Starbucks Brewed Tea or Coffee?

I’ve been frequenting Starbucks a lot lately and my default drink is the Pike Place Roast or if I feel like treating myself, I go for a non-fat latte. However, I have been telling myself for the longest time now that I should probably stop drinking too much coffee. Caffeine does help me focus sometimes but I don’t want to be dependent on the stuff, I’ve also read somewhere that it doesn’t help when your work demands creativity. Furthermore, I attended a nutrition workshop and watched a documentary where it says that coffee is actually bad for you (a blog post for another time) – that was what finally convinced me to stop, well at least for a couple of weeks to see if it makes any difference in my productivity or general well-being. So for lunch today, instead of ordering my usual cup of java, I ordered Green tea at Starbucks . . . which is kind of weird for me as I haven’t done it before. I feel as though I’m ordering something off the menu and imagine being kicked out of there because I have offended the barista.

In any case, I got my drink and sipped, it really wasn’t all that bad – I could probably get used to this, which in turn got me thinking . . . I paid around $1.95 (plus tax) for a grande, it’s the same price as a tall. The venti costs more though, which is interesting – do they put 2 tea bags in a venti cup or is this just Starbucks charging you for hot water? And then, I thought some more and got curious as to which drink makes more profit for Starbucks? Or more importantly, which one is getting ripped off more (let’s be honest, Starbucks is ripping everybody off), the coffee drinker? or the tea drinker? So I did what any normal tech-savvy person would do, I googled it. I didn’t get any answers so I decided to find out on my own.

First off, I went to the Starbucks store and looked up both products.

Starbucks Pike Place Roast Starbucks Tazo Full-leaf Tea

Starbucks Pike Place Roast 1lb. bag are selling at $11.95. Starbucks recommends that you put 10g of ground coffee for every 6oz. cup of water. There is 453g to the pound so if my math is correct – 11.95/(453/10) = $0.26/6 oz. cup. A “tall” Starbucks cup is 12 oz. so a tall medium roast costs roughly around $0.52 if you were to make it yourself. Let’s assume this is Starbucks cost to make it as well. In the store I frequent, the price of this drink is around $1.79. So Starbucks makes around $1.27(1.79-0.52) on this drink.

Starbucks Tazo Full-leaf tea bags are $6.95/15 tea bags. So flexing my math muscles again we get 6.95/15 = $0.46/tea bag. Like I mentioned earlier, a “tall” and a “grande” are the same price at my Starbucks store, and it costs $1.95. It seems that Starbucks makes $1.49(1.95-0.46) on the tea.

While it does look like the tea is costing me more, approximately $0.22 more – it lasts longer, as I usually pour a second cup of hot water on the same tea bag and it still tastes fine. Am not sure how the refill works for tea though, do they give me a new tea bag or just refill the hot water?? I’ve had free refills on my coffee before but it is very rare as you have to drink it all in-store to qualify for the free refill. For the tea, I could just grab it and go – and it’ll last me almost the entire day. It’s also good for me, so I guess I will stick with it, at least for the moment!

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