Costa Coffee Vs. Caffe Nero (Who Brews Better Coffee?)

Last Updated on June 2, 2022 by John Moretti

Every day, every minute, and somewhere, someone buys coffee from a coffee outlet.  That is a lot of coffee!  Global coffee chains with their well-known brands vie for the top position as the best coffeehouse to serve this delicious beverage.  This article will discuss two big name brands in the coffee industry, Costa Coffee vs. Caffe Nero.

Costa Coffee is a British-based coffeehouse. Caffe Nero is an Italian-influenced coffee brand with headquarters in London.  Both coffee chains have stores globally, but Costa Coffee has not entered the US market.  Costa Coffee is the 2nd largest coffeehouse globally and Caffe Nero the 4th largest.

These two coffee chains have some similarities as well as differences.  Read on to find out what keeps Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero at the top of the coffee industry.

Costa Coffee Vs. Caffe Nero (Comparison Table)

Below is a short summary comparing these two coffee chains:

Costa CoffeeCaffe Nero
Founded In19711977
No of stores globally3,884 stores in 32 countries1,100 stores in 11 counties
Stores FranchisedCosta Coffee is franchisedCaffe Nero, all company-owned stores
Global coffeehouse 2nd largest coffeehouse4th largest coffeehouse
Signature Coffee BlendArabica and Robusta BeansArabica and Indian Beans
Coffee Beans From100% Rainforest Certified Alliance FarmsCentral and South America
Coffee Taste FeedbackAmericano 7/10 – the smoothness of body
Cappuccino 5/10 – too bitter and not enough milk to soften the taste
Americano 8/10 – good body and density
Cappuccino 9/10 – strong coffee taste (good balance in both)

Costa Coffee Vs. Caffe Nero 

Costa Coffee is a British coffeehouse chain started in 1971 by brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa.  This coffee brand has changed hands a few times over the years and, since 2018, has been owned by Coca-Cola’s Global Ventures Group (GVG).  Costa Coffee is franchised.

Whereas Caffe Nero is an Italian-influenced coffeehouse, founded in 1997 by Gerry Ford, and has its headquarters in London.  

This coffeehouse is majority-owned by Gerry Ford through a chain of intermediary companies, including Nero Group Holdings Ltd, based in the UK, and Rome Intermediate Holdings Sari, based in Luxembourg.  Caffe Nero stores are all company-owned.

How Many Coffee Outlets – Costa Coffee Vs. Caffe Nero

Costa Coffee operates 3 884 stores globally, of which 2,467 are in the UK.  The other stores are situated in 3 continents and 32 countries.  Costa Coffee has not yet made a name in the USA.  However, it has acquired several automated coffee kiosks from the Briggo brand in the US.  It plans to rename these automated machines the ‘Costa Coffee BaristaBot.’

Caffe Nero currently has more than 1,000 stores worldwide, of which 650 cafés are in the UK.  This coffeehouse has outlets in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Poland, Cyprus, Croatia, Turkey, the UAE, Oman, and the United States.

Largest Coffee Chain Globally

Costa Coffee is currently the 2nd largest (after Starbucks) coffee chain globally and the largest in the UK.   This coffee chain is also the largest in Europe, with 2,512 locations.

Caffe Nero is the 4th largest coffee chain globally, the 3rd largest in the UK, and the 5th largest in Europe with 685 locations.

Signature Blend Coffee – Costa Coffee vs. Caffe Nero

The Signature Blend coffee served by Costa Coffee is a perfect combination of delicate Arabica and strong Robusta beans.   These coffee beans are sourced from 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.  Costa Coffee’s signature blend has a hearty flavor, rich aroma, and a smooth taste. 

Other coffees from Costa include espresso, Americano, latte, cappuccino, cortado, and flat white.  Costa has many express machines serving barista-style coffees at self-serve coffee bars for clients who need a quick coffee-on-the-go.  Some Costa outlets offer a delivery service, and orders can be placed online.

Caffe Nero is known for its authentic Italian premium coffee, of which the signature blend is Classico Original Blend.  The coffee is a medium roast blended with Arabica coffee beans from South America and a dash of fine Indian beans.  

