When traveling abroad, it's a no-brainer that ordering champagne or even wine might put a dent in your wallet. But coffee? Not likely. Well, think again.
It turns out that a coffee shop in Venice sold a couple cups of joe that were on the pricey side, at least high enough to get one customer irate in late July. A political campaign worker named Juan Carlos Bustamente freaked over a $50 charge involving two coffees and a couple bottles of water to the point where he posted his complaint on Facebook.
Put in perspective, reportedly the most expensive cup of coffee in the world is in a Dubai coffee shop, which charges $68. But that's in an oil-rich kingdom dripping in cash, thanks to its influence on OPEC. Italy, on the other hand, reputedly has the cheapest coffees in the world, where even the most exquisite cup of cappuccino will set customers back roughly 1.20 Euros, or $1.50 in Rome.
Bustamente's lament was greeted by outraged coffee drinkers who shared the post at least 10,000 times and attracted worldwide attention. But it's not the first time the targeted vendor Caffe Lavena, which has been around in Venice since 1750, has been taken to task over its pricing policy.
As for why the shop's coffee was exorbitantly costly, a spokesperson summed much of it up in three words: location, location, location. For starters, the cafe's situated on St Mark's Square corner, the site of some of the priciest real estate in Venice, especially with the shop's proximity to the tourist-friendly St. Mark's Basilica façade. It's also located on the sunniest portion of the square and right by the orchestras that regularly perform on the famed piazza.
In other words, if patrons choose to sit in that spot while taking in a cup or two from Caffe Lavena, be prepared to pay big time. The spokesperson added that the vendor does offer coffee at $1.50, but only if customers order inside at the bar.
While Venice has a reputation for being an expensive tourist trap, Caffe Lavena hasn't been the only establishment accused of using the piazza as a cash cow. Other eateries in the area have also been the source of similar complaints to the point where Luigi Brugnaro, Venice's mayor wants to launch an investigation concerning the pricing behavior.