CHELMSFORD has been crowned the Costa capital of the UK after there are now 25 outlets within two miles of the city centre, the Sun can reveal.
There are already 10 stores in the picturesque Essex city, and 15 different take-away machines in garages and supermarkets.
In 2019 there were 11 stores, and plans were submitted to add another two to the city, taking the total to 13 stores.
However, since then branches in WH Smith and Waterstones have now closed, with the book shops opening their own branded cafes.
The latest store to open is inside of a Next clothing store in Chelmer Village retail park, where there is another branch just a few hundred yards away.
It is also planning on opening a new drive-thru store just a few miles away in Maldon.
Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero, a Coffee Republic and Starbucks also all have stores in the city centre.
Cheltenham currently has three stores, and 19 express machines in the city centre, making it a close second.
Alongside the huge chains, there are also 19 smaller independent coffee shops within a two-mile radius of the city centre.
The owner of The Little Café, just off the high street told the Sun: “Yes it’s way too many for one place, it does put smaller places like ourselves in a tough position.
“They just seem to be putting them up everywhere, it has already been tough enough during the pandemic over the last few years, and now how are we meant to be able to compete with these huge stores.
“We still have regular customers who have been coming to us for years, but it is hard to try and get new customers because they all just know Costa and there are so many of them here then it’s just easier for them.”
Costa currently has the most amount of coffee shops in the UK with 2,681 outlets, coming ahead of Greggs and Starbucks with 2,078 and 1,025 outlets.
In comparison, the bottom of the pile for chain stores is Caffè Nero with only 648 outlets, according to figures from Statista.
There are also more than 10,000 of the take-away self-service machines across the country, with a 71% market share, data shows.
Costa has come a long way since it’s first shop in Vauxhall Bridge Road, was set up in London in 1981 by the Costa brothers, Italian immigrants, who moved to the
UK to serve espresso and cappuccino’s in the finest porcelain cups.
The brothers reportedly sold the business in 1995 to Whitbread for around £23m.