Hope they don't trademark it. Starbucks & "Culinary

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Hope they don't trademark it. Starbucks & "Culinary

Postby Mark Prince on Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:18 am

Starbucks is now using a phrase that many of us have been using for some time, and one I really push:

Coffee is Culinary.

Have a gander:

http://www.starbucks.com/flash/coffeefoodpairings/

Mark
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'Bucks Culinary

Postby gabelucas on Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:30 am

looks yummy.
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Postby Gary McGann on Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:50 am

Love the $1 dollar from each book to UNICEF! Hardly going to dent their profits.After the Ethopia fiasco this is the PR machine fighting back - and you know what the vast majority of the public won't see through it!
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Re: Hope they don't trademark it. Starbucks & "Culi

Postby Rich Westerfield on Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:58 am

Mark Prince wrote:Starbucks is now using a phrase that many of us have been using for some time, and one I really push:

Coffee is Culinary.

Have a gander:

http://www.starbucks.com/flash/coffeefoodpairings/

Mark


If they're willing to put money behind promoting this concept, we're all for it in our shop.

We wish they were working with a "culinary expert" we'd actually heard of and were doing recipe pairings beyond cheap, sweet breakfast treats, but it's a start. We're willing to see where this goes before panning the enterprise.
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Postby Lee Corrina Cano on Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:28 am

My current favorite is from the Careers pamphlet I recently picked up in a Starbucks. The description for the job of Barista starts:

"Making the best handcrafted drinks..." (my emphasis)
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Re: Hope they don't trademark it. Starbucks & "Culi

Postby Jeff Givens on Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:34 am

Rich Westerfield wrote:We wish they were working with a "culinary expert" we'd actually heard of


Are you referring to Marcus Samuelsson? He's a very well-known chef with serious culinary skills.
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Re: Hope they don't trademark it. Starbucks & "Culi

Postby Rich Westerfield on Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:25 pm

Jeff Givens wrote:
Rich Westerfield wrote:We wish they were working with a "culinary expert" we'd actually heard of


Are you referring to Marcus Samuelsson? He's a very well-known chef with serious culinary skills.


Yep. Never heard of him. Then again I'd never heard of Tyler whatshisname before Applebee's started promoting him.

edit: Actually, in Googling the guy, I had heard of Aquavit back in the 90s, but I was never much interested in what was happening there vs. other cuisines, so I didn't give much thought to the chef.
Last edited by Rich Westerfield on Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby onocoffee on Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:23 pm

Bah - you can "pair" food and drink at McDonald's!

My preference:

Large French Fries - hot
Large Coke - mas fria
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Postby Edwin Martinez on Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:06 am

I attended the release of this at SBUX corporate last Thurs and was very impressed with educational efforts made internally in addition to such promotions as "Coffee is Culinary". For any of you that like to cook, Marcus has done a fantastic job researching and documenting his modern use of original and specific flavors from many parts of Africa.
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Postby Mark Prince on Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:20 am

I'm actually happy that Starbucks is pushing the "Coffee is Culinary' concept. Hell, in the past on coffeed and CoffeeGeek, I promoted their early food pairings listed on their website, about a year or two ago.

I say let Starbucks roll with this. Most of youse in the biz of actually selling brewed and pulled drinks owe a lot to a little Seattle company that made it possible for millions of people to confuse a giant hot milk drink with "specialty coffee" and sell it for $3 or $4 a go. In other words, Starbucks, along with smaller chains, made the concept of selling coffee for more than $1 a cup (or $0.75 a cup, or $0.50 a cup) not only fashionable, but par for the course. They did that, and maybe with their power and influence, now they'll get the public thinking that coffee is indeed culinary.

Then it's up to "us" to actually deliver the culinary aspects of coffee, while the big guys just use words like gourmet and special and limited edition.

I have two concerns, reiterated here: they better not try to copyright or trademark the phrase "Coffee is Culinary". I can show prior use, and I bet many others can show even earlier use.

