Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Starbucks testing green coffee drinks

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refreshersStarbucks will begin testing summer drinks with a base of green, unroasted coffee in San Diego today as it works on new products to drive sales and put more distance between itself and rivals like McDonald’s — which is rolling out the kinds of drinks that Starbucks built its business on.

The drinks, called “Refreshers,” will be offered in cool lime and very berry hibiscus flavors. They are made with fruit and are low in calories and caffeine, said Julie Felss Masino, Starbucks’ vice president of global beverage. 

Ingredients include a “flavor neutral” powdered extract made from unroasted green coffee and formulated to have less of a caffeine kick than regular coffee, Felss Masino said.

“It’s coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee,” she said, noting that the test is a response to customer requests for more “overtly” thirst-quenching drinks.  

The war over an instant

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Via and NescafeThere’s a point in every Star Wars film when the good guy inevitably turns to his buddies and says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” right before all the big explosions begin.

One can only imagine that is what Nescafe was thinking when they saw Starbucks’ VIA instant coffee mix arrive in Chicago, Seattle and London.  After all, Nescafe is nearly synonymous with instant coffee.

Dump the Sanka, seize the Starbucks Via?

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STARBUCKS/Now that Starbucks is in the instant coffee business, will you mix up a cup?

CEO Howard Schultz wants to introduce Americans to Via — the company’s own instant brew — and he promises it is better than that jarred stuff your parents drink. It’s so good, he says, that it will help the slumping company grab a share of the $17 billion global instant coffee market now dominated by brands like Sanka and Nescafe.

“This is 100 percent arabica Starbucks coffee, the same exact coffee that goes into the 50 million cups we sell every week,” Howard Schultz told Reuters in an interview.STARBUCKS/

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