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Costa self-service machines serve up 3m free drinks

Costa Coffee has said that over three million free drinks were given away via its Costa Express self-service machines as part of a major marketing initiative last week.

The drinks chain released a statement talking up its technological capabilities as people rushed to take advantage of the business’s ‘Free Coffee Day’ on Tuesday 1 October by using its 8,500+ machines across the UK.

Scott Martin managing director at Costa Express, said the special offer created a demand for its machines that was “ten times that of a usual day”.

“Out of our 8,500+ machines across the UK, less than 1% experienced an unresolved technical issue, but we do appreciate that this still meant people may not have been able to get hold of their free coffee, so we apologise to those who couldn’t get their favourite drink from their selected machine,” he noted.

“It’s safe to say that the response to Free Coffee Day, not only at our machines, but through the thousands of responses via social media demonstrates that it’s truly a new dawn in the self-serve industry.”

Martin claimed Costa is “showing up the poor offerings led by competitors” in terms of coffee self-service.

The Costa Express Latte was the most consumers drink during the giveaway day, with 1.1 million cups dispensed over the 24-hour period. A very close second was hot chocolate, which was dispensed 1 million times.

In addition, the Costa Express machines poured 400,000 cappuccinos, 180,000 mochas, 130,000 white Americanos, and 100,000 black Americanos.

Costa said one reason for running Free Coffee Day was to challenge the perception of self-service coffee, which it claimed can be associated with “Styrofoam cups, abysmal freeze-dried coffee and powdered milk”.