Many people don’t realize that there are a significant number of coffee chains around the world. We always think of the big 3 – Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s McCafe. This is understandable they are accessible throughout most of the world. But, many people forget that there are other chains making waves, some that we in North America have absolutely no access to. We can always hit up Starbucks or Mickey D’s but what else are we missing out on? Let’s get those baristas working overtime and check out the 10 best coffee chains in the world.
10. Gloria Jeans
Known as one of Australia’s best places to grab a cup of joe, Gloria Jeans is a full-blown franchise. There are over 1000 Gloria Jean coffee shops across Australia and U.S. and Puerto Rico. It was created in the United States way back in 1979 in Chicago of all places. It was a gift shop that sold a pretty amazing cup of coffee. Word got out and by 1995 two new owners took over; Nabi Saleh and Peter Irvine. They brought the business over to Australia and there was no looking back. The duo eventually turned this company into a franchise by 1998 and they began popping up all over the world. Of course, the company isn’t without drama. They’ve had a few call outs and court battles. They were called out for the sugar content found in their drinks. 95.5 grams of sugar was a staple in their Mocha Chiller Coco Loco. Keep in mind this was the regular size. This is just way too much sugar for anything. They also had to battle it out in court with 22 former employees for underpayment of wages. They were charged with paying employees with less than half of the minimum wage. As for their coffee, it has some pretty rave reviews.
9. Caffe Nero
Founded in 1997 by Gerry Ford, not to be mistaken with Gerald Ford the former US president, Caffe Nero is booming in the UK. it’s very popular in Turkey, UAE, and Cyprus just to name a few. The sophisticated look of the cafe is what has fans flocking to it but eventually, they stay for the tasty coffee and food. They offer vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, wheat free and nut free options for their desserts and foods. The founder, Ford was so serious about his coffee that once his company started to get going he opened his own Roastery and “created a unique award-winning coffee blend”. They continue to use this roastery on a regular basis to create new blends that continuously win awards. On the website, they also mention that their baristas go through special training. “We set up our espresso training school – where all our Baristas master the art of coffee making”. The company is still family owned and operated and has expanded to more than 800 coffee shops around Europe. In 2017 they won their latest award; Best Store & Best Menu from Sweets & Coffee Awards. One of the more unique things about this company is that it is not franchised. Many people believe it is because of the number of locations around Europe but all the stores are operated by the company.
8. Caribou Coffee
Caribou Coffee’s actual slogan is “Life is Short, Stay Awake for it”. Not only is this slogan clever, it’s also all business. Right off the bat, you know what you’re in for with Caribou Coffee. They’re here to keep you awake and help you tolerate all those crazy days at the office. This company has been around since 1992. They originated in Minnesota and quickly became a local favorite. The now have over 600 stores around America. In fact, they are said to be the second largest coffee chain in America after Starbucks (of course). They have been lucky enough to stay pretty scandal-free besides a small data breach. In December 2018, the company’s data was breached releasing credit card numbers and CVV numbers. This forced thousands of people to have to replace their credit and debit cards. Besides that, Caribou Coffee has been on the up and up. They were acquired by JAB Holding Company and in 2019 they put a new CEO in place. They’re in good company as JAB Holding Company owns several other coffee chains including Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and several other lucrative brands. We may start to see more Caribou Coffee shops opening up.
7. Tim Hortons
Known for its coffee and donuts, Tim Hortons has become so much more. It is the biggest coffee chain in Canada. Locations continue to pop up on every corner and their menu continues to expand. While they still hold their outstanding reputation for a great cup of coffee, you can now enjoy a soup and sandwich combo.They have even gotten themselves into the cold drink business with their fan favorite Iced Cappuccino, Iced Coffee, and their popular summer fruit smoothies. Their coffee is so loved by locals and tourists that there are a few US locations and one in England. They’ve even expanded to Europe, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Spain, and Qatar, just to name a few. There seem to be no signs of slowing down. The company merged with Burger King and operates under Restaurant Brands International. 2020 will mark 55 years of service for the company. We can only imagine what tricks they could possibly have up their sleeves. In the past, they’ve celebrated holidays and big events with speciality donuts and drinks. They also recently added a kids menu to appease to all family members. This company is certainly headed in the right direction.
6. Costa Coffee
Costa Coffee has been dubbed the largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK. Not bad for a family owned and operated company. What started out as a supply company for local vendors and caterers has moved on to be one of the most popular spots to meet up with friends and chit chat over a nice cup of joe. They have even expanded their menu to cakes, pastries, sandwiches, soups and more. This company is so serious about the quality and taste of their coffee that they did something kind of insane. They employed Gennaro Pelliccia. To us this a nobody but to coffee franchises, this guy is a god. Pelliccia is known as a master of coffee. He even has his tongue insured by Lloyd’s of London for 10 Million Pounds in case anything happens. We can only assume they are paying him a pretty penny to keep him on staff. Costa Coffee has several locations around the globe. At one point they even had their Express Costa brand in Shell gas stations around Canada. As of January 2019, they were bought out by Coca Cola and are planning on expanding into hospitals, universities and transit stations.
