The price of coffee in London – 2015 edition

The price of coffee in London – 2015 edition

For the last two years (2013 & 2014) I’ve published a simple analysis on the prices of coffee in London, based on the data collected by Allegra for the London Coffee Guide. Kindly, they’ve once again sent me the breakdown so let’s dig in and see how things are changing across London year to year…

Espresso pricing

2013 Vs 2014 Vs 2015
Year 2013 2014 2015
Lowest Price £1.30 £1.50 £1.50
Highest Price £2.60 £2.60 £3.00
Average Price £1.89 £1.99 £2.03
Mode Price £2.00 £2.00 £2.00

Surprisingly not much of a change. It is hard to find much data but it seems that the 2% rise in the average price is exactly on trend with inflation for consumer goods in the food/restaurant world in the UK.

Espresso by region

Here we’ll have a look at espresso drinks by region of London, comparing them to last year. Here you can see the change in prices from this year to last, and also the change in ranking for price for each of the 11 regions:

Espresso Prices 2014 Vs 2015
Region Espresso (£) Variance (%) Rank (11) Variance
East London £1.97 4.2% 10 0
Farringdon/Clerkenwell £2.16 4.3% 3 ⇡1
Holborn/Bloomsbury £2.14 2.4% 4 ⇣1
Inner East/Shoreditch £1.99 1.5% 7= 0
North London £1.99 2.6% 7= ⇡2
Soho £2.23 5.7% 1 ⇡1
South East £1.83 2.2% 11 0
South West £1.98 -2.0% 9 ⇣3
The City £2.05 4.6% 6 ⇡2
West End £2.17 0.0% 2 ⇣1
West London £2.09 3.0% 5 0

A few interesting bits here. Soho is now the most expensive place to drink espresso in London, taking the top spot from the West End. Price in Soho went through the largest increase in the city too – so I’d infer from this that Soho is probably the most difficult place to sell coffee in London. Rents are painfully high, competition is fierce and I think prices reflect the high costs of doing business there.

Also worth noting is the South West of London, that went through a price decrease. This might be a quirk of the data – it is unlikely that anyone lowered their pricing, but we might be looking at a number of new cafes opening with lower pricing. I’m not sure that this is a good thing. The data next year should be pretty indicative. I’d wager the prices in the region go back, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Flat White by Region

Let’s have a look at the flat white pricing by region in London:

Flat White Prices 2014 Vs 2015
Region Espresso (£) Variance (%) Rank (11) Variance
East London £2.49 -0.8% 10 ⇣1
Farringdon/Clerkenwell £2.71 5.9% 3 ⇡3
Holborn/Bloomsbury £2.69 1.1% 4 ⇣1
Inner East/Shoreditch £2.61 -0.8% 6  ⇡2
North London £2.53 1.2% 8 ⇡2
Soho £2.73 3.8% 1= ⇡4
South East £2.46 5.6% 11 0
South West £2.50 -2.3% 9 ⇣2
The City £2.65 -4.0% 5 ⇣4
West End £2.73 0.0% 1= ⇡1
West London £2.59 1.6% 7 ⇡1

Interesting to see the South West also drop in price, but not as dramatically as prices in The City. Again, I’m hesitant to read too much into this, because there are opportunities for the data to be skewed. I take the cheapest price listed for comparison, so if cafes are introducing smaller sizes this could also push prices down.

Harder to explain is pricing in The City. Espresso prices leapt up (on average) but prices for flat whites dropped.

As a little notable bit of data, I should disclose the number of businesses within each region. This could be taken as a distribution of speciality coffee, based on cafes Allegra have designated speciality:

Number of Cafes per region
Region Cafes
East London 31
Farringdon & Clerkenwell 7
Holborn & Bloomsbury 7
Inner East/Shoreditch 19
North London 22
Soho 12
South East London 21
South West London 13
The City 14
West End 24
West London 14

In some ways I’m a little surprised that East London tops the charts, but then again the middle of London is so subdivided, while East London covers a wide geographic area. I think it is far to say that South West and West London remain the two unconquered areas of the city when it comes to population density vs great coffee.

Last year I referenced the Standard Deviation for both espresso and flat whites across the city. I thought, for a last table, that I should break that down and look at that too.

Standard Deviation of Espresso & Flat White pricing
Region Espresso STDEV  Flat White STDEV
East London  £0.16 £0.14
Farringdon/Clerkenwell  £0.29 £0.16
Holborn/Bloomsbury  £0.22 £0.17
Inner East/Shoreditch  £0.22 £0.16
North London  £0.16 £0.24
Soho  £0.20 £0.15
South East  £0.23 £0.17
South West £0.22 £0.15
The City  £0.20 £0.18
West End  £0.31 £0.18
West London  £0.21 £0.17

I was surprised that espresso pricing is a lot more variable than flat white pricing. I was also surprised that the lowest variance for espresso pricing was in North London, which had the highest variance for flat white pricing. I think the implication is that if you like espresso and are price driven, the West End may be the most expensive but you can find cheaper coffee if you look for it.

Again – I don’t have permission to disclose the full data (though it is available in the book if you want it), but if you have questions then ask me on twitter.