Caffeine in high street coffee: Mocha do about nothing?
February 13th, 2023, Stephan Shakespeare

Caffeine in high street coffee: Mocha do about nothing?

A recent survey from Which? Magazine found that, a cappuccino from Costa contained nearly five times as much caffeine (325mg) as an equivalent cup of coffee from Starbucks (66mg). But if it has a stronger kick than other nationwide chains, is it necessarily the UK’s favourite coffee brand? Let’s java look at what the nation’s coffee drinkers think.

Data from YouGov BrandIndex UK shows that, with an Index score of 15, Costa is a strong performer among the five brands (Costa, Caffé Nero, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, and Greggs) featured in Which? Magazine’s study. But these scores – which measure overall brand health – are handily beaten by Greggs, which has 197mg of caffeine per cappuccino but an Index score of 23.2.

This also puts the budget bakery chain nearly 12 points ahead of Pret a Manger (Index score 11.3; caffeine level 180mg per cappuccino), almost 13 points ahead of Caffé Nero (Index score 10.4; caffeine 110-115mg); and 21.7 points in front of Starbucks (Index score 1.5; caffeine level 66mg).

So there’s a correlation between a stronger cappuccino and general brand health – not, of course, to be confused with a brand being healthy in the nutritional sense – but only up to a point. Greggs may not have the highest caffeine content, but at 28.6 it does have a higher Impression score (which measures overall sentiment towards a brand) than the other chains, and a 9.4-point lead in terms of customer Satisfaction scores.

The brand falters a little when it comes to Quality scores. Here, Pret a Manger (20.9) and Costa (20.6) lead the pack, with Greggs trailing behind (16.7), while beating Caffé Nero (15.9) and Starbucks (9.8). But it more than compensates for this with its Value for Money scores: at 34.7, this puts it some 52.2 points in front of Starbucks (-17.5). This may give the brand greater resilience in a cost-of-living crisis – when customers may be counting literal and metaphorical beans, and a cheaper (and more potent) than average cup of coffee could be an easier sell.