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Costa Coffee is a British multinational coffeehouse company headquartered in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

Costa Limited
IndustryCoffee shop
Founded1971; 48 years ago (1971)
London, England
FounderBruno Costa
Sergio Costa
HeadquartersDunstable, England, UK
Number of locations
Increase 3,882 (2018)
Area served
Key people
Dominic Paul (CEO)
ProductsCoffee, tea, sandwiches, sweet snacks and iced drinks
RevenueIncrease £1.167 billion (2016)[1]
Increase £153 million (2016)[1]
ParentThe Coca-Cola Company

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 was sold in 2019 to The Coca-Cola Company in a deal worth £3.9bn, and has 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 460 in China).[1][2]

The Coca-Cola Company announced its intention of acquiring Costa Limited from parent company Whitbread PLC for $5.1 billion. The deal closed on 3 January 2019, it gives the cola giant a strong coffee platform across parts of Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. [3] It is the second largest coffeehouse chain in the world, and the largest in the UK.[4][5]



Brothers Bruno and Sergio Costa founded a coffee roastery in Lambeth, London, in 1971, supplying local caterers. The family had moved to England from Parma, Italy, in the 1960s.[6][7] 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.[8] By 1995, the chain had 41 stores in UK,[9] and was acquired by Whitbread, the 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.[10]

In 2018, Whitbread faced pressure from two of its largest shareholders, activist group Elliot Advisers and hedge fund Sachem Head to sell or demerge Costa Coffee, the theory being the individual businesses would be worth much more than as one company.[11] On 25 April 2018, Whitbread announced its intention to fully demerge Costa within two years.[12] Subsequently, Coca-Cola announced a deal to acquire the chain.[5] On 3 January 2019, The Coca-Cola Company completed the acquisition of Costa Coffee for $4.9 billion from Whitbread.[13]


Costa sells:

  • Hot drinks - coffees, teas and hot chocolates
  • Cold drinks - including Frostino and fruit coolers
  • Savoury snacks - including sandwiches and breakfast items
  • Cakes and pastries - including cookies, brownies and croissants

Costa Coffee moved its own roastery from Lambeth to Basildon, Essex, in May 2017 with an investment of £38 million, increasing the roasting capacity from 11,000 to 45,000 tons of coffee beans per year.[14]

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]



A Costa Coffee branch in Forster Square Retail Park, Bradford

Costa Coffee operates 2,467 outlets in the United Kingdom as of May 2018. Overseas, it operates 1,412 stores in 31 countries.[1] The first Costa store outside the UK opened in Dubai in 1999[17] and, in September 2017, was the first coffee shop worldwide to start delivering coffee via drones to customers sunbathing on Dubai beaches.[18]

Costa ExpressEdit

Following Whitbread's £59.5m acquisition of Coffee Nation, a chain of coffee machines, the machines were re-branded as Costa Express.[19] The company plans to expand to target hospitals, universities and transport interchanges.[20] In Denmark, Costa Express machines are located in Shell stations. Costa Express machines were previously available in Shell locations in Canada, but have since been removed.[21]

Current locationsEdit

As of September 2018, Costa Coffee is present on 3 continents in 32 countries and territories, with 3876 total locations.[22]

Country No. of locations
United Kingdom 2,467
Poland 147
Ireland 114
Czech Republic 45
Russia 35
Hungary 28
Spain 25
Bulgaria 21
Kazakhstan 12
Latvia 11
Malta 11
France 8
Portugal 5
Germany 1
Country No. of locations
China 459
United Arab Emirates 150
India 57
Saudi Arabia 56
Kuwait 51
Qatar 30
Cyprus 24
Bahrain 23
Oman 22
Philippines 16
Cambodia 4
Jordan 4
Indonesia 1
Lebanon 1
Vietnam 1
Country No. of locations
Egypt 44
Morocco 3

Costa Book AwardsEdit

Costa Coffee has been the sponsor of the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Book Awards) since 2006.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Whitbread PLC Annual Report and Accounts 2015/16" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Whitbread" (PDF).
  3. ^ Team, Trefis. "Why Is Coca-Cola Paying A Hefty Premium For Costa Coffee?". Forbes. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  4. ^ Monaghan, Angela (31 August 2018). "Whitbread sells Costa Coffee to Coca-Cola for £3.9bn - business live". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Coca-Cola to buy Costa coffee for £3.9bn". BBC News. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Costa Coffee founder: My hometown Purley has too many coffee shops". Croydon Advertiser. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Costa Experience - The Journey from Bean to Cup - Costa Coffee". Costa Coffee. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  8. ^ Sky News
  9. ^ "Costa - Our History". Whitbread. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  10. ^ Nick Fletcher. "Flat white froths up Costa Coffee's fortunes". the Guardian.
  11. ^ "Business Sale Report - Will Costa Coffee chain be up for sale soon". 22 April 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Whitbread Group Structure Update". 25 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Costa Coffee Roastery, Basildon, Essex - Food Processing Technology". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Costa Coffee: The Perfect Cup". Archived from the original on 26 October 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2006.
  16. ^ "Costa Coffee taster: Ten of the weirdest insurance policies". 9 March 2009.
  17. ^ Emirates, Mall of the. "Costa Coffee in Dubai Mall of the Emirates".
  18. ^ "Watch: drone delivers Costa coffee on Kite Beach in Dubai". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Growing Business Success Stories - Costa Express: Scott Martin 10 June 2011". Archived from the original on 10 September 2011.
  20. ^ Zoe Wood. "Coffee Nation – fast, fresh and £2 a cup". the Guardian.
  21. ^ "We are no longer in Canada". Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  22. ^ "Coca-Cola just bought a massive coffee chain for $5.1 billion. Here's how it compares to Starbucks". Business Insider. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  23. ^ Pauli, Michelle (28 November 2006). "Costa kicks off prize sponsorship with populist shortlist". the Guardian.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Costa Coffee at Wikimedia Commons