sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 7, 2013 01:14 PM
Patrick Dempsey may not be a doctor but he plays one on TV. And he may not be a barista, but he's not just playing one off-screen. While Dempsey may cause some to heat up quickly for his portrayal of the so-called Dr. McDreamy on ABC’s hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, he is about to help a whole other target audience stay alert and warm as well.
Dempsey and a few other moneyed partners calling themselves Global Baristas late last week signed a deal to shell out $9.16 million to buy the Seattle-based Tully’s Coffee brand, outbidding local coffee behemoth Starbucks for the honor of taking on the 500 employees of a company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October. A U.S. bankruptcy court will review the bid on Friday, January 11th.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on December 13, 2012 11:19 AM
China is devouring wine, and in turn China-based vineyards are popping up. Chinese consuemrs are also glugging down coffee, so it should follow that China's coffee bean business would be booming. And it was, until a few weeks ago when coffee prices cratered to a five-year low that might see farmers change crops. Starbucks to the rescue! Kind of.
"We see our work in Yunnan as a tremendous opportunity to continue to elevate the high quality arabica coffee of Yunnan and invest in the local communities," a Starbucks spokesperson told brandchannel. A few days later, Starbucks announced the opening of the brand's first Asia-based Starbucks Farmer Support Center in China's southern coffee-growing Yunnan Province. Can the mermaid from Seattle lift the profile of China beans enough so that "Yunnan" could someday be found alongside Sumatra, Kenya, and Kona beans on its shelves?Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on December 10, 2012 05:39 PM
The notion of civet coffee is strange enough — it's pricey java (approx. $500/pound) brewed from lightly digested coffee cherries that are plucked from the dung of a nocturnal, long-tailed, catlike animal that prowls the coffee-growing lands of Southeast Asia.
But now an entrepreneur in Thailand, Blake Dinkin, has gone the nascent civet-coffee industry one better. His Black Ivory Coffee brand is produced after elephants at the Golden Elephant Triangle Foundation are given Thai Arabica beans, removing some proteins in the digestion process, and expel the half-digested coffee. The company plucks out green coffee beans and processes them into a smooth brew that it claims tastes less bitter than regular coffee because Dumbo's process of semi-digestion strips out much of the protein.
Dinkin says he can take the inevitable humor. "There's always going to be an element of [poop] jokes in doing Black Ivory Coffee," Dinkin told the Associated Press. "But the reason why it's taken me nine years to develop this is I'm really trying to make a serious product."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 5, 2012 02:01 PM
Starbucks is certainly feeling bullish these days. Just a few years after scaling back its US retail footprint in a rocky economy, the coffee giant is now eyeing "accelerated global growth" with plans to open thousands of new locations. It's even offering a luxe "superpremium" gift card that'll cost $450 to put in a Christmas stocking.
In a presentation at the company's biennial investor conference today, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz glowed with the news that he plans to boost the number of Starbucks cafes in the Americas by more than 20 percent — opening more than 3,000 new shops over the next five years, including 1,500 in the United States, still its biggest market.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2012 12:34 PM
Western retailers have been completely bombarding China with products and sales pitches in recent years. Having more than 1.3 billion consumers living within its borders can make a country’s citizens targets of such things.
Starbucks is about to go overdrive in its efforts to get the Chinese populace as dependent on their brand as plenty of Americans are, but the sell may not be so coffee-driven, but leverage the brand's tea drinks and food menu. The chain currently has 700 stores in China but that number will more than double in size to 1,500 in the next three years, according to the Wall Street Journal. That growth will also mean the chain’s employees in China will go from 12,000 today to 30,000 in three years. It also offers regional websites for Eastern China and Northern China.
Coffee sales went up 20% in 2011 over the previous year and brought in $995 million, WSJ notes, but China is still a tea-drinking nation. So Starbucks established a research-and-development unit in the country in order to figure out what it could do to attract a larger audience than those looking for a cup of joe. As a result, Starbucks China is not only celebrating Western customs such as Christmas, but serving up localized beverage and food items including a red bean frappaccino, green tea tiramisu, a Hainan chicken and rice wrap, a shredded ginger pork panini, and a Thai-style prawn wrap. And the Starbucks kiosks that work so well in the States don’t have the same effect in the Chinese market where consumers desire more space.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2012 02:59 PM
Whatever you're sipping these days, Starbucks wants to be the brand you're sipping.
As richly as Starbucks brand has made its name on coffee, selling and evoking the world of coffee-growing, -processing and -drinking, it's the tea universe — with a wide variety of ingredients and flavors and functional purposes — that strikes many as much more intriguing these days. So in announcing its purchase of the Teavana tea chain, the company's biggest-ever acquisition, Starbucks is betting as much on being able to exploit the lore and learning about tea as it is in selling the beverage itself. "We will do for tea what we did for coffee," Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the Wall Street Journal about the $620-million deal.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on November 12, 2012 02:06 PM
Vietnam is the world's second-biggest coffee exporter, a fact that probably comes as a surprise to most westerners. And now a local entrepreneur is hoping to leverage his country's crucial position as a commodity supplier into a value-added brand play the likes of Starbucks.
Dang Le Nguyen Vu, Vietnam's "Coffee King," seems to have no illusions about mimicking Starbucks overnight. But the owner of the Trung Nguyen brand of coffee told Reuters that he has the U.S. chain in his sights as a marketing model for Vietnam so that its brew and its brand — not just its beans — can have an impact.
"Our ambition is to become a global brand," he told the news service. His company already runs Vietnam's largest chai of coffee houses, and now he's hoping to build a brand that could get a foothold in the U.S. and other mature coffee markets.
Vu argues that Starbucks isn't real coffee — or real committed to its lofty corporate citizenship platform. He swipes at the bigger coffee purveyor to Reuters with the statement that "they are not selling coffee, they are selling coffee-flavored water with sugar in it." What's more, he adds, Starbucks is selling "a story." For all the coffee behemoth focuses on sustainability and corporate responsibility, "at the end of the day, the return on investment is what they care about. They don't grow coffee, do they? We do."
While Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz might beg to differ with that assessment, Vu says he's depending on the sustainability positioning of coffee farmers in Vietnam's highland region to serve as a focus for his brand as he brings it to the west. "American consumers don't need another product," he said. "They need another story."
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 20, 2012 10:01 AM
Green Mountain Coffee is in a pot of trouble. And that's even before Starbucks introduces Verismo, its own single-serve brewing system for consumers that's rolling out in October (and already available on Verismo.com), to challenge the iconic K-Cup system by Green Mountain that features its Keurig pods.
The brand has been a darling of consumers for several years, on a continued growth tear as K-Cups led a revolution in how Americans consume much of their coffee by making the single-serve system de rigeur in homes and offices. The company fed strong double-digit sales growth by continuing to proliferate the types of pods, to include "iced" drinks and juices as well as coffees and teas.
Green Mountain also had been a darling of investors seeking to cash in on a boom that, for the six years after the Vermont-based company acquired Keurig, managed to thrive without attracting the competitive interest of Starbucks.Continue reading...