FOODWISE: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf VS Spinelli Coffee Company

FOODWISE: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf VS Spinelli Coffee Company



People often flock to Coffee Bean or Starbucks or Spinelli for a quick cuppa to start their day right. Some even go there for afternoon tea, allowing that splendid slice of cake transport them away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

But how many people actually go there for their food? More importantly, how’s the standard of their food? In chain cafes like these, the food is more often than not pre-packaged, and merely heated up in the microwave or toaster oven on request.

I decided to try Grilled Chicken Sandwiches from two cafes, to compare the standards. Here’s my verdict:

Spinelli Coffee Company
photo 4 (89)

At Spinelli, they call their Grilled Chicken Sandwich the Bountiful Chicken Sandwich (or something fancy like that). I was a little apprehensive before I ordered it since the sandwich looked rather stale sitting in the glass display.

Before heating my sandwich up, the barista added one or two measly slices of lettuce and probably squirted on some mayonnaise.


The bread was well toasted though, and crispy to the bite. In fact, it remained crispy right until the very end. The grilled chicken came in a generous portion, and even had the skin on it. My guess would be it was the chicken thigh. The chicken meat was a tad dry. The bread became a little soggy on the inside due to the mayonnaise and butter, but it was still flavorful. I would eat the bread on its own actually!

However, a major downside was that this cost $10.30. Just for the sandwich, no drink, no side salad. There are much better lunch sets elsewhere than this!

Beanstro/The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Note: Beanstro is run by CBTL as well)


This was from Beanstro. It cost $10.50, just a tad more expensive than Spinelli. I was really impressed by this Grilled Chicken sandwich though. First off, the dish was nicely presented as you can see. The ciabatta was crispy, and the chicken was moist and well-marinated. The ciabatta became pretty hard after awhile, and was a chore to cut through. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this sandwich, even more than Spinelli’s since the chicken was tender and tasty. The chicken used here is skinless and doesn’t have much fats on it.

The side salad was made with fresh crisp vegetables and the sandwich was filled with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. It was good 🙂


The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
On another occasion, I tried the same sandwich again, but this time at Coffee Bean, rather than it’s cafe concept, Beanstro. This, unlike the earlier sandwich, was a complete disaster.

There was way too much gravy, the bread was soft and soggy. By the time I was halfway through my meal, the bread was utter mush, and the whole dish was an oily mess. It was far from appetizing. The side salad was overdressed which made the whole dish even soggier and disgusting. This was the worst sandwich I have ever eaten.

It’s funny how the same dish can differ so much at different outlets. 

So who does it better?

I would choose Beanstro as my first choice, but since Beanstro doesn’t have as many outlets, it may be less accessible. So if you can’t find a Beanstro near you, Spinelli would be a better bet than The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Well, there you have it! I hope FoodWise has helped you make the wiser food choice when you dine out.

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