Over the weekend we had the pleasure of visiting one of our favorite sculpture parks. The deCordova in Lincoln, MA features a great many things, but we had no idea it also had sculptures featuring coffee. The Two Big Black Hearts from artist Jim Dine (one heart shown above) have lots of things stuck in them that we love, but one of the hearts has one of the things we really love - a single serve coffee maker stuck on it.
Share prices this year of Green Mountain Coffee have been on the decline from the highs of last year due to the expiring patents on K-Cups and what this means for the company according to The Boston Globe is more challenges lie ahead. We've been watching the highs and lows here at Single Serve Coffee, but is this really something new? Green Mountain Coffee has been riding out various after market products and knock-off K-Cups this year to still do well and continue to dominate the market.
Also there's the Keurig VUE brewing system introduced this year, and well ahead of the competition directly from Starbucks which should come in the late Fall with an espresso system called Verismo. We love the VUE and have been enjoying the coffees, teas, and other hot beverages it produces, and think consumers will find in the end the new VUE offers something like K-Cups - single serve coffee convenience with a large variety of choices over time.
NPR has an interesting article on the science of coffee rings. Simple things like coffee rings can seem like they're easy to understand but in fact they're complicated. It's taken physicists more than a decade to figure out why this effect, known technically as "the coffee ring effect," happens.
Coffee, like many liquids, contains tiny, spherical particles. When a drop of the liquid dries, forces push the particles toward the edge, where they are deposited in a thick line. We love this thick line of coffee, and when it happens it's because spherical particles evaporated instead of long particles which just produce spread stains with no ring.
It all just makes sense you should be able to get any service and product in a coffee shop so you can sit back - sip and get your day's chores done while getting caffeinated. The people of Camden, NJ, have just such a coffee shop where you can get coffee and a muffin, a drug test, and their taxes and financial planning done, and even a paternity test.
You see the coffee shop is right near City Hall, and all of the various professionals that need to go to City Hall also hang out here and have meetings. The Wall Street Journal has a pretty amazing profile of this coffee shop right after the jump.
ThinkGeek has introduced a Keurig coffee maker that also makes hot meals and even salad. They love their Keurig coffee so they asked themselves - why couldn't they brew meals using a K-Cup? After months of toil, they came up with a solutio. Meals include Hot Wings, Corn Dogs, Donuts (as seen above), Tacos, and Salad - all perfectly brewed using your Keurig brewer.
To brew your K-Cup meal, simply place your selected meal cup into your Keurig brewer, place your mug under the spout, and press the 8 ounce (medium) button. In just a few moments, you'll have a 5 star meal at a Top Ramen price.
It's a single serve coffee battle royale out there, and we're not sure who's going to win the fight. Rounds 1, 2,3, 4, 5, and 6 have been fought, and round 7 (last year) was mostly a stand off. 2012 is shaping up to be a doozy with Keurig and Starbucks going at it in the end of the year, and lots of old players returning to get a piece of the action.
The WSJ.com has an interesting take of the single serve coffee fights, and believes not only are coffee roasters trying to get you to use their products, but their also battling for both market share and raw materials as supplies of coveted handpicked beans dwindle. And to make matters even more interesting the big players like Starbucks, Maxwell House, Smuckers, and others will meet at a round table to talk coffee and what they can do to either work together or keep on punching.
We just checked out Over Coffee, a new social media site like Facebook about coffee, people, travels, and about the shared experiences that take place over a cup of coffee. It's interesting in a Facebook kind of way, but we still prefer the Single Serve Coffee Forums for our single serve coffee chit chat.
Here's Over Coffee's motto:
"A lot can happen over a cup of coffee. You find out a friend is getting married. You end up face to face with an intimidating first date and hide behind your Cup of Joe. You disclose deep-rooted secrets. You find yourself in a new world with new people and new coffee cultures. Even when you are alone with a cup of coffee, something is happening."
Growing up in Northern Maine, we can safely tell you one of the best things was being able to cross the border into Canada and eat their wonderful candy. Sure stateside we had Willy Wonka, and other interesting chocolate bars to eat, but nothing compared to any chocolate bar with coffee like Coffee Crisp. Coffee Crisp bars and bites have wafers of chocolate held together with coffee flavor, and it just melts in your mouth along with the chocolate.
Coffee Crisp is impossible to get outside of Canada. We did for a short time from 2006-2009 have Coffee Crisp bars in our lives there stateside - but we squandered the time and only ever had a few bars. Now since our correspondent SH has sent us both Coffee Crisp bars and the small bites - this President's Day weekend has been candy filled.
The Business Standard has a very exhaustive article Single-cup coffee sales seen growing and we've taken a bunch of the best bits out of it on the topic of single serve coffee growth.
Sara Lee will discontinue Senseo in North America as of March 31, except on select websites. It is working to make the machine more appealing, especially for young people, to tap growth overseas.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc will add the Esio Beverage System to its lineup of coffee machines.
Green Mountain, which controls more than three-quarters of the US market, ranks fourth globally with less than eight per cent.
Green Mountain is bound to maintain its grip on the United States, since its machines exclusively carry many of the nation's biggest coffee brands, including Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Folgers.
The vast majority of US households still use traditional ground or instant coffee, and about 36 per cent of people who do not use single-cup brewers said these machines were too expensive.
Worldwide sales of coffee, including fresh and instant, reached $70.86 billion last year, according to Euromonitor, a rise of 17.5 per cent. Sales of single-serve packets accounted for $5.75 billion of that, or 8 per cent, but saw a jump of 31.3 per cent.
So single serve coffee as a category is only at 8% of the total coffee market and growing? Wow - we've come a long way and have a long way to go. It's also interesting to note the Esio Beverage System going to be featured at Walmart. Walmart and other retailers seem to feel that even though K-Cups have taken 75% of the US single serve coffee market there is room for more players.
SH: There won't be any issues with "flavor remnants" transferring between read more Carroll: I'm sure that the remnants/taste from the soup is the read more Ken: Soup in a K Sup is just a dumb idea!!! read more AO: Ultimately it doesn't affect me since I stopped using my read more Dan: I know that Target in the states carry this flavor. read more