Fairtrade Fortnight Coffee Taste Test Challenge


Coffee Taste Test Challenge 

Anyone for coffee? It’s currently Fairtrade Fortnight so in celebration of all things coffee and to highlight the importance of the sustainability of our favourite cuppa, that we sip for granted. Greggs invited me to take part in their Coffee Taste Test Challenge by visiting their competitors, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Costa Coffee and Café Nero to sample the same drink and rate it on a scale of 1-5 for taste, value for money, aroma, visual appeal and sustainability.

When out and about, Lattes are my coffee of choice, so for it to be a fair comparison, I ordered a latte at every coffee shop I visited. So, this week I took full advantage of my complimentary caffeine fix to spend some quality time concentrating on every sip and sniff of my cuppa coffee along with a little sweet treat, obviously!

For consistency, at each coffee shop I ordered a standard latte off the menu to drink in, with no special requests, no added sugar, and each cup was stirred before drinking to ensure the espresso shot was mixed in well with the steamed milk.


Costa Coffee

Taste - 2/5

The latte tasted very weak and watery from the skimmed milk used and there was only one espresso shot, so it wasn't very flavoursome nor did it give me a necessary caffeine kick. There was no distinguished aftertaste. Size-wise I think Costa serves the biggest cup which could be why it tasted more watery due to the ratio of steamed milk and espresso. Approximately 133 calories.

Value for money - 1/5

Caffe Latte (Massimo) - £2.95 staying in. The most expensive cuppa of them all.

Aroma - 1/5

The aroma was minimal, with no distinctive espresso smell lingering.

Visual appeal - 2/5

No effort for the overall visual appearance was made, the milk was thrown in rather than gently poured in to create a visual effect.

Sustainability - 4/5

Not Fairtrade certified, however, The Costa Foundation provides coffee-growing farmers with long-term support and education. 

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Cafe Nero

Taste - 4/5

A strong double shot espresso with a thin layer of foam and a full-bodied flavour with a kick. The steamed milk stayed the hottest for longest and it definitely gave me coffee breath, but overall pleasant cuppa, strongest taste-wise of them all.

Value for money - 2/5

Largest size, Grande sitting in £2.85.

Aroma - 5/5

Cafe Nero had the strongest aroma of all the competitors it was a lovely fresh earthy coffee smell.

Visual appeal - 4/5

Effort was made to pour the steamed milk slowly over the espresso, to create a visually appealing cuppa. Although it may not be to insta-worthy standards, decorative-wise.

Sustainability - 3/5

Not Fairtrade certified, although they work directly with farmers and pay a premium price for their coffee beans.



Taste - 5/5

Overall my favourite tasting latte, it was strong but not too strong, so was enjoyable with just the right amount of foam and pleasant aftertaste.

Value for money - 4/5

Short £2.25 or Tall £2.55 sitting in. Very well priced, to sit in compared to Costa and Nero.

Aroma - 4/5

A distinguishable fruity aroma, not too strong or mild.

Visual appeal - 5/5

Perhaps, the most visually appealing of them all, but still not very insta-worthy.

Sustainability - 5/5

One of the largest purchasers of Fairtrade certified coffee in the world. 



Taste - 3/5

The creamiest coffee of them all with a mild coffee taste and no lingering aftertaste. 

Value for money - 5/5

Regular £1.85 or Large £2.15. The most affordable cuppa coffee, 80p cheaper than Costa saving you £208 a year based on a 5 day working week.

Aroma - 1/5

Mild clean coffee aroma.

Visual appeal - 1/5

Looks creamy but not decorative barista style.

Sustainability - 5/5

Greggs has sourced Fairtrade coffee since 2006 and also offers Fairtrade tea, hot chocolate and juices.


Pret a Manger

Taste - 1/5

Perhaps my least favourite of them all, it had a nice foamy top but a very bitter aftertaste, I couldn't finish it.

Value for money - 3/5

One standard cup size £2.45. Affordable, but would happily pay 10p more at Starbucks for a slightly larger cup and better taste.

Aroma - 2/5

Mild clean coffee aroma like Greggs just a little stronger.

Visual appeal - 1/5

The barista was rushed off her feet at New Street Station, so the steamed milk was thrown in so it lacks any visual appeal.

Sustainability - 3/5

Not Fairtrade certified. Organic coffee from Peru, they're building long-term relationships and sharing knowledge to support sustainable farming practices


Greggs and Starbucks are the only two coffee shops who sell Fairtrade certified coffee, so if you’re looking for a caring sustainable brand then they're your go to. Cafe Nero was the most expensive, followed closely by Costa whereas Greggs was the most affordable, with Starbucks next in line based on size and then Pret. If you’re looking for a insta-worthy coffee then Starbucks and Cafe Nero are for you, but if you don't have time on your hands to snap visually appealing squares for your feed then Greggs offers the most convenient cuppa with the quickest service.

However, if you’re looking for simplicity then Pret has just one standard size option for a relativity good price, although they took the longest to make the latte. If a cosy atmosphere is what you’re looking for than Cafe Nero is my favourite, but if you’re in a rush and just want to get in and out then Greggs is for you. If you’re really not a morning person and urgently need a strong-tasting coffee with a double shot of Espresso to be sociable in the AM than Cafe Nero is what you need in your life, but it will be at the expense of your bank balance. If you crave a creamy yet, simple good tasting coffee than visit Greggs, or Starbucks for a little more flavour but less of a creamy consistency and more money.

Overall, Greggs and Starbucks are the closest competitor's in terms of Fairtrade and good value for money. But if you want a fiver to go a long way with a meal deal alongside your coffee and some spare change to put aside for a rainy day then Greggs is for you, but if you have plenty of disposable income and not fussed about supporting British brands than Starbucks is a great option. Although Greggs have stepped up to the game and introduced a speciality, vanilla and caramel lattes if you want something stronger or sweeter.

Fairtrade fortnight is 26th February to 11th March. You can find Greggs on Instagram and Twitter.

Disclaimer: Sponsored post. All photos and views are my own. Prices based in Birmingham on the week commencing 05/03/20.