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Concept cafe Knoops rivals Starbucks

Alexandra Theofilopoulou
A queue forms outside new concept cafe Knoops at its High Street Kensington location. Known for its chocolate expertise, the store had a busy evening at one of its biggest locations.

The anticipation for Starbucks’s holiday drinks, once a highlight of my festive holiday season, has lost its spark. These days, Starbucks relies on recurring holiday favorites in order to mask its lack of innovation and quality and maintain its appeal. Still, hot drinks are a seasonal staple, and I am constantly on the hunt for my new go-to drink. 

The letdown of Starbucks has caused me to turn towards the concept cafe Knoops as an alternative.

Knoops, a newly popular chain, is swiftly gaining attention across London for its large selection of hot chocolate. Knoops operates in 15 different locations across the U.K. and is looking to expand, with a goal to open 120 stores nationwide by 2028, according to World Coffee Portal.

The cafe’s menu features 20 different concentrations of chocolate as well as a vast selection of vegan options featuring plant-based milk. More importantly, the drinks incorporate the innovation and quality that other chains such as Starbucks fail to include. 

On top of its delicious and diverse flavor options, Knoops boasts homemade marshmallows sold both as an addition to the hot chocolate and as a takeaway sweet treat.

Knoops’ ingredient quality is a factor that Starbucks has yet to match. With their homemade marshmallows and unique suppliers listed on their website , Knoops has a distinguishable edge. 

Knoops does not simply adhere to current trends; they are innovative with its drink options, which in turn adds stability to its menu.

Its wide range of hot chocolates is its most extensive selection, closely followed by its iced chocolates, milkshakes and coffees. 

Knoops’ extensive menu and endless combinations give it a unique advantage over rival cafes like Starbucks, which are hyper-focused on adhering to current trends and what is most popular at the moment, causing menu instability and fluctuations in quality.

Both Knoops and Starbucks have implemented their seasonal items, which are in high demand with eager, winter-ready consumers trying out their new offerings. 

According to Square Meal, Starbucks has introduced their Gingerbread Oat Milk Chai and Oleato Gingerbread Oat Milk Latte in addition to their returning seasonal drinks: Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulee Latte, Toffee Nut Latte, Eggnog Latte, and Caramel Waffle Latte. 

They have also added a Gingerbread Loaf, Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop and Snowman Cookie to their food selection

Starbucks relies on the interest provided by its seasonal selection in order to appeal to customers. However, the lack of quality to fall back on makes it increasingly difficult to maintain that attraction.  

While their seasonal menu is slightly less abundant, Knoops’ reliance on quality makes them less dependent on seasonal elements to intrigue or attract consumers. 

Knoops recently released a new festive add-on, which incorporates notes of pumpkin and warming spices to every hot drink. They have also added new gingerbread marshmallows, which make for a great wintery addition. 

Ultimately, Knoops’ prioritization of high-quality ingredients, inventive concepts and commitment to catering to a wide array of customers make it a true cafe contender. The unique concept and expertise of Knoops place it above the ranks of Starbucks and allow it to aim higher than mass chains. 

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About the Contributor
Alexandra Theofilopoulou ('27) is a Reporter for The Standard in Multimedia Journalism.

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