I'm serious about this, because of Starbucks' history on trying to dominate coffee related phrases (anyone remember Double Shot Cafe?). Seeing what's going on in Australia right now with Nescafe trying to copyright the image of black coffee in white cup is just another example of wariness being valid.

Second concern? That they water down the concept of "coffee is culinary" so much in the future, that we'll have to find other descriptives. We've already lost gourmet to the 7-11s of the world.

"Coffee is Culinary" = good, and open source please.
Trademarking "Coffee is Culinary": be very wary.

Mark
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Postby DaveHaddock on Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:59 am

I discovered this after-the-fact coopting/marketing effort when I rolled into a SBUX in PA. (BTW, is there any palatable coffee in Western PA besides Pittsburg?)

Aside from the typical master blender this and hand-crafted that, my first reaction was the same as when they coopted the words Fair Trade, Organic and Shade Grown a few years back, as if it were their own concept.

Those of us in Specialty have known for years the value of marrying the Coffee and Culinary worlds and have been doing just that.

To see SBUX marketing the idea in their store is not so much validation of what we've been doing for the last few years in real life and at Conference in the Culinary Track, but more mediocre adaptation (as most SBUX programs are) to help tap into a growing market segment.

Either way, if the concept doesn't land them X dollars in X time, like any other corporation, they will cut it and move on to the next shiny bauble.

Point being, we in specialty understand and cleave to the practice of marrying coffee with food or at least having a stunning cup that compliments the food. For us Coffee has always been Culinary.
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Postby Rich Westerfield on Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:41 am

DaveHaddock wrote:(BTW, is there any palatable coffee in Western PA besides Pittsburg?)


Beaver Falls Coffee Co. is up and coming. Also Amadeus in Indiana, PA. Both are still fairly new shops finding their way, but the owners care a lot. Can't think of anywhere else, but we haven't tried a lot of places outside the Metro.
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A perfect meal at last?

Postby Andi Trindle on Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:50 pm

I'm definitely all in favor of getting folks to think of coffee as a culinary experience. We need lots more of this type of thinking and I don't care who gets it out there in a big way. Like Mark said, we should all give a little credit to Starbucks some credit for getting specialty coffee in general out there . . . . They're good at reaching the masses and then the rest of us can improve upon what they do and get it right.

As a foodie, I've been trying in a small way for years to get coffee out in the culinary landscape, including by teaching voluntary classes for small culinary schools, but we've barely started to get ourselves as an industry noticed with chefs. It's still really hard for me to get a great cup of coffee after a great meal. It's getting better, but we're not even close to done. Good thing I can always have port or whiskey after a great meal instead. . . .:-)

Best wishes,
Andi

Please forgive any small typos caused by a voice dictation.
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Re: A perfect meal at last?

Postby Mark Prince on Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:04 am

Andi Trindle wrote:Good thing I can always have port or whiskey after a great meal instead. . . .:-)


You're my kind of person, Andi! And you even spelled whiskey right - the only way! :D :D :D :D :D

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Re: A perfect meal at last?

Postby Richard Hartnell on Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:18 pm

Mark Prince wrote:And you even spelled whiskey right - the only way! :D :D :D :D :D

Mark


From the guy whose country is responsible for the word "manoeuvreing?" *grin*

...and more on-topic ('cause I feel terrible for lurking for forever): I have no worry about Starbucks customers coming in and saying things like, "You know, I appreciate Starbucks because they coined the idea that 'coffee is culinary.'"

As always, I personally feel comfortable with their leading customers up to that point for us. I like to think that I can pick up the slack.

Better greenwashing than no washing at all...
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Postby Andi Trindle on Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:46 pm

Better greenwashing than no washing at all...

I'm probably behind the times (often the case), but I really like that phrasing and I have not heard it before. Although I'm certainly not a fan of greenwashing, I've had the argument many times that I would rather have people accomplish something good--regardless of their motivations -- than do nothing good at all. Some people, many people, don't understand this point and feel that they have to know that the intentions are good in order to appreciate/respect the results. My point has always been that we can never know the true motivations of anyone anyway, so I would rather just have good things get done. Also, I think that all people (and certainly large corporations where there are a multitude of players involved in every decision) are way more complicated than we often think. I think most people, and certainly all companies, are motivated by many different things at the same time when they make each and every decision to do or not do something. We are just not that simple.

