15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

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Re: Starbucks opening new concept store.

Postby Andrew Hetzel on Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:17 am

Brett Hanson wrote:At the end of the day, sbux doesn't spend a lot of time (some time, sure) worrying about the whipsawing of wall st. They've never given monthly numbers like most retailers and I think it's been more than a year since they quit giving forward projections-- both are moves to allow the company to focus on the long term business.


You've got to be joking, right? Have you ever been an executive at or officer of a public company? It's the -only- thing that they think about! FYI, the company projects earning of 44 to 45 cents per share, or 74 to 75 cents per share excluding one-time items for fiscal 2009. CFO's guidance, not mine.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby ryan brown on Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:53 pm

still just genuinely confused how sbux could think it was ok to use "street level" repeatedly (even for the website address!), given that verve coffee roasters in santa cruz have the name branded for their house espresso.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Brett Hanson on Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:27 am

ryan brown wrote:still just genuinely confused how sbux could think it was ok to use "street level" repeatedly (even for the website address!), given that verve coffee roasters in santa cruz have the name branded for their house espresso.


Really? I have no doubt that Verve is awesome (even before the arrival of Baca/Baca/Baca), but they don't even have a web site listing their coffee blend names.

I think this is another job for... Hanlon's razor.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Alistair Durie on Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:49 pm

Business Week
Starbucks: Howard Schultz vs. Howard Schultz

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/co ... op+stories

"Word was out that Starbucks was opening a concept store in Seattle, and Schultz was as excited as I had seen him. Earlier in the year he'd asked a select group of employees a question: If you were going to open a store to compete with Starbucks, how would you do it? Then Schultz gave them a small budget, told them they were on their own, and left. In early June they emerged to present a design they called 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea. On the door it would say: "Inspired by Starbucks." (Schultz insisted the store have a different name because it offers beer and wine.) It would sell Starbucks coffee, but the company logo and graphics would be gone. So would the automated espresso machines that some Starbucks stores still use and Schultz has always hated. The food would be baked locally. There would be coffee and tea tastings in the mornings. In the evenings, music and poetry readings. "We all said we'd invest in that company," recalls Schultz. "I said: 'Go open it.' "
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Robert Goble on Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:45 am

Heading into Seattle today.... eta 10:30 am for morning coffee at 15th Ave Seattle Coffee & Tea.

Was also thinking --- especially given the above link: How long before Starbucks "creates" a genuine small batch boutique roasting company? My prediction is that this is what they will do to service their deployed (and soon to be deployed) Clovers....
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby JavaJ on Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:23 am

Robert Goble wrote:Was also thinking --- especially given the above link: How long before Starbucks "creates" a genuine small batch boutique roasting company? My prediction is that this is what they will do to service their deployed (and soon to be deployed) Clovers....


Not sure, but I've been waiting for them to do that for years, and so far they haven't.

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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Brett Hanson on Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:49 am

Robert Goble wrote:Was also thinking --- especially given the above link: How long before Starbucks "creates" a genuine small batch boutique roasting company? My prediction is that this is what they will do to service their deployed (and soon to be deployed) Clovers....


Done, but it's not a separate company. Check a Clover store and you'll see what I mean.

http://twitpic.com/7nwvx
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Robert Goble on Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:27 pm

Not quite done though Brett. At my last meeting with Starbucks this division was explained to us and the batch size they touted is not quite what I'd call boutique.... they are also still roasting basically the same profile, but the beans are "fresher" and more "exclusive". There's a few things I'm not at liberty to disclose but I'm still waiting for an independent division to break out of the cultural stranglehold of the "Starbucks' Roast Profile" and start doing it right. It's a shame to still find some wonderful coffees roasted to oblivion.

I did get a chance to visit 15th the other day and will post my experience here later in the week.

R.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby phaelon56 on Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:29 am

Robert Goble wrote:.... I'm still waiting for an independent division to break out of the cultural stranglehold of the "Starbucks' Roast Profile" and start doing it right. It's a shame to still find some wonderful coffees roasted to oblivion.


My reply to the many folks I encounter who say "Starbucks has crappy coffee" had always been to confirm that the issue is not the quality of their beans - which I think is consistently good especially considering their size - but instead is an issue of roast profile.

Brett - are the "smaller batch roasted" coffees you've tried in the sotres with Clovers a true departure from the signature roast profile?
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Alex Negranza on Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:18 pm

phaelon56 wrote:Brett - are the "smaller batch roasted" coffees you've tried in the sotres with Clovers a true departure from the signature roast profile?



I can personally say I've had a few coffees that surprised the heck out of me. The first being an Ethiopia Sun-Dried Yirgacheffe (The same beans used for 15th Ave's S.O.E. but a different roast). The coffee, off of the Clover and when I personally cupped it, was saturated with strawberry notes and had a clean finish,.....until it cooled, which it then lost all body and flavor and was overcome with a chalky stale taste. I've also had a Guatemala Mayan Especial more recently that surprised me more so. This coffee had butterscotch and was noticeably bright through the finish. Couldn't believe I had found 2 coffees that I had enjoyed.

Both of these coffees have limited availability at only certain stores. In my opinion, yes. There are coffees I have tasted at various locations, including 15th Ave Coffee and Tea, that have ventured off from the signature "Char-bucks" roast.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Brett Hanson on Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:27 pm

Robert Goble wrote:Not quite done though Brett.

Of course not. I also don't think most consumers have quite caught up to the truths this board generally agrees on, so I don't think it's in their financial interest to try to flip thousands of locations to the Stumptown model overnight either. Having said that, I think my optimism for the future is justified, though.

