 rubles, or $3.25, a tall filter coffee at Starbucks in Moscow is very much in line with market prices. Although Starbucks does have the most expensive mocha in town, several local chains offer beverages in that price range. Local market leader Coffee House charges 79 rubles for a small "American coffee" and 129 rubles for a large mocha. The most expensive item on the Coffee House menu is a large hot chocolate, which, like the Starbucks mocha, comes in at 230 rubles. Coffeemania also has a drink for 230 rubles – their Caribbean hot chocolate, made with special Swiss chocolate and rum raisin syrup. Filter coffee at Coffemania only comes in one size and costs 149 rubles. You can upgrade to a mocha for 50 rubles more. At the popular Coffee Bean, a regular size filter coffee is 71 rubles and a mocha is 141 rubles. The most expensive coffee drink at this coffeehouse is a mega cappuccino for 161 rubles. And at Shokoladnitsa, 250 ml of filter coffee sells for 89 rubles, a mocha the same size for 149 rubles, and the exotic-sounding banana caramel latte, the most expensive coffee drink they offer, for 169 rubles.