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They really need to make the driver's seat double as a toilet. Then they'll be on to something.
Anybody who spends decades and billions of dollars stringing consumers along with conflicting study after conflicting study without any conclusive results is either incompetent or profiting from deception.
Nice piece. Though I have to question the logic behind your statement of, "one of the key reasons Starbucks became successful was due to their overroasted profiles." Indirectly, that's probably true. But it's not because of consistency. Starbucks is terribly inconsistent between their own stores for all the promises a chain is supposed to deliver ( http://theshot.coffeeratings.com/2009/08/chain-coffee-consistency-myth/ ). Rather, Starbucks built its core success on making people who essentially don't like coffee believe that they actually did. To achieve this, they optimized a roasting style that held up under heavy amounts of milk and flavored syrups. The kind of beverages where coffee is a suggestive ingredient rather than the main show.
If there's one way to downplay the quality and purity of an ingredient, it's to blend it into some concoction where you can no longer tell how good it is.
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Are you new to how the corporate world works? This isn't just Starbucks, my friend. Time to get your head out of the sand.
http://www.dearcoffeeiloveyou.com/boycott-bold/
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Er, trend? Places like Oakland's Cole Coffee and Monterey's Plumes has been offering this since the 1990s. Monmouth Coffee in London has offered this since 1978. When does something that old suddenly become a "trend"?
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2011 on Pour-Over Coffee at The Amateur Gourmet
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It's amazing how much of my life I got back when I stopped doing pointless activities like Foursquare.
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http://www.kisscoffeehouse.com/
Toggle Commented Nov 22, 2010 on Would You Drink Wilco Coffee? at INDIEBLOGHEAVEN
Wait. You're a French guy. The French are known for burnt, French-roasted coffee heavy on the robusta from the former French Indochina colonies. This is why the stuff in Paris tastes like an ashtray. Coffee is one area where I would hide your French lineage for greater credibility.
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Saying "Wholesale coffee prices have hit a 13-year high" is another way of saying they're the same price they were in 1997. Oh, the sky is falling.
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Unfortunately, this just feeds the stereotype of how completely clueless the music industry is about economics. Coffee is a physical good whose distribution is high-touch and labor intensive. Music is a whole other animal. It's ridiculous to be comparing the two in the same breath.
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I see this as a regressive move for Starbucks. Perhaps the smartest thing the company did in the past 5 years was its Via announcement a couple of years back. After years of over-expansive development at the expense of their quality standards and exclusivity, they finally acknowledged the bed that they made and the new competition they encouraged: fast food coffee vs. the likes of McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts, etc. They replaced all their La Marzocco machines with superautomated coffee robots in their Verismos; that allowed them to expand to an inexpensive, lower-skilled talent pool to operate all the machines in their armada of stores, etc. Until that point, we had Howard Schultz drinking his own Kool-Aid, saying that Starbucks makes the best coffee available -- when clearly local boutique cafes and roasters bypassed them in quality and exclusivity in the past 5-7 years in many urban markets. So how could Starbucks revive its brand? I had joked three years ago that the brand had become a liability for this quality image, and the only way they might do that is by opening a line of cafes that wasn't branded Starbucks. Sure enough, that is precisely what they are doing here. The problem with this effort is that it denies the realities of their current business climate. Starbucks is no longer an elite, luxury brand. They lost that argument years ago when the Intelligentsias, the Gimmme Coffees, the Stumptowns, etc., completely blew that myth out of the water. Now without exclusivity, without highly trained staff, with all the investments for mass production, Starbucks is now designed as a mass market company. Trying to compete still as a luxury brand is a denial of this reality.
A comeback from what? We've been deluged with specialty foods for over a decade now with no abatement in sight. I don't know what they're hiding from you in New Jersey, but in California it's like drinking from a firehose.
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LOL. You just called Folgers and Kraft "top roasters". Good one!
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Welcome to Norway circa 2004.
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2010 on Replacing cash with a phone at Technology
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It's taken us 50 years and billions of dollars of weekly conflicting medical research studies to finally come to this? What a colossal waste of resources. No wonder why our health care expenses are ridiculous for the quality we get.
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It's a good thing I don't go to Starbucks then. If I had to drink one of their mass-produced, soulless buckets of pumpkin-pie-flavored Cool Whip, I'd be shooting a hell of a lot of people.
You did your homework. Bravo. Nicely thought through.
Toggle Commented Jan 27, 2010 on Tough Love For Starbucks at Brand Autopsy
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Why do journalists' and bloggers' brains and backbones turn into Jell-O whenever they encounter a "scientific study"? They are always so unbearably willing to kow-tow to the latest study du jour and never question it. Problem is there's a lot of bad science out there. It's no wonder why consumers are so confused with one study on coffee saying one thing in a given week, and the next week a different study says the complete opposite. Journalists and bloggers feed this insanity by just regurgitating the latest medical press release as gospel. Please. Do us a service and not parrot everything you read as if it came down from Mt. Sinai Medical Center on stone tablets.
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2009 on Coffee won't make you sober at Booster Shots
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Starbucks self-congratulatory bravado has been particularly funny given that the corporation has posted a 6% decline in sales this past quarter and an 8% decline the quarter before that. With social media campaigns this good, who needs revenues? When just having followers is the goal, these empty-handed achievements will last in value only until the next press release.
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Unfortunately, most chefs are idiot savants when they think they are geniuses. Too many presume their superior taste with food immediately lends over to credentials with coffee, and inevitably I found they know little to nothing at all about how to make good coffee. Hubris, really. So between that and the market flood of overpriced espresso machines, chances are that $6k machine could be a piece of art and little else.
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So everybody reads BoingBoing and everybody slaps their own application to a 50-year-old video...
You honestly need to get out more. Starbucks has long suffered from living in a mental past: thinking it's still 1985, that the quality of their many competitors has not improved, and that they have thought of everything first. In reality, smaller competitors have run circles around them. So I suggest you get inside the likes of Intelligentsia, Counter Culture, or Stumptown, just as examples, and you'd be shocked at the divide. The smartest thing I've seen from Starbucks in the past decade has been the introduction of their instant VIA coffee. For the first time, Starbucks seems to show some self-awareness that 14,000 worldwide locations is never synonymous with a "quality play", but rather a quantity/value play. All the concessions they made to get massive big as fast as possible has lined them up where they are today: in direct competition with other value competitors in the fast food industry. VIA was the first time I've seen the company acknowledge that it's not 1985 anymore, that smaller and more nimble competitors are impossible for them to chase at the quality end, and they need to face the reality of the bed they've since made for themselves.
I prefer the fashion simplicity of merely wearing a French press myself.