I'm switching subjects here, but this particular argument has fascinated me for a while.

Thanks for the new phrasing, which I guarantee I will be quoting.

Please forgive any small typos caused by a voice dictation.
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Postby Mark Prince on Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:38 pm

I wrote above that I applauded Starbucks for working with their marketing to get the public thinking about pairing coffees to desserts. And I think, in a very indirect way, we're starting to see the most basic of improvements in this area - I often criticise restaurant coffee on the podcast, and I get emails from listeners who talk up some restaurants "trying to do it right". I don't think it's a stretch to lay some of the blame (praise?) on Starbucks for this - Starbucks publicizes food pairings, restaurants pick up on it.

My main goal in this whole coffee thing goes back to what I wrote in one of my first articles on CoffeeGeek. I said back then (paraphrasing): I have a 1 in 20 chance of going into a cafe and getting a decent espresso. I want that to be a 1 in 10 chance in five years, and a 1 in 5 chance in 10 years. This is why I'm starting this website.

It's been modified somewhat, but the original intent remains true - I wanted to provide a platform (one that didn't exist at the time) for consumers to learn about, and appreciate the culinary aspects of coffee. So much so that they start to demand, with their dollars, better coffee in public establishments.

In and around 2004-2006, and maybe even part of 2007, I got away from that message a bit. I started focusing more on the industry, doing industry things, reporting industry things, and not so much spreading the gospel of good coffee. Part of my disenchantment with the WBC/USBC lead to something good - a refocusing on what the core mission of the site was, and what I wanted to do in this world of quality coffee. I'm back on mission, at least I hope. Less focus on the insider industry stuff, more on just letting people know there's a culinary aspect to coffee.

So my hope with Starbucks current "Coffee is Culinary" push is that they, with their much broader reach than I have, establish a mentality that coffee is indeed something culinary, and not a commodity or utility. Then as we've all said in this thread, it's up to us to pick up the slack and show the true culinary aspects of the beverage.

As a side note, all the Starbucks in Vancouver have the "Coffee is Culinary" signboards and in store signage saying just that. It's all over the stores here. I'm just amazed.

Mark.
PS. they better not try to trademark the phrase :D
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Postby Sandy on Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:55 pm

Mark Prince wrote:
PS. they better not try to trademark the phrase :D



then you better beat them to it because you know it's going to happen.

Venti is trademarked for goodness sake!!!
:shock: :roll:
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Postby Mark Prince on Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:28 pm

Sandy wrote:then you better beat them to it because you know it's going to happen.

Venti is trademarked for goodness sake!!!
:shock: :roll:


I know. Which is why I keep saying this! :D

I don't want to trademark it. I think it's a phrase that serves the entire (true) specialty coffee industry in educating the public. But if they do try to trademark it, I'd be up for a) continuing to use it, and b) show prior use, in context, should they try to challenge it.

Mark
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Postby nick on Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:41 pm

Mark Prince wrote:But if they do try to trademark it, I'd be up for a) continuing to use it, and b) show prior use, in context, should they try to challenge it.

I don't think it could be trademarked by Starbucks, but that said, you couldn't either.

"Prior use" has to be in commerce. You can't just be saying it or writing it over and over unless you're using it in commerce. That is, at least in the US.
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Postby Mark Prince on Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:30 pm

nick wrote:"Prior use" has to be in commerce. You can't just be saying it or writing it over and over unless you're using it in commerce. That is, at least in the US.


I'm fairly sure "Prior Use" doesn't have to be exclusively in commerce - artists and writers have argued the prior use claim before.

But regardless, what do you think those little side and top graphics are on CG ;) I also recall seeing examples of prior use vs. trademarks using magazines and newspapers as historical evidence. But maybe Marshall can enlighten us more on this.

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