More coffee houses are on their way to Britain’s high streets although experts claim the market is already saturated. Analysts predict that the leading operators like Starbucks and Costa Coffee might double in size within the next decade, threatening the existence of local cafés, tea shops and “greasy spoons”. The UK already has more than 3,000 branded coffee shops with more in London than there are in Manhattan. Research group Allegra Strategies predicts that number will grow to more than 6,000 by 2017, rising at 9% annually. Starbucks is currently opening a new shop in the UK every fortnight. Newcomers to the sector also have expansion plans. Flat White in London’s Soho opened two years ago to sell Antipodean-style frothy coffee and hopes to open more branches. Fast-food restaurants and doughnut shops are also looking to compete with big coffee chains by buying special brewing equipment and offering premium blends. Meanwhile the coffee chains’ biggest potential competitor is JD Wetherspoon, which launched its gourmet coffee last year and now has volumes to match third-place operator Caffé Nero. The Independent On Sunday 29/7/07 page 4 (Business)