Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by John Moretti
The United States is home to some of the most prolific coffee chains in the world. Many of the biggest international chains in coffee began in the US, and these brands have gone on to conquer the world of coffee internationally.
Americans love their coffee, and they are proud of their businesses, which has led to a very strong coffee industry in the country. This leads many to wonder which are the largest and strongest coffee chains in the USA? This is the list of those coffee chains, some of which may surprise you!
- Number of locations in the USA: 15 450+
Unsurprisingly, Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the USA by a very large margin. This super-brand is unquestionably the most successful coffee brand in the United States and the largest coffee shop brand on the planet.
Starbucks earns more per country than any other brand, employs more staff, and has more store locations than any other coffee shop as well. This coffee chain owns around 34 000 branch locations internationally and is opening more every day.
This chain is well known for a very wide range of coffee drinks, food menu items, and signature beverages that are proprietary to the brand.
The Starbucks Frappuccino is one such beverage, being invented and owned by Starbucks, and is one of the most popular coffee and iced beverages anywhere. Coffee, tea, light meals, juices, smoothies, sweets, and pastries are all available at Starbucks locations, and the high-quality and good standard that the brand maintains is demonstrated by its massive success in the industry.
More than 80 individual countries host a Starbucks branch, but the United States hosts far more branches than any other country. Starbucks is the most popular, most successful, and largest coffee brand in the USA and shows no signs of slowing down soon.
2. Dunkin Donuts
- Number of locations in the USA: 8 500+
Dunkin Donuts is billed as “America’s favorite coffee,” but it is the second-largest coffee brand in the nation. This coffee chain is rapidly expanding, and the current number of 8500 stores is rapidly increasing within the US and internationally as well.
While Dunkin’ is not the biggest coffee brand out there, it is among the most iconic brands. Everyone knows Dunkin’, and the brand has been very successful at cultivating a well-known international brand.
This chain provides an extensive range of beverages and food items, and its menu offers a large number of coffee options as well as tea, sandwiches, wraps, bagels, doughnuts, wraps, snacks, muffins, and even brew at home options, including coffee pods, coffee beans, and instant coffee.
Dunkin Donuts is the second largest coffee brand in the US for good reason, and everything on the menu here is delicious, well-made, and fairly priced.
Dunkin Donuts is rapidly expanding internationally, and the popularity of the pastries and doughnuts produced by the brand is helping drive the chain to further international success. Dunkin’ has opened more than 11 300 stores internationally, in more than 36 countries, and is only increasing this number yearly.
This brand is associated with other chains as well, such as Baskin Robbins, who also exhibit international success, making Dunkin’ one of the most successful food and beverage chains in history.
3. Tim Hortons
- Number of locations in the USA: 622+
Tim Hortons is the third-largest coffee chain in the United States, which is very impressive since it is not even an American brand. Tim Hortons is a Canadian coffee brand that found massive success within its native country very quickly.
This brand is Canada’s largest coffee brand, as well as the largest quick-service restaurant chain ever seen in the country. This is important to note because although Tim Hortons is only the third-largest coffee chain in the US, its true success lies over the border.
However, with that in mind, this brand is rapidly growing in the USA and applying much of the successful strategies from its Canadian branches to branches in the US. There are more than 600 Tim Hortons branches within the United States, and that figure is steadily increasing annually.
This coffee chain is more than just a coffee shop; but is also a restaurant that offers a wide range of meals, snacks, desserts, and beverages. Tim Hortons is famous for its coffee and doughnuts, but the restaurant also provides all-day breakfasts, sandwiches, wraps, meat dishes, bagels, sides, salads, soups, hot bowls, snacks, pastries, and baked goods.
The very extensive menu from this brand is part of its international success, and it is a rapidly growing franchise within the industry. Tim Hortons is a favorite among many coffee lovers and brings some of the famous Canadian flavors to US soil.
4. Dutch Bros. Coffee
- Number of locations in the USA: 471+
Dutch Bros. Coffee is one of the most unique and innovative coffee chains in the country. There are no other franchises like it, and they offer a range of highly unique beverages.
This coffee chain is well known for specialty drinks, not only coffee but a range of various types of drinks. Dutch Bros. is unique in every way, right down to the styling of the buildings, which are a call back to the original Dutch Bros. location that was operated from within a barn.
This company mainly produces beverages and focuses on specialty drinks rather than emphasizing food or snacks. There is only a limited range of food items on the menu here, including muffins and granola bars, but the beverage selection more than makes up for the lack of food items.
Dutch Bros. is well known for its coffee that is available in a wide range of sizes, styles, flavors, and drink possibilities, but there are several other beverage options available here as well.
Specialty energy drinks, teas, smoothies, milkshakes, cocoa, soda, lemonade, cold brew, and Dutch Bros. specialty favorites, and these unique drinks set them well apart from their competitors.
The uniqueness of this coffee chain has allowed the company to grow very quickly, and within the next few years, Dutch Bros. plans to add thousands of new branches to its name internationally.
Dutch Bros. plans to reach 4000 stores within the next few years, and at the rate at which this company is growing, this does not seem like an unfounded plan. This coffee chain stands to become one of the largest in the world, and its specialty drinks are soon to become an international household name.
5. Caribou Coffee
- Number of locations in the USA: 461+
Caribou Coffee is truly a special type of coffee chain. There is no other coffee chain that values coffee the way this chain does, and that value for coffee and high-quality food and beverages is distinctly visible throughout every branch.
Caribou coffee places a high value on real coffee, transparency, good flavors, and solid coffee drinks. There is no other chain like it regarding coffee. One of the unique features of Caribou Coffee is the fact that most coffee drinks that are served here are espresso-based. This is not as common as one may perhaps expect among coffee chains in the US.
There is a variety of pour-over brewed coffee, nitro coffee, cold brews, hot press coffee, and other variants available as well, but most of the specialty drinks served here are based on Caribou Coffee’s own proprietary espresso blend.
The espresso drinks here are delicious and well made with a unique Caribou Coffee flair that cannot be found anywhere else.
Aside from espresso-based drinks, Caribou Coffee has the most extensive beverage menu of any coffee chain in the US.
Iced drinks, blended drinks, juices, lemonades, limeades, cold brews, nitro brews, milkshakes, teas, iced teas, caffeine-infused flavored sparkling water, smoothies, kids’ drinks, and even a cup of whipped cream designed to be served to pets called the Pup Cup are only a few of the drink options served at Caribou Coffee.
The drinks are only the beginning here, as an extensive all-day breakfast menu and several sweet treats are available at Caribou coffee branches as well.
If you seek variety, this is the place to come. This coffee chai is a favorite among patrons, for a good reason, and the popularity is allowing the brand to grow quickly on a national scale. Caribou Coffee is quickly becoming one of the most well-known and highly sought-after coffee chains in the US.
6. Peet’s Coffee And Tea
- Number of locations in the USA: 341+
Peet’s Coffee And Tea is a coffee chain that proves that the American people are thirsty for a better quality of coffee than ever before. This is a coffee chain unlike any other on the list, and many may be surprised to find out that there are this many branches of Peet’s in the US.
Peet’s is not a regular coffee shop, and the locations of this chain are not focused on being a coffee shop, café, or a drive-through place for your morning coffee on the way to work. Peet’s is more than that.
This chain does not typically focus on brewing and serving coffee and coffee drinks at its locations, but it rather focuses on the coffee itself. Peet’s is focused on bringing good quality specialty coffee to the people, and it is not focused on creating the next big latte flavor.
Many Peet’s branches do serve coffee drinks, but the main idea here is to send you home with your own bag of coffee beans from your favorite coffee grower or origin, rather than coming in for a quick coffee on the way to work.
The fact that Peet’s Coffee and Tea is such a rapidly growing brand in the industry is proof alone that the people want good coffee and are prepared to take the time and put in the effort to learn how to brew good coffee for themselves.
Peet’s is a revolution more than it is a coffee shop, and the entire coffee industry is very excited to join in!
7. Biggby Coffee
- Number of locations in the USA: 248+
Biggby Coffee is a growing brand that has a good heart and is making waves in the coffee industry for a good reason. This company is focused on expansion as it is on transparency, quality, and helping communities.
Biggby Coffee provides work in developing nations by establishing or supporting coffee-growing communities in the countries where the coffee is sourced from. The baristas at this company are treated fairly, and customer satisfaction and enjoyment are high on the list of priorities here.
This company is relatively new as far as coffee chains go, but with the infrastructure that has been put in place, Biggby Coffee is set to rapidly expand and increase its number of locations very quickly.
With a strong focus on variety and convenience, there is almost no type of beverage that you cannot buy from Biggby Coffee, and most locations are equipped with a functional and smooth drive-through as well, to make buying coffee and quick eats as easy as possible.
Biggby Coffee is rapidly growing and will soon have more stores than other competing chains of a similar size, but the sustainability demonstrated by the brand proves that it will continue to grow steadily and open more locations consistently for a long time to come.
8. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
- Number of locations in the USA: 189+
This is the last coffee chain on the list of the largest coffee chains in the USA, but The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is sure to not remain last on the list forever. This chain is a favorite in the coffee community due to its focus on good quality coffee sourced fairly, brewed well, prepared well, and kept to a high standard.
Coffee and tea are the focus of this chain, and every type of tea and coffee bean is ethically sourced from specialty growers with the highest emphasis on flavor, quality, and diversity.
This chain cares about every step of the process, from plant to cup, and is dedicated to maintaining its values and quality over rapidly expanding its operations.
A brand like this is more challenging to grow quickly because the processes involved in such high levels of quality and transparency make running the business more difficult to do, but the large interest that the brand has gathered within the coffee community is sure to drive its production forward quickly.
Coffee enthusiasts and true lovers of tea and coffee are drawn to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and this has cultivated loyalty and favor among its customers that will not be broken easily.
This may not be the most rapidly expanding coffee chain, but it is still one of the best you could ever visit!