Independents beat Starbucks for valueWhich? finds you could save over £100 a year

24 January 2008

A cup of coffee in a Caffe Nero cup

Caffe Nero's standard practice is two shots of espresso

Independent coffee shops are often better value than big chains such as Starbucks, Which? reveals today.

Our team of researchers visited 45 coffee shops around the UK to record prices of four popular products – a medium-sized cappuccino, a single-shot espresso, a pain au chocolat and a chicken salad sandwich.

But, while market leaders such as Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero might have the most branches, we found that, overall, independent coffee shops offered the best value.

Of the chains, Caffè Nero proved cheaper than Starbucks and Costa Coffee for a cappuccino and a pastry.

Cappuccino

For example, you’ll pay an average £1.48 for a medium-sized cappuccino in an independent coffee shop compared with £2.29 in Starbucks.

If you buy a cappuccino on your way to work three days a week, you could save £126 a year by choosing an independent coffee shop over Starbucks.

And while Starbucks coffees might be huge, in some cases you could just be paying for extra hot water.

In Caffè Nero, you get a double shot of espresso as standard in regular and large coffees (although not in espressos themselves), rather than the single shot you get in Starbucks and Costa Coffee, which we think makes Caffè Nero better value.

Better value

Which? Assistant Editor Nick Cheek said: ‘With most people picking a café for convenience, it’s not surprising that the “big three” are the most popular destinations.

‘But our research shows it could be worth going a few minutes out of your way to an independent for coffee.

‘If you are a coffee shop regular, or watching your pennies, you could definitely save money.’