With people across the UK spending a whopping £5.8 billion in coffee outlets each year, we thought it was time to compare prices from three of the largest operators. The market continues to grow at great scale, with over 20,000 coffee outlets predicted to be operating by 2020. 1 in 5 of us visit a coffee shop daily and it works out to be an expensive habit if you look at it over the course of a year (3 cups a week would cost you over £500 over the 12 months!).
Costa Coffee Prices
With over 1,500 outlets across Britain, Costa Coffee
is the largest chain and it continues to grow each year. The prices are reasonable but the coffee strength isn’t as good as Nero if you like it strong, which means you’ll end up having to pay for an extra shot.
Americano – Small: £1.95, Medium: £2.20, Large: £2.40
Cappuccino – Small: £2.15, Medium: £2.45, Large: £2.65
Latte – Small: £2.15, Medium: £2.45, Large: £2.65
Espresso – Single: £1.45, Double: £1.80
is the second largest with just over 750 outlets, although it’s often assumed to be the biggest due to it’s global scale (which isn’t seen as much with Costa and Caffe Nero). It’s an American based company, unlike Costa which is operated out of the UK), with huge buying power which means it should be able to negotiate the best prices with supplies and then pass these savings on to you. This doesn’t appear to have happened though and prices are in now way the lowest in the market.
Americano – Small: £1.90, Medium: £2.10, Large: £2.30
Cappuccino – Small: £2.15, Medium: £2.50, Large: £2.75
Latte – Small: £2.15, Medium: £2.50, Large: £2.75
Espresso – Single: £1.45, Double: £1.75
Caffe Nero prices
With 530 outlets, Caffe Nero
is third on the list and has a loyal fan base due to the rich Italian coffee served, which tends to have a stronger taste than both Costa and Starbucks. It’s the place for serious coffee drinkers and the outlets really have a traditional ‘coffee house’ feel.
Americano –Small: £1.80, Medium: £2.10
Cappuccino – Small: £2.15, Medium: £2.45
Latte – Small: £2.15, Medium: £2.45
Espresso – Single: £1.40, Double: £1.70
How the coffee prices compare between the big three chains
Caffe Nero is the cheapest by 10p on the small size (15p compared to Costa Coffee) but ties with Starbucks for the medium. Costa is the most expensive of the three chains across all sizes.
There is no difference in the cost of getting a Latte or Cappuccino at each chain and they are 20-35p more expensive than an Americano. Between the chains the small was the same price across all three, with Starbucks being the most expensive in the medium and large size.
Again Caffe Nero came out as the cheapest for both a single and double-Espresso, with Costa Coffee being the most expensive overall.
Caffe Nero offers a discount for takeaway coffee, which works out to be 10-15p for each drink, unlike Costa Coffee and Starbucks which have standard prices whether you decide to drink it in the café or take it with you. All prices listed above are for ‘eat-in’ prices so take the discount into consideration if you usually get a takeout.
Loyalty schemes at the coffee shops
Caffe Nero has the simplest system with a card that you can get stamped for every coffee or hot drink bought. Both Costa Coffee and Starbucks use a plastic loyalty card system which is swiped at the till point – this has it’s advantages as you can track points online but it’s not as quick as the Caffe Nero system to see instantly how close you are to getting your free hot drink.
What you need to buy to get your free hot drink:
Caffe Nero – 10 drinks
Costa Coffee – 20 drinks
Starbucks – 15 drinks
Caffe Nero wins this one by a mile, with Costa giving out just 5 points for every £1 spent, which would equate to needing to spend £49 to get a free medium Latte or Capuccino.
So where should I get my coffee fix from?
If you love your Americano, avoid Starbucks as it’s the most expensive. Caffe Nero is the cheaper of the other two if you usually have more than one shot (they put 2 in as standard)
There’s not as much difference with the Lattes or Cappuccinos, although again Starbucks came out as most expensive overall.
If you love a pick-me-up shot of Espresso aim for Caffe Nero as overall it was the cheapest of the three chains.
The overall winner is Caffe Nero due to it’s great value prices and simple to use loyalty scheme. It is also the only chain to offer a discount for takeaway coffee and you don’t have to pay extra for shots as there’s already 2 as a minimum. If you’re an Americano drinker you could save around 20p per drink if you get a takeout, which would save 60p a week if you have the average of 3. It doesn’t sound much but over the cause of a year it’s £30 (around £20 with the other drinks) – enough to go out and treat yourself to a slap up dinner. You’ll also get your free coffee quicker via the loyalty card – clear winner!