Caffe Gusto vs Starbucks


The staff at Starbucks, Bristol Temple Meads, are the friendliest that I have encountered so I was a little surprised not to be greeted with a smile yesterday. Turns out that the soy milk delivery was late so they couldn’t serve me.

Instead, I found myself heading to Caffe Gusto to buy a coffee before the morning train. I had just missed mine by about a minute so I wasn’t in much of a rush. The Gusto branch, which is one of many that surround and inundate the city centre (four more outlets than Starbucks), is found at the very front of the road that leads to the train station. Next to it is the Passenger Shed and a nursery.

I walk in and there’s a soft orange light that fills the cavernous interior leading to the counter. To my right are the tables and chairs for the customers. The light is more natural and it’s very quiet with a couple of occupied tables. Free wi-fi is advertised by the door.

A latte costs £2.15 for a single shot and £2.45 for a double. Soy milk is available for an additional 30p as is flavoured syrup. My decaf, vanilla, double shot latte costs me £3.05. At Starbucks the extra shot, syrup and soy milk are free for Starbucks card holders and if I reuse a tray there is a discount of 25p. Gusto so far cost me £1.20 more. I also order a muffin and an apple as substitute for the porridge I would have had from the other coffee retailer.

The soy milk at Starbucks is Alpro which is the nicest I’ve tasted by far. Their vanilla flavoured one with cinnamon on top was my favourite drink at Dashi before they shut down in January. I don’t know what they use at Gusto but it tastes akin to what skim milk tastes to people who don’t drink it, shit, watery, unpleasant and much like dish water. When you’re drinking decaf, as I am, there isn’t even the compensation of the caffeine hit.

I am not saying that Starbucks has amazing coffee which I choose for its flavour. The soy latte is sweet, milky (to an extent), and comforting. The extras are all free and I can ask for it the way I want it, ‘extra wet’ which means no foam. It’s also cheaper.

The muffin was the best part of yesterday’s breakfast and I wonder if they make their own. The whole purchase cost £5.60 and I am not too keen on going back.

This morning I caught the 7am train and I went by Starbucks for porridge and coffee. They apologised for yesterday’s lack of ingredients and didn’t charge me. The latte is comforting and the porridge is served with dried fruit and tastes great.

For me, Starbucks wins hands down and the service at Bristol Temple Meads is exceptional.

Caffe Gusto, British Empire & Commonwealth Museum, Clock Tower Yard, Temple Meads, Bristol, BS1 6QH
Starbucks, Temple Quay, 1 Temple Square, Unit A, Restaurant/Bar Cafe 2, Bristol, Bristol, City of BS1 6EB

3 responses to “Caffe Gusto vs Starbucks”

  1. Hey,

    I have to agree with the Starbucks choice, as an over the top coffee drinker I go to a lot of coffee shops (often without realising that I have walked into one!!). Once and only once have I been into a Gusto, and never again. I can’t understand how a “Coffee House” can make a bad black americano. But Gusto (Bristol City Centre) made the worst cup of mud I have ever tasted!!

    Plus as you say, Starbucks’ free extras make it all the more worth while!


  2. By Starbucks Temple Meads do you mean the one just outside the back entrance, on Temple Quay? It’s not a bad branch but I prefer the Gusto coffee, I’ll admit. I like mine very strong with more froth than milk. However, for good coffee rather than just okay stuff I’ll go to Baristas Coffee Collective just off Victoria Street, which is hands down the best coffee in Bristol and cheaper than the chains to boot. £1.60 for a cappuccino, soy milk is available but I’m not sure if it’s extra; I do know that an extra shot is 30p. They also do very tasty flapjacks, granola pots, almond croissants and other stuff that I’ve not yet tried. And the service is so friendly and personal that I know the names of the regular baristas and they know my order without having to ask.

    1. That’s the one, Kate. It’s a shame that for early morning commuters there isn’t much choice in terms of good coffee. I still haven’t managed to go to Barristas but really want to. Thanks! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: