The true value of your friendly Barista – Revealed in Shock Accident!

Oct 12, 2012



Firstly, apologies that old Guru has been absent these last few weeks  – One thing and another has conspired to keep me away from the old keyboard!


However, the lull in activity has meant I now have stash of interesting material…at least marginally more interesting than the twaddle I was writing about recently you will be relieved to hear!

So  – I was amused and tickled by a recent article in the ‘Daily Mail’, which advised that Starbucks is now moving into the Gourmet vended coffee sector

Now this is an unusual little niche – initially exploited by the likes of Mr.S Martin at Coffee Nation he recently sold out for a million pound pay day to Whitbread who paid £59m for the 900 machine strong estate – the model being one of an extraordinarily short pay off period on equipment, which in effect leased the space it used and which was jointly managed and driven by both the unit team and Coffee Nation – it proved a winning model (A small caveat to note that other me too’s have been less successful- Smiley / JJ Beano’s and Tchibo’s units all ignominiously failing to  set the vending word alight in recent years).

Costa Express is now building upon the defunct Coffee Nation model and is popping up on every street corner

It must be profitable and certainly delivers the at hand 24/ 7 promise because Starbucks has now announced its intention to join the Gourmet Vending fray…..

The first versions of the Starbucks offer will offer a supposed 280 drinks combinations and will open in J. Sainsbury’s….. Quickly followed one imagine thereafter with a carefully choreographed spread across the UK

Now, this is interesting because it is the first move ‘down’ the food chain by what has been for donkeys years an exclusively in unit / café operator……  a business based upon the theatre and steaming and frothing swagger of the Barista…

Well it now seems as if the barista is soon to be  replaced by a full colour TV screen and touch screen drop down menus BUT at what cost?

Believe it or not a ‘Tall’ will retail at £2-10 (saving 5 p vs the in unit offer) and a ‘Grande’ will have an RRP of £2-40 saving 10 p vs the Café price…. And any optional and additional extras and frills such as syrups and extra shots will be FREE against the in café price of 35p!

Sounds like excellent value and makes for an especially intriguing conundrum to me ! As regular readers will know I think the Barista has swaggered way out of his or her depth in the last few years… and wretched developments such as latte art have only confirmed the flim-flam and marketing which has pumped up this situation!

Well, the new Starbucks vending pricing structure seems now to support my thesis !! Offering the sobering reality that even on a bucket of drink, a legendary Starbucks Grande, the barista service adds just 10 p cost and 10 p value…!

Let us assume that a Barista earns just minimum wage – at £6-19 if you are over 21 years of age – that means 62 ‘Grande’s’ need to be made each and every hour to justify the cost of the superfluous Barista…

Seems this new Gourmet vending trend may well hail the death Knell for the fashion flash in the pan that has proved to be the dead end Barista

You never know your luck!

Those in the know understand great coffee is not about the marketing and Tom Cruise style cocktail goings on..its about great quality coffee…fresh water …good pressure and the time and skill to make and enjoy your espresso moment
Guru ( Andy Grelak) writes for Aromo Coffee – They are coffee experts focussed on providing convenient and tasty ways for the caffeine addict to take their medicine. Aromo supplies excellent ESE Coffee pods and superlative Senseo pods,  both of which offer the espresso and filter connoisseur  a no mess, no fuss,  super fresh and environmentally conscious method to make stunning coffee… the guys at Aromo also have a range of Dualit branded capsules which make a brilliant and economic alternative to nespresso capsules


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