Tauranga coffee drinkers could be paying as much as Aucklanders and Wellingtonians for their fix of caffeine.
An unscientific survey carried out by the Bay of Plenty Times showed large double shot flat white coffee prices surveyed from six popular coffee joints in Tauranga ranged from $4.50 to nearly $6.
The most expensive, at $5.80, was from the nation-wide cafe chain Robert Harris in the heart of the Tauranga CBD, while Boutique cafe Me and You charged the cheapest at $4.50.
The size of the cup varied from cafe to cafe.
When the Bay of Plenty Times calculated the cost per ml for each large flat white coffee, the most expensive was the Dry Dock at 1.34c per ml and the cheapest was McDonald's cafe, McCafe, on Cameron Rd, even though the McCafe coffee at $4.90 came in at second most expensive behind Robert Harris when comparing costs by the cup.
And the Robert Harris coffee, even though it was the most expensive cup, was also the biggest cup at 470ml.
Robert Harris owner Guy Irwin said the quality of coffee and portion size were important.
"You're getting a proportionate quantity of everything, you're not getting a weak coffee but it should be a nice, strong, hearty coffee," Mr Irwin said.
All 42 Robert Harris cafes around the country sourced the same, uniform blend of coffee distributed from "head office".
McDonald's Tauranga Group owner/operator John Warder said the cafe's reputation was building at a tremendous rate by using "cream-of-the-cream" equipment.
"We run a La Marzocco coffee machine and they're one of the most expensive coffee machines you could buy but they produce the most stunning coffees," Mr Warder said.
Dry Dock's coffee was the smallest cup in the survey at 350ml.
Dry Dock owner Sandra Johnson said it used organic roasted beans and organic milk.
Sober Camel barista Liz Jones said there was an art behind making coffee and was happy with its price and size.
Elizabeth Cafe and Larder owner Annemarie Camble did not want to comment.
Locals Pauline and Stuart Wood, whom the Bay of Plenty Times spoke to at Excelso cafe in Third Ave (not featured in the survey) said they would not pay more than $5 for a coffee.
"That's almost 10 bucks for two coffees. Who's going to pay that?" Mr Wood asked.
He said the atmosphere of a nice coffee shop was just as important as the taste of a good coffee.
"It's not just a coffee, it's sitting around and having a chat," he said.
His wife Pauline said: "It's just a bit of time out and you go for the atmosphere and surroundings.
"I wouldn't go to, like, a foodcourt and have a coffee because you don't get the atmosphere. It does come down to more than just a coffee," she said.