Saturday, December 27, 2008
Getting a Better Cup of Coffee at Starbucks
Next time you go to a Starbucks with a friend, order a "Coffee Press" instead of a drip coffee from one of the big urns. You will pick whichever type of whole beans you want, and the Starbucks folks with grind them and brew them for you in an 8-cup thermal French press like the one shown above. At my local Starbucks this costs $3.50 before tax, which is less than the cost of two "grande" (16 oz) cups of coffee.
A couple of related items:
Two weeks ago, the Financial Times featured an article about Starbucks detailing how Howard Schultz built the business and how he has been dealing with its current challenges, "When the coffee goes cold".
Today, an American history professor made an interesting point in response to that article in a letter to the editor of the Financial Times, "Starbucks is a victim of its own success". The professor's point was that Starbucks introduced people to "the possibility if not the reality of excellent coffee", i.e., it raised the bar for coffee and opened a market for even better coffee served by local coffee shops with which Starbucks can't compete at the high end, and Starbucks has already saturated the market up to the high end (at least in the U.S.: China and other international markets present growth opportunities for Starbucks).