June 5, 2012

Starbucks Buys Baker - Seeking to Own Coffee Occasions


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Starbucks is buying a San Francisco baker, La Boulange, as the coffee purveyor is looking to own all things coffee. They have carved out a nice segment of the market and realize that they want to and can control significant portions of revenue for users who come into the stores.... and after they leave too.

McDonald's Theory

So, other than a few brands that grace the inside of the McDonalds, namely Coke, Newman's Own coffee and a few others occasionally, you walk in and you get McDonalds stuff, period. Starbucks clearly realized that they don't need to settle for a small mark-up, but instead have the right to own the entire offering in their stores, while also controlling much of the experience. Pastry not delivering the right taste and brand experience? Buy the baker yourself.

Coffee All the Time

Starbucks has shown that they aspire to be all things coffee, not only in the store, but away from the store. Remember when Starbucks offered bulk coffee for grinding? I mean real bulk coffee? That format is fading fast in favor of K-Cups, Via Instant, and soon, the Verismo system. With these offerings, they have 1) The largest installed base of single serve coffee machines on the market addressed, 2) A better away from home beverage, and 3) a new way to drive growth int eh high end of the market, respectively.

Don't like the char-bucks flavor of coffee that they once touted as the signature flavor, with the notion that without it, you weren't drinking real coffee? Well, that's remedied, with the introduction of ever lighter coffees that can finally show off some subtle notes apparent only when more lightly roasted. Far from stupid, this opens the their market up even more.

Single Serve Wars; Verismo vs. Nespresso vs. Keurig Vue

Green Mountain/Keurig is betting on their own Keurig Vue maker to deliver high end users, while Nespresso, the massive player everywhere but the US, has started TV advertising in the US ahead of the Verismo launch later this year. Clearly, Starbucks realized the power of their brand about two decades ago, but have recently extended their reach with more offerings, a broadening of the market they address, and specialization with talent to bring them to the grocery channel in a big way. Don't expect them to be content with a few facings of Starbucks Via, or Starbucks Ground Coffee in 12 ounce bags or K-Cups. I expect that they will continue to make the coffee aisle their home.

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June 4, 2012

Stainless Steel Refillable, Reusable Nespresso Capsule

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File this under interesting, a Swiss inventor has patented a reusable Nespresso compatible capsule. The two-piece construction allows you to unscrew the top, add the coffee and screw it back together. The fact that it doesn't have any parts that get ruined during brewing make the capsule super long lasting. The sturdy construction and the fact that it can withstand the 18 bar pressure during brewing makes this a candidate for experimentation. Add this to the wish list.

I've tried the NexPod and the Capsulin Nespresso Compatible capsules and while interesting, each had their downside when compared to the convenience of dropping in a regular capsule.

Try the Google Translate Version (English) or the Original French- Via our sister site, SingleServeCoffee

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Nespresso Maestria Line - the Art of the Barista

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The latest machines to come from Nespresso are the Maestria line, targeted at the user who wants to make milk-based drinks, while still enjoying the convenience of the capsule based system. The Maestria line comes in a couple of versions, one with an actual steam wand, something I didn't know if we'd see that coming out of the Nespresso launches anytime soon, and one with the more familiar Aeroccino sidecar to automatically heat and froth the milk. The design language is straight from the recent successes in the market of the Citiz and Pixie; vertical, with some extra strong features to communicate the strong capabilities and added features.

I would call the base machine, shown above, comes with and all aluminum body, the milk steamer, the ability to "fine tune" coffee volumes, and a 1.4 liter tank. Other automatic machines like the Citiz and Pixie are able to change up their brew volumes, but not easily. They are set-up to run the same volume consistently - a short and a long. This seems to be a reasonable approach to accessing the market for milk based drinks without going full-automatic, like the Nespresso Latissima+, without venturing into a fully ground coffee arena.

The second machine style, called the Gran Maestria adds the Aeroccino sidecar, as well as a cup warmer to the side.

The base machine Maestria C500 or D500 is $549, while the Grand Maestria D520 is $699.

At Nespresso and at Amazon the Nespresso Maestria Espresso Maker

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May 27, 2012

Quick Coffee Cubes - Jiva Coffee

Well not exactly an espresso, but this is something you should check out. I am a fan of Kickstarter, the start-up micro-fnding site, and came across the Jiva cube offer. Here's the concept - need a quick offer anytime, anywhere (who doesn't?), drop a Jiva Cube in the cup, add hot water and go.

the Cubes are made of Colombian coffee and a form of sugar, called Panela, a whole sugar that helps hold the Jiva cubes together. I like the innovative spirit.

If you want to check out the food category over at Kickstarter, you'll see some of the mix if ideas needing a little capital. They range from micro coffee roasters, to cafes and beyond coffee like Food Trucks, and You-Brew start-ups.

At Kickstarter - Jiva Coffee Cubes

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April 30, 2012

Nespresso Ad Campaign Starts Today in US - VIDEO

Nespresso has been growing at a strong pace for a long time globally, but has only scratched the surface in the US. They are trying to change that with the introduction of Nespresso ads on US television starting today. The ads will run, telling consumers that they have the best cafe right in their home.

The Ad features the Nespresso Latissima Plus machine - a small machine that can froth milk at the touch of a button and create a whole host of cafe style coffee drinks. It's not a Clooney based ad series, like they run in Europe, but the idea is to introduce the Nespresso concept, not continue growth among consumers who are already aware of Nespresso.



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