retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Times reports that "Starbucks is launching a coffee club that will ship small bags of rare coffee roasted at the facility directly to customers ... The service is not cheap: a three-month subscription that will yield a monthly 8.8-ounce bag of whole bean coffee is $72. Shipping included."

According to the story, Starbucks is looking to make maximum use of its new Roastery in Seattle's Capitol Hill district, as well as its high-end reserve brand. "Starbucks says its Reserve Roastery subscription works as follows: On the second Sunday of each month, the Capitol Hill roastery will roast a new batch of 'new, exceptional' coffee, which it will ship the next day. It’s expected to arrive within five to eight business days."
KC's View:
The Christian Science Monitor, by the way, notes that "in the past few years, independent coffee roasters have cultivated cult-like followings of coffee drinkers who are interested in upscale brews and where and how their coffee is grown and roasted. Starbucks is trying to appeal to this market." And, it writes, Starbucks "plans to open 100 specialty Starbucks stores that serve only Reserve coffee."

It is intriguing to watch Starbucks, which certainly is seeing some competitive pressure on one end from the likes of McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, look to establish even great coffee credibility on the high end. I suspect that Starbucks hopes that not only will this result in incremental sales, but that some of the credibility it generates will bleed over into the broader business model as well.