Nestlé Targets High-End Coffee by Taking Majority Stake in Blue Bottle


In 2002, James Freeman gave up on being a professional clarinetist and began pursuing his other passion, roasting coffee.

Mr. Freeman started out in a 183-square-foot potting shed in Oakland, Calif., and named his newborn business Blue Bottle Coffee, after a storied Viennese coffee house. Fifteen years later, Blue Bottle has grown beyond a one-man coffee shop. It is now one of the best-known purveyors of artisanal coffee that, in Mr. Freeman’s words, doesn’t taste like “flea shampoo.”

And it now has a huge new owner: Nestlé, the Swiss food giant, which announced on Thursday that it had bought a majority stake in Blue Bottle.

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