Costa Coffee

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Costa Coffee
Industry Coffee shop
Founded 1971; 46 years ago (1971)
London, England
Founder Bruno Costa
Sergio Costa
Headquarters Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England
Number of locations
Increase 3,401 (2016)
Area served
Key people
Dominic Paul (CEO)
Products Coffee, tea, sandwiches and iced drinks
Revenue Increase £1.167 billion (2016)[1]
Increase £153 million (2016)[1]
Parent Whitbread PLC

Costa Coffee is a British multinational coffeehouse company headquartered in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Whitbread. It is the second largest coffeehouse chain in the world behind Starbucks and the largest in the UK.[2]

Costa Coffee was founded in London in 1971 by the Costa family as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops. Acquired by Whitbread in 1995, it has since grown to 3,401 stores across 31 countries. The business has 2,121 UK restaurants, over 6,000 Costa Express vending facilities and a further 1,280 outlets overseas (including 395 in China).[1][3]


Italian immigrant brothers Bruno and Sergio Costa founded a coffee roastery in Lambeth, London, in 1971, supplying local caterers. The family had moved to England in the 1960s.[4][5] Costa branched out to selling coffee in 1978, when its first store opened in Vauxhall Bridge Road, London.

In 1985, Sergio bought out Bruno's share of the company. Bruno went on to found a tableware company.[6] By 1995, the chain had 41 stores in UK.[7] In 1995, the business was acquired by Whitbread, UK's largest hotel and coffee shop operator, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary. In 2009, Costa opened its 1,000th store in Cardiff. In December 2009, Costa Coffee agreed to acquire Coffee Heaven for £36 million, adding 79 stores in central and eastern Europe.[8]



A Costa Coffee branch in Forster Square Retail Park, Bradford
A standard Costa Coffee branch in Cyprus

Costa Coffee operates 2,121 outlets in the United Kingdom as of May 2016. Internationally, it operates 1,280 stores throughout the world in 31 countries.[9] The first Costa store outside the UK opened in Dubai in 1999.[10]

As well as high street locations, Costa Coffee outlets can be found in airports and in Waterstone's bookstores, WHSmith, Homebase branches, larger Next stores, Marriott Hotels, Odeon Cinemas, some Premier Inn hotels, Waitrose, Debenhams and Tesco stores, Pizza Hut branches, Beefeater pubs, Moto and RoadChef motorway services and in some hospitals and the Newcastle and Manchester Primark branches.[11] Smaller sub-units are also set up in railway stations and airports throughout the UK. Many of Costa Coffee's branches located in airports, cinemas and hospitals are either individual or corporate franchises. Costa Coffee also has small outlets positioned on out-of-town business parks, often among other food retailers, and on-site at various businesses.

Costa Express[edit]

Following Whitbread's £59.5m acquisition of Coffee Nation, a chain of coffee machines, the machines were re-branded as Costa Express.[12] The company plans to expand to target hospitals, universities and transport interchanges.[13] These coffee bars will use the same coffee beans as used in Costa stores and will use fresh milk.[14]

Coffee production[edit]

Coffee served in a Massimo cup.

Costa Coffee has its own roastery. The blend served in retail stores is their own "Mocha Italia"; it contains a blend of arabica and robusta.

Costa Coffee employs Gennaro Pelliccia as a coffee taster, who had his tongue insured for £10m with Lloyd's of London in 2009.[15][16]

Costa Book Awards[edit]

Main article: Costa Book Awards

Costa Coffee has been the sponsor of the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Book Awards) since 2006.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^
  3. ^ (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Costa Coffee founder: My hometown Purley has too many coffee shops". Croydon Advertiser. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Costa Experience - The Journey from Bean to Cup - Costa Coffee". Costa Coffee. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Adams, Guy (2 May 2013). "The man who founded Costa Coffee - then sold out for a fraction of its value now - insists he's not bitter. So... WHY does Mr Costa refuse to drink his own coffee?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Costa - Our History". Whitbread. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Nick Fletcher. "Flat white froths up Costa Coffee's fortunes". the Guardian. 
  9. ^ "Whitbread annual report 2015/16" (PDF). Whitbread. 
  10. ^ Emirates, Mall of the. "Costa Coffee in Dubai, Mall of the Emirates". 
  11. ^ "Park View Shopping Centre - Costa Coffee". 
  12. ^ Growing Business Success Stories - Costa Express: Scott Martin 10 June 2011
  13. ^ Zoe Wood. "Coffee Nation – fast, fresh and £2 a cup". the Guardian. 
  14. ^ "Costa Express". 
  15. ^ Costa Coffee: The Perfect Cup
  16. ^ "Costa Coffee taster: Ten of the weirdest insurance policies". 9 March 2009. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Costa Coffee at Wikimedia Commons