Costa Coffee Vs. Pret A Manger (Comparing Coffee Chains)

Last Updated on May 9, 2022 by John Moretti

There’s doubt that the global, billion-dollar coffee market is becoming increasingly competitive, and discerning coffee lovers are looking for the best quality coffee at a great price. So, you might wonder how Costa Coffee stacks up to Pret A Manger and which one is the best.

Costa Coffee is produced from roasted Arabica, and Robusta beans which are offered in a wide variety of bespoke coffee blends in-store and via their Costa Express vending machines. Pret A Manger’s coffee is produced from 100% organic Arabica blends served as traditional coffee blends. 

Although Costa Coffee has cornered the market for several years and seems to be popping up all over the place, Pret A Manger deserves their little “place in the sun” for offering clients a delicious, sustainably produced cup of coffee. So, which one do you prefer?

Costa Coffee Overview

Costa Coffee was launched in 1971 when siblings Bruno and Sergio Costa established a little roasting venture in London. 

The industrious brothers tested 112 coffee cultivars until they found their perfect signature blend, the “Mocha Italia.” 

Following this, they made history by serving London’s first and finest Espresso, including Cappuccinos, served in fine porcelain cups in the city’s most trendy areas.

The Coca-Cola Company subsequently purchased the Costa Coffee brand in 2019, catapulting the company to new heights as they were able to expand the brand through Europe, the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.

Costa Coffee is currently the second-biggest global coffee brand and is presently the top UK coffee shop chain with 2,681 outlets and 1280 outlets globally.

Innovation Gives Costa Coffee A Competitive Edge 

image of a coffee vending machine

Unlike Pret A Manger, being heavily dependent on their walk-in stores, Costa Coffee has radically branched out with their Costa Express vending machines, dotted all over the UK in shopping malls and gas stations.

They also recently made history by launching the world’s first self-serving hot and cold vending machine that stores 500 barista-style drinks at the click of a button.

However, while Costa Coffee has built an excellent reputation, the Costa Express vending machines are serviced by third-party vendors and still have a little way to go in terms of quality.

Pret A Manger Overview

Jeffrey Hyman established the London-based coffee chain in 1986 to cater to a growing niche market that preferred organic and freshly prepared ready-to-go food and ethically produced coffee.

Pret A Manger subsequently grew to global prominence by opening 390 stores across the UK, USA, and China, including Hong Kong, with approximately 10,000 staff. 

However, the global pandemic wreaked havoc on Pret A Manger’s High Street lunchtime trade due to enforced work-from-home policies and extended lockdowns, forcing the company to permanently close approximately 45 of the 450 stores in the UK.

While Pret A Manger has employed turn-around strategies like offering deliverable dinner service, including a competitively priced coffee subscription, it might not be enough to sustain them in the long run due to the future hybrid working policies.

Costa Coffee Vs. Pret A Manager: Who’s The Best?

Knowing a little more about Costa Coffee and Pret A Manager, respectively, it’s time to compare them one-on-one in terms of their rewards programs, coffee varieties, value for money, and level of service.

Rewards Programs

The Costa Club rewards scheme allows customers to earn “beans” with every purchase at a store or vending machine, and customers who purchase coffee with reusable cups earn double beans that can be redeemed for free drinks.

Participants can track their amount of beans and make use of exclusive offers by downloading the 

Costa Coffee app from their Apple or Google Play stores.

Costa Club members are entitled to the following great benefits:

  • Buy eight Costa Coffee drinks in the store and get one free on the house
  • Buy four helpings with a reusable cup in-store, and you get one free
  • A free slice of cake on your birthday

The Pret Perks Reward Scheme rewards customers with a ‘star’ forever item they purchase in-store or via the chain’s online click and collect option. Customers can choose between a complimentary treat like popcorn or a vegan cookie with ten stars.

Pret A Manger clients can also pay a nominal monthly fee for a Coffee Subscription which allows them to order Barista style coffee five days a week, every 30 minutes, without paying any additional fees. 

The first month’s subscription is free of charge, and they earn an extra star for every month’s subscription renewal.

The Verdict

Compared to Costa’s generous rewards program, Pret’s falls short as you need to pay for a Coffee Subscription to earn stars. So, unless you’re a coffee addict who lives near a Pret store, it’s not worth it.

Coffee Varieties

Costa Coffee’s signature blend is made from sustainably produced roasted Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, resulting in a deliciously sweet yet robust Italian coffee.

This innovative coffee chain has built a reputation for reinventing traditional, and let’s face it, boring coffee varieties into a unique offering that includes the likes of vitamin, or tea-infused coffees, decadent Hot Dross Bun Cappuccinos, and delicious Caramel Cortados.

Pret A Manger’s coffee is produced from organic roasted, sustainably produced Arabica beans. While some might prefer Pret’s milder coffee offering, they would have to be content with its limited, stock standard variety of coffee blends like Cappuccinos, Lattes, etc.

The Verdict

Costa’s sets the bar high with its incredible variety of bespoke coffee blends that Pret cannot beat with its limited traditional offering.

Value For Money

Compared to Pret, Costa Coffee offers far better value for money due to its generous rewards program and competitive pricing. However, if you repeatedly buy a Pret coffee on your way to work each day, their Coffee Subscription is an absolute winner.

Level of Service

It would be unfair to make a sweeping generalization regarding Costa and Pret’s level of service as it differs from region to region and depends on the competence of its staff. Although, Costa’s Express vending machines have been a game-changer for those who detest long coffee shop cues.


While Costas Coffee and Pret A Manger’s coffee offerings might be vastly different, they both offer their loyal customers a delicious cup of coffee, and ultimately that’s all that matters!