CHELMSFORD has been crowned UK capital Costa after now having 25 stores within two miles of the city centre, the Sun can reveal.
There are already 10 stores in the picturesque city of Essex, and 15 different takeout machines in garages and supermarkets.
In 2019, there were 11 stores and plans were filed to add two more to the city, bringing the total to 13.
However, since then branches in WH Smith and Waterstones have now closed, with bookstores opening their own branded cafes.
The newest store to open is inside the Next clothing store in the Chelmer Village retail park, where another branch is located just a few hundred yards away.
It is also planning to open a new drive-in store just a few miles away in Maldon.
Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero, Coffee Republic and Starbucks also all have stores downtown.
Cheltenham now has three stores and 19 express machines in the city centre, making it second.
Besides the giant chain stores, there are 19 smaller independent coffee shops within 3.2 km of the city center.
The owner of The Little Café, just off the high street, told the Sun: “Yes, there are so many places for one place, it puts smaller places like us in a predicament.
“They just seem to be putting them all over the place, which has been difficult enough during the pandemic over the past few years, and now we have to figure out how we can compete with these giant stores.
“We still have regular customers that have been coming to us for years, but it’s hard to try and get new clients because they all just know Costa and there are so many of them here. It will be easier for them.”
Costa currently has the largest number of coffee shops in the UK with 2,681, behind Greggs and Starbucks with 2,078 and 1,025 respectively.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the chain store rankings is Caffè Nero with only 648 stores, according to data from Statista.
There are also more than 10,000 takeout self-service machines across the country, with a 71% market share, the data shows.
Costa has come a long way since its first store on Vauxhall Bridge Road, founded in London in 1981 by the Costa brothers, Italian immigrants who moved in.
UK to serve espresso and cappuccino in the finest porcelain cups.
The brothers are said to have sold the business in 1995 to Whitbread for around £23 million.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/17318730/uk-city-most-costa-coffee-outlets/ UK’s Costa Coffee Capital Revealed