Caffé Bene Brings Diversity to Champaign-Urbana Coffee

By Kelsey Gould on March 16, 2014

South Korea- that’s the country from which hails Champaign-Urbana’s newest coffee franchise. Champaign-Urbana coffee is about to meet Caffé Bene, which has over 800 locations and is opening its first Illinois location in Urbana. Soon enough, the University of Illinois campus will learn if Caffé Bene has what it takes to compete with the plethora of other coffee shops on and around campus.

The Champaign-Urbana area is already home to several coffee shops, including Espresso Royale. Espresso Royale has eight locations in the twin cities, six of which are on the University of Illinois Campus. With Espresso Royale so established on the University of Illinois campus, opening a new business is risky. However, Caffé Bene has the unique aspect of diversity that fits with the values at UIUC.

Caffé Bene differs from the longer-standing Espresso Royale in its diverse origins and locations.  Espresso Royale opened in 1987 in San Francisco. Since then, it has been expanding and is now established in college towns across the United States, such as East Lansing, OH; Minneapolis, MN; Madison, WI; Ann Arbor, MI and Athens, OH. While Espresso Royale began in the U.S. and in the 27 years that it has been open has stayed in the U.S., Caffé Bene was founded in 2008 in South Korea and the majority of its already 800+ locations are in South Korea and China. There are also many locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. In a fraction of the time, Caffé Bene has created a more significant amount of locations than Espresso Royale and has the potential to richly diversify Champaign-Urbana coffee.

In keeping with the idea of diversity, Bene also has more to offer as far as products go. According to its menu, Bene will offer waffles, honey bread, and Italian gelato in addition to the traditional coffee, tea and pastries that constitute the majority of Espresso Royale’s items. Caffé Bene will open early to mid-April on the corner of Gregory St and Nevada St in Urbana.



"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for something he can never lose." - Jim Elliott

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