The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs (DoCaSA), the speciality coffee shop concept, has strengthened its presence in London, after taking on the Tap Coffee business, MCA understands.

The 18-strong group, which is backed by US-list company DOCASA Inc, has secured the sites in Rathbone Place, Wardour Street and Tottenham Court Road. All three sites continue to operate under the Tap banner at present.

At the same time, Rachel Hillel, former international head of insight at Pret a Manger, has joined the company as a non-executive director, member of its Development Committee, and head of its concept delivery team.

Last year, the company made its debut in the US, in Chicago, after securing a site in 800 W Diversey Parkway.

At the same time, it secured its first liquor license for its Spitalfields Market site and lined up another opening in central London.

It also made its regional debut in Bristol and Manchester.

It hopes to reach 50 sites nationwide.

The Stefan Allesch-­Taylor CBE-chaired group is a subsidiary of US-based holding company DOCASA, Inc.

As well as opening company-owned stores, the group is pursuing franchising and licensing of its branded shops outside the UK to countries where the premium coffee market is expanding.