Mugg and Bean - A South African Success Story
Mugg & Bean – A South African Franchise Success Story

Mugg & Bean – A South African Franchise Success Story

Mugg and Bean Coffee

When you think about going out to meet someone for breakfast or a quick lunch, where do you think of going?

For breakfast, if I think of franchise operations, I think of Wimpy or Mugg & Bean, probably because I think of coffee before I think of my food order. For lunch, I immediately think of Mugg & Bean… but put food in front of coffee this time round!

So what’s the reason? Well I know that the menu is diverse enough to suit any taste, the quality is consistent, and the pricing is reasonable. Sure, independent coffee shops have a place in my heart because I appreciate the individuality they bring, and I do choose to frequent them, but if I had to choose one over the other, I would go with Mugg and Bean.

There are not many coffee franchises that can lay claim to the brand presence that Mugg & Bean has in South Africa. With over 250 restaurants, and represented in so many towns and cities, whether you are in Cape Town (20 locations), Bloemfontein (4 locations), Durban or Polokwane, you have a guarantee of a similar dining experience.

It’s a group that was built with passion on very strong foundations by Ben and Judy Filmater, experienced restauranteurs who imagined the concept for what was to become Mugg & Bean, during a visit to Chicago in 1992. They opened their first Mugg & Bean restaurant at the V&A Waterfront in 1996, and it was an instant hit. Ben was a savvy businessman and started franchising a couple of years later, while at the same time innovating and creating the “Mugg & Bean On the Move” store concept which launched at O R Tambo International Airport. This was to become another successful route to market in the years to come.

Of course, coffee has always been one of reasons M&B attracted customers and kept them! It’s an offering that the M&B team focus on intensely. From the introduction of the bottomless filter coffee, self-served at dedicated coffee stations, to the emergence of espresso-based coffees like cappuccino and latte, M&B has always prided itself on delivering great coffee. It’s a process that starts with an understanding of what the South African coffee drinking community appreciate in their coffee and pulling together the skills to deliver it to them.

The roastery starts by identifying a number of coffee bean origins and roasting these to explore the taste profiles of light through to dark roasts. Blending these different origins, roasted to different colour levels, allows the roast-master to create their magic by combining these in different combinations and proportions. Hours of cupping go into each blend selection and then the test batch process where 1kg is typically roasted at a time, moves into large scale production where over 100kg of roasted coffee are produced at a time. Not surprisingly, even then there may need to be tweaks because roasting different quantities can present subtle taste changes.

Mugg & Bean Moccha Java ground coffee

The result is five unique Mugg & Bean coffee bean blends and five Mugg & Bean ground coffee blends. These range from medium roasts through to medium-dark roasts and include beans from 5 different countries across the blend range.

The Mocca Java blend is my favourite, probably because I can’t help thinking about the historical aspects of how coffee from the Horn of Africa (the region known today as Ethiopia and Yemen) and Indonesian coffee came together … but that’s a story for my next article. Seriously though, I also appreciate the qualities of each origin and how they complement each other on the palate. For South Africans, the boldness is present without a bitter aftertaste, and the slightly darker roast removes the acidity that can be cutting when opting to drink black coffee with no milk to balance the acidity.

Each of the other four blends has its own character:

M & B Italian Blend is based on a traditional Italian espresso profile, and is a medium to dark roast. It is deliciously smooth full-bodied coffee with spice and dark chocolate tones.

M & B Espresso Blend offers a medium to dark roast with chocolaty tones and well-rounded flavour. It’s a bold coffee with a pleasant kick!

M & B House Blend is also a medium yet full bodied roast with the smooth, aromatic hint of almonds. It is well-balanced coffee and perfect for anytime of the day.

M & B Café Blend is a medium roast coffee with hints of warm spice, chocolate, and stone fruit tones with a perfectly balanced flavour for any brew method.

No matter what your preference, you’ll likely enjoy all of the blends, although like me, you’ll probably find a favourite or two!

The opportunity presents itself to try the other blends in the range if you haven’t already done so, and to appreciate the different profiles of each blend. Ordering your coffee for delivery to your home or office is as simple as placing an order online.

Have a look at the range at

About Steve Giddings

I am a scientist turned entrepreneur who has started two companies and a management consultancy. The first company started in 2003 was involved in selling and renting coffee machines and the second started in 2007 has grown to become one of the largest coffee roasteries in South Africa. The consultancy has focused on SME development and provided support in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Caribbean. I understand coffee and anything related to it and love to share that knowledge gained over 20 years.