Coffee shops are on the increase in St Albans, Stevenage and Welwyn Hatfield

Nkora, two doors down from Caffe Nero on Market Place, is a new coffee shop for St Albans

Nkora, two doors down from Caffe Nero on Market Place, is a new coffee shop for St Albans - Credit: Archant

New data has confirmed what many of us already knew: coffee shops are booming throughout Hertfordshire.

According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the number of unlicensed restaurants – which includes both cafes and fast food outlets – has doubled from 15 in 2010 to 30 this year in Stevenage, while in St Albans the figure has gone up from 35 to 50 and in Welwyn Hatfield it has risen from 20 to 35.

Stats also show that the opening of new coffee shops and fast food restaurants throughout Herts has slowed since 2016 – but the numbers have still increased by 25 per cent in St Albans, by 20 per cent in Stevenage and by 17 per cent in Welwyn Hatfield during this period.

People in the UK drink 95 million cups of coffee each day, up from 70 million 10 years ago, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. One in 10 are sold in coffee shops, and more than half of those are served by Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero.

Mike Cherry, the Federation of Small Business’s national chairman said: “Crucially, it isn’t just chain stores who are seeing their fortunes rise, but independents are also thriving in this food and drink boom.

“Not only does this help small firms, but also gives shoppers a greater wealth of choice and promotes good healthy competition.”

The investment bank Citybank said in a report released last year that the number of coffee shops cannot keep growing at the same high pace and forecast that the boom in the sector will not last beyond 2022.