Having now lived on two very opposite coasts I can say one thing for certain; coffee loyalty is strong near the ocean. You can’t go much of anywhere in Seattle without tripping over a Starbucks. There is one across the street from our studio and another directly behind it. They are less than 500 feet apart. No joke. Starbucks doesn’t have a stranglehold on the New England area, however. That’d be Dunkin’ Donuts, thank you very much. One photographer in Rhode Island set out to document all the D&D locations within a three-mile radius of her house. She stopped at 38 shops. One thing that’s not hard to come by then, is a cup of coffee.
Apparently it’s still not easy enough. Seattle’s Best Coffee (owned by Starbucks) has joined forces with the ubiquitous green change counting service Coinstar to launch thousands of coffee vending kiosks in grocery stores, drug stores and other retail locations. Think of them like a pair. Or like a Red Box, just more highly caffeinated. The “Rubi” kiosks will begin showing up this summer, starting with the Northeast and West Coast. Coinstar expects about 500 machines by the end of the year. The plan is to make that number grow very quickly in the ensuing years.
Coinstar and Seattle’s Best mounted a
plan for total world domination successful pilot program in which the machines grind and brew whole beans on demand. Coffee, mochas and lattes? No problem. A plan to experiment with iced drinks as well is under development as well. Drinks start at what seems to be a reasonable $1 for a cup of coffee. More complicated drinks will fetch $1.50.
Get ready to see more machines stacked up next to the Coinstar in the supermarket. No report on who you yell at when your skinny two pump double mocha latte doesn’t come out quite right, however.