5. Dutch Bros
Dutch Bros coffee has been “Roastin and Rocking” since 1992. It was founded by two brothers with Dutch heritage. However, the family didn’t start out in coffee. They were in the dairy farming business but were pressured by government regulations to sell their cows. The family kept the barn though and used the space to experiment with coffee. They started with one small espresso machine. The brothers literally set up a pushcart by the railroad and began selling their brew. Fast forward to today and this company has over 300 locations in seven states and have employed over 7,000 people. They have the title of being “the country’s largest, privately held drive-thru coffee company”. Because the company is not franchised out, they can still maintain the same integrity and control that they started with. For the brothers, this means giving away as many free coffees as they would like and continuing to expand to places that they believe is best for their customers. The brothers maintain that their only missions is, “spreading the Dutch Luv.”. Unfortunately, one of the brothers passed away in 2009 of Lou Gehrig’s disease. This has prompted the company to partner with charities and now give away over $2 million a year to local charities and nonprofit organizations.
4. McDonald’s McCafe
McDonald’s wasn’t happy about not having a piece of the coffee pie so they did something about it. They upgraded their coffee and hit the ground running. They even gave their coffee and treats menu a new name; McCafe. McCafe was first launched in Australia back in 1993. It consisted of a cafe-style McDonald’s that didn’t sell any of the delicious food but a great cup of coffee and some treats. It did so well that they began to expand throughout the US, France, Costa Rica and so on. Now, it’s basically everywhere – one even opened in Belarus in 2018. Of course, the company had a great reputation behind it, giving it that boost that it needed to be great. In Canada and the United States, there are now standalone McCafe restaurants that sell completely different food from their sister company McDonald’s. Things like Affogato (espresso over ice cream), paninis and sandwiches and specialty and seasonal drinks like peppermint mochas, and smoothies. So, what was the point of McCafe? McDonald’s realized that some people just wanted to pop into the fast food joint for a cup of coffee but they had to withstand long lines. McCafe gives you the opportunity to go in grab your coffee without having to wait for other people’s whole meals to be made.
Dubbed Italy’s favorite espresso, LavAzza has certainly made their mark in the coffee world. Most people know LavAzza through their take-home coffee that you can brew or grind yourself. However, this is an actual cafe in a few European countries. Their coffee is strong, dark and robust. How does LavAzza keep producing such an amazing blend of coffee? They have apparently been using the same brewers for decades. They found that one blend that was so good that they rarely change things up. The company started in 1895 by Luigi Lavazza. He was one of the first people to discover that coffee could have different blends and tastes. Because coffee is such a big deal to this company as soon as they began to see profit and riches from their business they began investing in saving rainforests and local agriculture. This was their effort to protect their business. It has paid off and the company remains one of the most go to cafes in Europe. It’s even more important than Starbucks, but most importantly, they have expanded to owning other companies. They currently own 21 other companies (not all coffee related). They also own 4 manufacturing plants where they manufacture their own brand. So everything is done in-house.
As much as some people love to hate this coffee chain, they have to admit that it is one of the more convenient places to grab their daily coffee. We all know Starbucks backstory since its humble beginnings in Seattle. The company now owns over 28,000 stores worldwide and are only adding more. Since opening in 1971 the company has kept up with the times and always has something to offer Starbucks newbies. The company has quickly become the go-to stop for a quick cup of coffee. But let’s not forget that they have really upped their food game. They offer treats and food that range from being keto friendly to vegan and everything in between. Starbucks really knows what they are doing when it comes to pleasing their customers. The company has benefited from not franchising but not everyone can have a company that can sustain itself without having to franchise. What is the Starbucks secret? People have bragged about having better coffee but yet they continue to be the popular crew in the coffee world. This coffee chain is one that can officially sustain itself with little to no effort. Truly, where else can you get unicorn frappuccino, several variations of iced coffee and sous vide breakfast?
1. Dunkin Donuts
Dunkin Donuts has had a pretty questionable reputation. Many people say they have had better donuts, many people say they have had better coffee. Yet, they are one of the coffee shops that is making bank in revenue. It is dubbed the 8th largest fast food chain in the world. 8th may seem like a crummy place to be in but think about how many fast food chains we have in this world. 8th means top notch. Dunkin Donuts can thank their marketing and development team for that. What was once a place known for a hot coffee and a donut has now become a place where you can get so much more. Their iced coffee is so bomb that they sell it in stores now. They are coming out with more unique, seasonal donuts that people are running to try. Don’t forget that they have invested in better blends for their coffee meaning better quality and great taste, and their parent company, Dunkin Brands has so much more going on. They also own Baskin Robbins and the very popular Japanese donut brand Mister Donut. So clearly this company isn’t hurting for anything. At the Mister Donut locations, they have a churro donut who doesn’t want that? In America that is a specialty donut but there, it’s just the norm. Keep making ideas like that and they will start to surpass dare we say every donut joint in town? At the end of the day, no matter where you get your favorite cup of joe you can’t go wrong with one of these coffee destinations. We know there are those who prefer a cup from a mom and pop shop but when it comes to coffee the call of a Venti Mocha Frappuccino will eventually get you.