An indisputable ranking of the all the UK coffee shops

If I was minted then this list would be very different

We are blessed in many ways to live in this country, for all the services it provides; Am I talking about the NHS? No. Am I talking about the well-oiled machine that is our government? Certainly not. I’m talking about the sheer volume of coffee chains we have on our doorstep. We have the luxury of choice, and there are more of us that have strong opinions over which is the best, than those of us who don’t.

I’m putting myself in the firing line here, for the sake of high-quality journalism. Here is a definitive ranking of al the UK coffee shops, from the absolute worst to the very best.

10. Greggs

best UK coffee shops

This national treasure receives last place from me when it comes to coffee. If this was a list about baked meaty goods then they’d be reigning queen, but alas, it’s not. The coffee is just not good, simple as. But what really seals the deal for Greggs, putting them in last place, is that they don’t offer non-dairy milk alternatives. Get with the times my friend.

9. Gail’s

best UK coffee shops

Gail’s is quickly becoming the Greggs of London and the South of England. One seems to be popping up in another middle-class neighbourhood every day. Although I have no complaints about the quality of coffee, they come in second to last for one very specific reason; £4 for a soya flat white is a crime against humanity. It genuinely brought a tear to my eye and I’m too awkward to not pay so I just had to stomach it. I cancelled all my plans and sat in there for the whole day to get my money’s worth. It’s safe to say, I have not returned since. It pains me to even imagine what kind of loan I would have to take out if I fancied a cheeky sandwich.

8. Costa

best UK coffee shops

best UK coffee shops

This next section is dedicated to coffee shops that you only associate with train stations. Out of the short list of chains that fit that niche, Pumpkin is last, or second depending on how you look at it. I can’t lie, this is pretty much just about their decor theme, the orange that literally covers every cafe head to toe, gets a no from me.

6. Puccino’s

Although I don’t frequent a Puccino’s often, they will always have a special place in my heart. Again the fact that they are always in the train station means that they are just so damn handy. The people who work there can always sense when you are about to miss your train in the name of a vanilla latte and they really put in a shift to make sure you don’t have to sacrifice your beverage for your journey. Big bonus points here for the cute little biscuits you get on the side.

5. Joe & the Juice

best UK coffee shops

Not one that I immediately associate with coffee (probably because of the name) but still a worthy contender nonetheless. Although much more well known for their viral Tunacacdo panini, they make a mean cortado. Plus, you have to love the Scandi interiors and the pops of pink, very Instagramable.

4. Black Sheep

best UK coffee shops

This is a new one on the scene and I have to say it’s looking rather promising. This far up the list it’s a given that they do coffee well but their food selection is pretty strong too. They are definitely up and coming and could in future move on up in the rankings. I do always love an underdog, but I’m not sure how much of an underdog you can be if your clientele is predominately middle-aged business men.

3. Starbucks

I have a feeling this one would be higher on other people’s lists, but I am a Starbucks sceptic. They win the game of consistency, they can bring comfort in an unknown place when you’re in desperate need of some caffeine, but other than that, I’m not a massive fan. I find the experience just a little overwhelming. Why do they have so many different types of drinks? I can never scan the boards quickly enough to find a normal coffee in the sea of frilly berry and chocolate drinks. Starbucks are stress inducers for me and that’s the last thing you need when you know you are about the have the caffeine shakes anyway. I also feel bad for supporting them as a chain for some reason, and yes I am aware that everyone else on this list is also a chain.

2. Caffè Nero

Cafe Nero is a pretty safe bet, much less stress-inducing. Coffee-wise, you always know what you’re going to get and they don’t faf around with constantly introducing new things to their menu. In my experience, they are always packed, but also always big enough that there is a free table somewhere, even if you have to dodge a dozen toddlers to find it and arrive with only half your coffee still in the cup. Cafe Nero narrowly misses first place because my local branch doesn’t offer one of the main milk alternatives, although I can’t remember which one it is, so I order it every time anyway. On top of this, for me, they will always have a slight undertone of trauma as they were my cafe of choice when revising for my A-levels. This is not a major problem though as I didn’t revise often enough for the memory to be too deeply engrained.

1. Pret

I can hear the audible sighs as I crown Pret the queen of British coffee. I know, but please let me explain myself. Pret is the toxic ex that you go back to again and again, even though it feels like there should probably be better out there. And I am looking for better, but the coffee chains of the UK are just not giving it to me. Pret is one of the more pricey ones on this list, and best believe I am not paying £4.50 for a tuna sandwich in a hurry, but for coffee, I can deal with it. They receive major points for their subscription service, which does wonders for my flat white addiction, but is also just a great idea, so a pat on the pack for Pret. Also, I’m a big believer of if you are going to do something, you might as well go all in, and a recent study has found that Pret coffee has over five times the amount of caffeine than a Starbucks one. This is primarily why Pret has come out on top today because I like my coffee with a pump of vanilla and a side of heart palpitations.

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