Swiss coffee prices drop for the first time ever

The cost of a cup of coffee in Switzerland has dropped for the first time - although not everyone in the country is set to benefit.

Swiss coffee prices drop for the first time ever
Photo: Depositphotos

The cost of living in Switzerland is a major topic on The Local, with everything from rent to international schools among the most expensive anywhere in Europe. 

But it’s not all bad news – with new figures revealing the average price of a cup of coffee is on the decrease across Switzerland. 

Figures produced by Cafetiersuisse – a Swiss industry association for caterers specialising in the field of coffee – have shown the average cost of a cup of coffee in 2019 was CHF4.22 – three cents cheaper than 2018 figures. 

The study compared prices of Switzerland’s favourite coffee – the Café Crème – and found that, somehow, it had gotten cheaper. 

Read: New maps reveal where in Switzerland the rental prices are highest

There is a major caveat however, for Italian and French-speaking Swiss – the price decrease was only measured in German-speaking Switzerland. 

This is the 32nd year Cafetiersuisse has measured coffee prices in Switzerland. The study took into account 650 cafes, bakeries and bistros across the German-speaking part of the country. 

Image: Depositphotos

Not all price cuts are created equal

Coffee is cheaper on average, but it’s not uniform. Competition in urban areas has brought average prices down – while prices in rural parts of Switzerland have remained the same. 

Cafetiersuisse says the major reason for the decrease is the lower cost of coffee beans, which is lower than it has been for the previous 14 years. 

Have your say: Our readers on how to save money raising children in Switzerland

More price cuts on the horizon?

So will the good times continue to roll? Unfortunately for coffee lovers, it’s unlikely we will see a Café Crème under CHF4 anytime soon. 

Aside from raw materials, another major factor in coffee costs is wages in the hospitality sector. With the industry still needing to negotiate the minimum wage for next year, there’s a chance prices could go up again. 

Read: What you need to know about the minimum wage in Switzerland 



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Why rents in some parts of Switzerland are now set to increase sharply

Bad news for many tenants: from Friday, their rents could go up by as much as 3 percent, as the Swiss government raises rates applicable to lease contracts.

Why rents in some parts of Switzerland are now set to increase sharply

The reference mortgage rate valid for determining rents throughout Switzerland has increased by 0.25 percentage points and now stands at 1.5 percent, the Federal Housing Office (BWO) announced on Friday.  

This rate plays a role in determining rents in Switzerland, because when it climbs, mortgages become more expensive for landlords, who then can pass the additional cost on to their tenants.

“As a result, landlords have, in principle, under tenancy law, the right to increase the rent by around 3 percent, on the condition, however, that the current rent is based on the old reference rate of 1.25 percent that has been in effect since March 3rd, 2020,” the BWO said.

Does this mean your rent will now go up?

It depends on where you live and some other factors as well.

Currently, 54 percent of rental contracts in Switzerland are based on that rate.

Regionally, however, even a larger number of rentals are affected.

In the Zurich area, as well as in central Switzerland, for instance, more than 60 percent of rental contracts are based on a 1.25-percent reference rate.

In the Bern region, as well as in northwestern parts of the country, that proportion is just over 53 percent, while in the western and southern cantons (which include Geneva and Vaud), less than half of rental contracts are tied to the reference rate.

If, however, your rent is still based on the old reference interest rate of 1.5 percent, “a rent increase motivated by the rise in the reference interest rate is not admissible,” according to BWO.

What will happen now?

If you fall under the category of tenants whose rent is based on the 1.25-percent rate (as explained above), expect to receive a letter from your landlord of management company acting on their behalf, informing you of the increase.

What if your rent goes up by more than 3 percent?

Your landlord will have to explain why this is so, but if the reason is not legitimate, you have the right  to challenge the decision.

You can do so by a registered letter to the BWO within 30 days of signing the lease or receiving the notice of the increase. 

Their address is: Hallwylstrasse 4, 3003 Bern

READ ALSO: How do you know if your Swiss rent is too high — and how can you challenge it