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October 25, 2004

Starbucks Blinks

This week's issue of New Yorker magazine arrived on Friday. When I paged through it this weekend I noticed a strange full-page ad that made me do a double- and triple-take. It was a sepia-toned image, in extreme close up of a single coffee bean. Dark roasted, of course. The bean is so big I didn't recognize it at first.

There was a surpisingly discreet Starbucks logo on the bottom right-hand corner of the page, with a simple legend: artisan roasters since 1971.

Juan Valdez opens a coffee shop in Manhattan, and Starbucks feels the need to assert itself with an appeal to craft tradition. Starbucks does not represent craft roasting, nor craft brewing to me. They may have been craft oriented at one time, but now they seem to be about industrial grade production.

My faith in Juan's strength is reaffirmed. He made Starbucks flinch.

Posted by SWEAT at October 25, 2004 11:00 PM