There is always this debate among coffee lovers whether or not Starbucks is premium coffee or should even be considered in the specialty coffee discussion. I for one am, obviously,an advocate for Starbucks being included in the discussion.
My thoughts in this article may come as a surprise to many of you. Many people think of Coffee Cup News as being an advocate for the smaller guy, the local coffee company and the niche, specialty, high quality coffee company; which we are. I, Jason Coffee (owner of Coffee Cup News), also try hard to be a realist and include all factors into the conversation. Which brings me to my main point, Starbucks in many ways is more popular than (specialty) coffee.
That last line may have shocked you to read, Starbucks is more popular than (specialty) coffee, is he serious? (and I am.) Starbucks gives people who would have otherwise never even consider spending premium prices on coffee an easy on-ramp into doing just that. Starbucks Coffee really acts as a funnel to the specialty coffee industry as a whole. (Coffee Cup News attempts to be an extension of that funnel drawing people deeper into the specialty coffee scene.) Starbucks sells around, 4 billion, cups of coffee every year to people who would have otherwise never developed a daily, premium price, coffee habit. I know because I am one of those people.
In a recent article, My Starbucks Story, I shared that I worked for Starbucks for 5 years when I first started enjoying coffee. As I worked there they gave me many tools to help me enjoy coffee. We did daily coffee tasting, paired up coffee with pastries and learned different geographical facts about how and where coffee is grown in the Coffee Master program. Once I was ready I led daily tasting with my co-workers and held weekly tastings that my customers would attend. (In turn educating people about coffee who would have otherwise never developed a passion for the bean.) This increased my passion for coffee and played an intricate role in how much I love to seek out the best coffee, in the world, I can find today.
So when people say things like, “Starbucks? Why do you even include them in the coffee discussion?” The above reasons are just some of my reasoning behind why Coffee Cup News includes Starbucks in the coffee discussion.
Do you think Starbucks should be included in the premium coffee discussion?