Starbucks to test recyclable, compostable cups

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“The company announced on Wednesday that it is testing out a compostable cup in five locations — New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and London. Starbucks showed one of the cups being tested during its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.”

“The new cup looks just like Starbucks’ current paper cup. The difference is inside, where instead of a plastic liner, a biodegradable liner serves as a barrier to make sure liquid doesn’t leak out. That liner, developed by a Thailand-based company, makes the cup compostable in commercial composting facilities, which are rare.
Though the innovation may appear small to consumers, it’s a big moment for Starbucks, which has been struggling to find a greener alternative to its cup for three decades.
Most recently, in 2018, Starbucks committed to the NextGen Cup Challenge. Along with other food companies, Starbucks and Closed Loop Partners, a recycling-focused investor group, crowdsourced solutions for greener cups from the public. In February, the company announced 12 winners, including greener cup liners, barriers and cups themselves.”
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Starbucks Roastery opens in New York City

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“The design of each Starbucks Roastery— with locations in Seattle, Shanghai, and Milan — is inspired by its home city. Architect Rafael Vinoly’s designed the three-story New York City location in the city’s Meatpacking District. The design was inspired by the geometry of New York City’s buildings and will feature systems of “symphony pipe” tubes where beans will be transported, as a nod to the city’s subway system.

Exclusive to the New York City Roastery will be a cellar-level terrarium featuring vegetation inspired by the Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica.

The Roastery will also feature a 10-foot copper sculpture of the Starbucks siren, which has become a design staple at each Roastery location. This statue, designed by Brooklyn artist Max Steiner, is New York City-inspired.”

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Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch Team Up

Tea Wall detail.JPGIn the beverage world, there are few names bigger than Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch. The two dominate any discussion of coffee or beer respectively, but they’re now partnering up to help capture the market of a third beverage – tea. Specifically, Starbucks is looking to begin selling their Teavana line of teas as ready-to-drink specialty bottles in grocery stores around the world. They decided to partner with Anheuser Busch to handle the bottling aspect of the operation, and if spokespeople for both companies are to be believed, there is plenty of revenue to go around.

Tea is currently a billion-dollar market in the US, and Teavana was Starbucks’ biggest acquisition ever when they bought it for $630 million in 2012. The original retail strategy for the brand, which involved revamping the Teavana tea bars around the country, didn’t live up to the “$90 billion global market opportunity” that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz originally predicted.

Starbucks’ new partnership and strategy represent a significant pivot to the ready-to-drink market. They expect to release the new line in over 300,000 US supermarkets and convenience stores by next year. The move is also a possible save for Anheuser-Busch, who have seen sales and production suffer in the wake of the craft beer movement.

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Mixology Moves Outside of Alcohol, and Vice Versa

1653847_10152889012450820_2052556431145819038_n.jpgIt’s getting a lot harder than it used to be to walk down a grocery store aisle and tell what will give you a buzz – at least at first glance. For starters, there’s the growing proliferation of alcoholic versions of sodas from childhood, like Not Your Father’s Root Beer, or Crabbie’s Ginger Beer. But the trend also moves the other direction, as more and more foods and beverages without alcohol draw on the flavor profiles of beer, liquor and cocktails.

The Republic of Tea, for example, now offers The Sonoma Teas Collection, which is inspired by Sonoma County and includes flavors like red wine with orange and currant. The teas are free of caffeine and alcohol, but contain grape skins for the antioxidants. Cuvee coffee now offers a beer-flavored coffee in a can, reminiscent of dark coffee stouts. Even Starbucks tested a Dark Barrel Latte last year.

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Starbucks Will Finally Open in Italy

hTiiZIVq-3389-5084.jpgStressing the “humility and respect” with which they are undertaking this endeavor, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced recently that in early 2017, Starbucks will finally open their first store in Italy. It may be surprising that such a store doesn’t exist already, especially since the Starbucks brand was born out of Schultz’s first trip to Milan 33 years ago, but the company is understandably cautious about bringing one of the largest chains in the world to a culture that prizes small-scale coffee operations and exquisite attention to detail.

Starbucks will be partnering with Italian brand, retail and real estate developer Percassi to bring the first Italian store to life in Milan, with plans to open more down the line. In a blog post announcing this opening, Starbucks mentions Percassi’s values and commitment to youth development as key elements of their choice. Antonio Percassi, the company’s president, states that, “We know that we are going to face a unique challenge with the opening of the first Starbucks store in Italy, the country of coffee, and we are confident that Italian people are ready to live the Starbucks experience, as already occurs in many other markets.”

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Starbucks to Donate Millions to Help Employees in China Pay Rent


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Starbucks recently made two big announcements about their presence in China, a country where economic troubles have been causing global shockwaves for months and other American chains (including KFC and Pizza Hut) are struggling. The first announcement is that they plan to open 500 more locations in China this year alone, and create 10,000 new jobs in the country every year through 2019. The second announcement is that all those new employees may get handed a very big perk with their green aprons – the coffee giant will soon begin offering vouchers to full time baristas and managers to help them pay their rent. They predict that 7,000 Chinese workers will be eligible for the vouchers immediately, and another 3,000 will be in the near future. Although Starbucks hasn’t given an exact number for the total cost of this program, they say it is a “multimillion dollar” investment and that they expect to pay around 50% of the rent for qualifying workers.

In China, the practice of offering subsidized living to employees is more common, although these living situations usually amount to crowded dorms. With rents rising across the country, it is unsurprising that workers have been requesting a subsidy from Starbucks for awhile.

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Starbucks Passport App is the Untappd of Coffee


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Coffee connoisseurship has almost certainly gone mainstream, and the latest indication is the release of Starbuck’s “Coffee Passport” app to the general public. The app allows users to collect digital stickers in their coffee passport each time they try a new coffee (or a single-origin coffee from a new country), while recording tasting-notes and comments about the experience. The app also includes plenty of study materials to shrink the gap between coffee shop guest and trained barista, including a glossary, primer on cuppings, and tips on various brew methods.

Starbucks baristas have had a paper version of this idea since the mid 90s, and the app was pre-released to Starbucks staff a month ago. The idea of ‘collecting’ rare beverages on your phone pokemon-style has precedent with apps like Untappd (for craft beer) and Delectable (for wine). In general, these apps encourage users to expand their selection and provide an incentive to go for the “new” over the “tried-and-true.” This could ultimately hurt Starbucks, who have had a hard time breaking in to the niche coffee market, although they’ve indicated a plan to focus even more on rare, high end coffee in the future.

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