Starbucks Perks Up Single Serve Coffee Maker Market

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Move over Keurig. Starbucks has tossed its beans into the single-cup coffee maker market.

On Wednesday, Starbucks introduced Verismo — a premium single cup machine that the company says allows consumers to experience Starbucks-quality espresso, lattes and coffee at home.

“For more than 41 years, we have been committed to bringing exceptional coffee and espresso beverages to our customers,” says Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and ceo. “We are applying that passion and commitment, once again, to the fastest growing segment of the coffee market, the multi-billion-dollar premium single cup segment, with the introduction of a breakthrough at-home Starbucks coffee experience that is second to none. What we are bringing to market today has been impossible until now.”

The company, which announced its plans to indroduce a single-cup brewer last spring, says the new Verismo System combines Starbucks 100 percent arabica coffee pods (the same coffee it uses in its cafes) with Swiss-engineered high-pressure technology.

“Starbucks is passionate about coffee and passionate about innovation,” says Jeff Hansberry, Starbucks president, Channel Development. “We are entering a highly dynamic and burgeoning market at a premium position, and we will win on quality and technology.”

The sleek machine with European styling comes in an assortment of colors, including silver, black, burgundy, and champagne, and is available in two design options, the 580 base model for $199, and the V·585, which offers additional features, (LED display and temperature control), for $399.

Starbucks espresso roast pods, brewed coffee pods in Blonde, Medium and Dark roasts and milk pods are available for use with the machines. Pods (12 to 16-count) range in price from $9.95 to $12.95 and are available where the machines are sold.

Starbucks entered the premium single-cup market with Starbucks VIA Ready Brew instant coffee in 2009 and extended its presence by teaming with with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to provide Starbucks K-Cups for the popular Keurig machines last fall. (Starbucks says it will continue to make K-Cups for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.)

“The size of the premium single cup market is approximately $8 billion globally, having grown more than 143 percent over last year in the U.S. alone,” says Hansberry. “With more than one out of three brewers sold last year being a single cup machine, this is more than a trend. Customers want convenience when it comes to making coffee, but they don’t want to compromise quality and flexibility, including the ability to craft both espresso beverages and brewed coffee from one machine, and that’s what the Verismo System delivers.”

Verismo System is currently available at Verismo.com and at specialty retailers, including Sur la Table.  The machines will be on Starbucks store shelves in October.

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