Classico Original is a full-flavored, rich, and strong coffee blend.  This medium Italian roast blend is sweet and balanced with notes of dark chocolate, hazelnuts, and caramel.  It is served in every Caffe Nero store.

Other coffee from Caffe Nero is latte, cappuccino, espresso, espresso con panna, mocha, white chocolate mocha, flat white, caramelatte, cortado and frappe lattes.  Order ahead for pickup from Caffe Nero stores, or they will deliver.

Brand Identity

Everyone knows the Costa Coffee brand due to the abundance of outlets, and the logo is everywhere!  Their shops and franchises have the same décor and serve the same food, so customers will feel at home in any outlet.  

Costa coffee shops have comfortable chairs or stools for seating.  With its ‘never a dull cup’ campaign, Costa Coffee promises to make coffee interesting, exciting, and accessible to all.

Customers who love Italian coffee choose Caffe Nero as their favorite coffee brand.  The décor of their shops blends in with the local community in the areas.  In the retail sites where the stop for coffee is quick and short, customers are seated on stools.   

Whereas in the residential areas where clients linger over their coffee, comfortable armchairs and sofas are the seating norm.  Caffe Nero’s philosophy is simply to offer its customers a premium Italian coffee in a warm and welcoming atmosphere and great personal service.

Cost Of A Cup Of Coffee

Customers would pay more for a cup of coffee at Caffe Nero than at Costa Coffee.   Earn rewards for exclusive treats on the Caffe Nero app.  Costa Coffee also allows clients to earn points towards future coffee from their stores.

What’s On The Menu – Costa Coffee vs. Caffe Nero

Costa Coffee serves various coffee flavors such as chocolates, mochas, specialty drinks, and fruit coolers.  Tea is also on the menu.  Costa also offers ‘coffee in a can,’ a variety of iced coffee flavors.  An assortment of light meals or something sweet can be ordered with the coffee.  

Some of the food served at Costa Coffee are paninis, toasties, wraps, muffins, cakes, and biscuits.  Check the nutritional and allergen guide for their drinks and snacks.

Caffe Nero has a selection of hot and cold coffee flavors such as caramelatte, macchiato, a few coffee and tonic flavors, and tea is also served.   In America, Caffe Nero offers its customers cold brew coffee.  

Caffe Nero’s menu includes sandwiches, paninis, salads, soups, meat pots, cakes, and muffins.  The menu has a complete allergen and nutritional guide.

Winning Accolades And Awards

Costa Coffee has the following accolades and awards under its belt:

  • 2013: Best Coffee Chain (Southern Europe, UK, and Ireland, Europe) – Allegra European Coffee awards
  • 2014: Best Branded Coffee Shop Chain in Europe (for 4 consecutive years)
  • 2021: The Nations Favorite Coffee Shop (for 11 consecutive years) – Allegra awards

Over the years, Caffe Nero has won the following accolades and awards:

  • 2002-: Ranked ‘best coffee quality and ‘best coffee house brand’ (Allegra Report)
  • 2013: Best Tasting Coffee on the High Street’ (Independent Consumer Magazine)
  • 2013: Voted ‘The Best Independent Coffee Shop Brand’ (Food Business Awards)
  • 2015: Award winner in the category – ‘Café Retailer of the Year’
  • 2016: The Coffee Shop Retailer of the Year – CEE Retail Awards
  • 2017: Best Store and Best Menu – Sweets & Coffee Awards


Costa Coffee is the 2nd largest coffee chain globally, and Caffe Nero is the 4th  largest coffeehouse.  Both coffeehouses have their unique brand and particular blend of signature coffee.

Costa Coffee has been voted the Nation’s Favorite coffee shop in England.  Caffe Nero has been ranked the best coffee quality and best coffee house brand.  Costa Coffee serves coffee that is not too fussy and is an everyday cup of coffee.  Caffe Nero is more suited to clientele who prefer the taste of Italian flavored coffee.  

Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero have proven their worth in today’s coffee niche.  Their clientele chooses the coffee shop they think is the best, but it is usually based on preferred coffee taste!