A company in New York called R.BIRD has produced a series of reports on Patterns in package design (especially as it relates to specific industries like coffee, energy drinks, juice, etc.).
The one about coffee is very good. I highly recommend it. It shows how certain colors used in coffee packaging communicate certain things, the imagery and overall graphic style. Go here and grab the PDF.
- Premium coffees come in bags
- Value coffees come in cans, vacuum packed bricks
- Darker colors on packaging means darker the roast
- Decaf is green
- Premium coffees are more likely to have rich graphics, fancy illustrations
- Value (inexpensive) coffees are more likely to have simple graphics, solid (flat) colors
- Visual depictions of the grower (think of the Columbia guy) or the location the beans are grown in
“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drinks.” – Sir James MacKintosh (1765-1862)
If you’ve been hearing all of the fuss lately about Fair Trade Coffee you are not alone. Lately there has been a challenge of sorts – you could call it grassroots – to see if Starbucks is really living up to its standard. That standard is that they’ll make a pot of Fair Trade coffee on request.
If you’re not familiar with the term Fair Trade, let me explain. It’s basically a worldwide effort to fairly compensate coffee growers by ensuring a higher minimum price is paid per pound of coffee than your typical load. I think right now 20% of all coffee sold is Fair Trade.
Back to that challenge… So people have been going to different Starbucks stores and asking for a cup of Fair Trade coffee just to see what happens. They have seen mixed results however it appears most of the places do have it. That’s cool.
Here’s where I think this whole approach is wrong: It implies that Starbucks is in the wrong and that they’re trying to get away with something. I doubt that is true. In all reality they’re probably trying very hard to compensate coffee growers fairly. Why must Starbucks be guilty until proven innocent?
Has anyone tried Rich Aroma Coffee in Queen Creek? It was mentioned in this article
(near the bottom) as having free wireless internet. Is the coffee any good?
Has anyone been to Java Jive? I discovered it actually reading the newspaper online. Apparently it has free Wi-Fi and is owned by two young siblings who recently purchased the store.
[S]iblings Ray and Lizette Fonseca, 24 and 26, were looking for a business. They saw an advertisement for Java Jive, a coffee shop for sale in Ahwatukee Foothills, and snapped it up with their $40,000 savings and a loan from their family.
Read the article on AZCentral.com
An Arizona Republic article by Lindsay Butler caught my interest just now. It’s about how a Starbucks recently moved in across the street from two of Tempe’s best independent coffee houses.
Now that alone isn’t shocking. Starbucks has been opening so many stores that it happens every day. What I found interesting was was the owners of Gold Bar Espresso and Xtreme Bean had to say.
I’ll quote from the article:
Karen Miller co-owns Gold Bar Espresso, which shares a parking lot with Starbucks. Gold Bar has been in business for about 13 years, known for live music and featured artists.
Miller called the move inconsiderate but said Gold Bar has a loyal following and there are plenty of coffee drinkers to go around.
The shop has many regular customers drawn to the artistic décor and cozy atmosphere.
“It’s like having my living room open with the coffee pot on,” Miller said.
Michael Wells owns Xtreme Bean, which is in the shopping plaza across the street from Gold Bar and now Starbucks. Wells has been brewing for 12 years; he has an enthusiastic knowledge of roasted beans and exotic flavors and the industry.
He said he’s not worried.
“I think it helps the market,” he said. “Starbucks educates the market.”
Xtreme Bean stands out, he said, by offering freshly roasted coffee and a drive-through window.
He has big plans for the company, including more drive-through locations and “regular” cards – debit cards for frequent customers that contain the customer’s name and favorite drink.
Here’s an interesting bit of local news. The Mayor of Chandler helped unveil the newest coffee at a Starbucks on Ray Rd.
From the article:
You know an election is right around the corner when the mayor is on hand to “unveil” the newest coffee brand at Starbucks. Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn did just that Tuesday at the Ray Road and McClintock Drive Starbucks. The event was “grounds for celebration” and helped ease the “daily grind” of running a city, Dunn quipped.
I heard this morning that Starbucks’ sales for September were up 10% and attributed to sales of the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte drink.
Something i think is really cool about Starbucks is that they don’t milk a product to death like so many other companies. Do you know how easy it would be for them to make seasonal drinks available year-round? I’m sure it would be easy. it’s just great to have something to look forward to. I know a lot of people that rave about their seasonal drinks.
Some of my favorite winter drinks besides the Pumpkin Spice Latte are the Peppermint Mocha (oh man is that good) and the Gingerbread Mocha (not quite as good but a nice alternative).
Two others available year round but are popular in the wintertime are the Caramel Apple Cider (this is so very good) and the White Chocolate Mocha (how many calories this has I don’t even want to know).
If you thought that had a lot of calories, and you don’t care, then the Eggnog Latte is for you (also available as a Mocha). This drink is just too good. You have to get at least one every year.
According to this article, Starbucks has far exceeded their expansion plans for 2005. Check out the details:
The company said in a statement that it had opened 1,672 net new stores worldwide as of October 2 — 1,170 in the United States and 502 abroad, exceeding its 2005 target of 1,500 stores.
Ok barista’s, here’s your chance to tell us about your milk froth designs. I’ve been perusing the froth art gallery over at CoffeeGeek. There are some cool ones! I wanted to ask where people do this around town because most of the places just cover up the coffee with plastic lids. Plastic lids are great for when you have to drive, or to keep the heat inside the cup, however I want to see my coffee and usually throw mine out.
Anyways, I’ve seen some good froth designs. If you ask for your latte or mocha in a mug I think your chances of seeing froth art improve. Just because the barista knows you’ll see the drink. I ordered a Caramel Machiato this morning at Starbucks and noticed the barista doing a little design with the caramel. Then promptly covering it up with a lid. Oh well.
Thanks to Allison for suggesting Steve’s Espresso. I hadn’t heard of it before. Here’s what she has to say:
I just had a suggestion for great coffee, Free Wi-Fi and great live music. It’s Steve’s Espresso on McClintock & Baseline in the shopping center on the Southeast corner. They grind their own coffee and only use french press methods. It’s a great atmosphere!
If you’re a coffee shop owner and you haven’t decided to offer wireless internet in your shop here’s a few interesting quotes from an article that discusses the pros and cons of providing free wireless internet. Essentially the research says that providing free wireless is cheaper for you to run and manage (by a significant margin) and also requires less support. What do you know. Plus if you are in AZ and you provide free wireless internet at your coffee shop let us know and we’ll post a note here on Arizona Coffee to spread the word!
Now I’ll quote from the article in length:
Here’s the irony in Wi-Fi public access pricing: retailers can be profitable by offering free Wi-Fi as a customer acquisition tool. But when they charge for Wi-Fi access, these retailers, and the WISPs serving them, almost certainly lose money. According to a market study coming out this summer, retailers are quickly learning this lesson: up to 30% of US location owners who plan to deploy commercial hotspots in 2004 intend those hotspots to be free or free-with-purchase.
The fully loaded cost of offering free Wi-Fi access is less than $6/day. Operating a billable hotspot costs over $30/day. Half this cost comes from building or altering billing systems, plus the endless associated customer care. The millions of dollars already spent on systems to charge Wi-Fi users by the megabyte, minute, etc., will never be recuperated. Next year, authentication should become cheap enough to be part of a profitable Wi-Fi offering, but for the foreseeable future, authorization and accounting remain dangerous distractions.