Compare this company and the coffees they offer today to those from even 2 years ago. "Dark roast" no longer unquestionably denotes "the utmost quality". 38 years ago, it would have been pretty freaking refreshing, though. Also, I doubt that you'll be seeing the extreme-light tea-like roasts like a few others in the market, but the door is officially open to experimentation, albeit on a small scale. If enough consumers vote with their wallets, they will change.

I find a strong parallel to the Marzocco's presence at 15th Ave and the roasting capabilities I've seen made available for parts of this effort-- roasters that were considered "toys" because of their small capacity. Using a Marzocco doesn't automatically mean the coffee's better, but in the right hands, it COULD be better. How many cyncras have you seen out there that are serving dreck? You could make that same argument for the superautos, but folks just never took the time to get their tweak on, so the result ended up being, well, you know. Back to the wandering point-- in the same way that Starbucks has access to (and have in fact used) production roasters that are smaller than Stumptown's 12th Ave setup, that doesn't mean they're going to roast a Sidamo like the Stumptown does. But, if the market is there and if the model is sustainable, they might someday roast more like an early 00's Stumptown than a late 90's Starbucks.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Brett Hanson on Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:36 pm

phaelon56 wrote:are the "smaller batch roasted" coffees you've tried in the stores with Clovers a true departure from the signature roast profile?


I think the racing blinders are off and some serious progress has been made, but there is still plenty of room for experimentation and improvement. I'm not alone when I say: there's such a thing as roasting too dark... and roasting too light, right?

What they're not doing is trying to show-boat their way into super specialty coffee. I doubt I'll ever see an esmerelda lot in a Starbucks, but to your point, I think a lot of good things could be done with the quality green they already buy.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby phaelon56 on Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:48 am

Brett Hanson wrote: I'm not alone when I say: there's such a thing as roasting too dark... and roasting too light, right?


Not when you're talking to me you're not.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Alex Negranza on Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:51 pm

For those interested,

I wrote a review on 15th Ave Coffee and Tea on my blog.

I stayed away from the politics of it all, and talk purely about coffee.

http://www.whynotcoffee.wordpress.com
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby JakeLiefer on Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:28 pm

Bryan Simon, unofficial Starbucks observer, pens an article on the Reuter's blog. Apparently another 'Inspired by Starbucks' store opened up last week, Roy Coffee & Tea, in the same neighborhood as 15th Ave C&T.

Also of note is that 15th Ave C&T sales are allegedly 1/3rd of sales of the Starbucks that used to be there, according to a 'former Starbucks insider.' The previous Starbucks store closed due to low performance numbers, so if this is the case, things are not looking good for this new concept.

What are your thoughts? Are sales lower due to people shunning the Starbucks concept? Or is it due to the removal of high-margin frapps & flavor shots traded in for lower-margin manual methods?




[For another great study on Starbucks by Bryan Simon, watch his video from the Taste3 Conference: http://barismo.com/blog/2008/05/gimmick ... signs.html ]
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Jason Haeger on Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:15 am

JakeLiefer wrote:Bryan Simon, unofficial Starbucks observer, pens an article on the Reuter's blog. Apparently another 'Inspired by Starbucks' store opened up last week, Roy Coffee & Tea, in the same neighborhood as 15th Ave C&T.

Also of note is that 15th Ave C&T sales are allegedly 1/3rd of sales of the Starbucks that used to be there, according to a 'former Starbucks insider.' The previous Starbucks store closed due to low performance numbers, so if this is the case, things are not looking good for this new concept.

What are your thoughts? Are sales lower due to people shunning the Starbucks concept? Or is it due to the removal of high-margin frapps & flavor shots traded in for lower-margin manual methods?




[For another great study on Starbucks by Bryan Simon, watch his video from the Taste3 Conference: http://barismo.com/blog/2008/05/gimmick ... signs.html ]

Has it been open for a year?

Should it be treated differently than any other small business startup in terms of when to tell if it is a success or failure?

It's been open for less than six months. Should it be expected to be turning out the same numbers so quickly? 15th Ave. doesn't have the same brand recognition that "Starbucks" did (or does). Isn't it normal to expect the average passer-by to just pass it by until hearing something about it?

Just some rambling thoughts on the topic. I just think that it's too soon to pass judgement on whether or not it is working.
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Re: 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea by Starbucks

Postby Luke Shaffer on Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:49 pm

Has it been open for a year?

Should it be treated differently than any other small business startup in terms of when to tell if it is a success or failure?

It's been open for less than six months. Should it be expected to be turning out the same numbers so quickly? 15th Ave. doesn't have the same brand recognition that "Starbucks" did (or does). Isn't it normal to expect the average passer-by to just pass it by until hearing something about it?

Just some rambling thoughts on the topic. I just think that it's too soon to pass judgement on whether or not it is working.


To add, has there ever been a more publicized and hyped cafe opening in Seattle? Did Stumptown get this kind of attention when they arrived? What small business gets that kinda ink?

Another thought- small businesses and startups are more willing to "stick it out" in my opinion than a larger corporation through the early days. Reasons may include "having a dream", believing success is just around the bend, finding a nice balance of enjoyment and profitability, etc. These aren't the metrics showing up on the corporate dashboard. Large companies are typically impatient and want results fast. I know in our area I've seen a bunch of chain stores (not coffee) fold over the past 5 years, many before the first year is up. If you don't have skin in the game, it's just a bunch of suits running numbers.

I'm not doubting the passion of the people on the ground at these new concept stores. In that world it doesn't matter how great something seems to be, or how much potential it has... if the execs up top change their minds it's all over.
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