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It Is Time For The Specialty Coffee Shops

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The demand for specialty coffee paved way for the specialty coffee shops open up in large numbers and the success rate of such specialty coffee shops are definitely amazing. Here I am just offering you a sneak peek of how successful the specialty coffee shops have been in the recent past.

The 25-year-old Lucy R. Valena took such an initiative of opening up a specialty coffee shop during the fall at one of the most crowded area of the US, Kendall Square. And, she even managed to get a venture capital backing for her specialty coffees shop. The specialty coffee shop she opened up is just 3 months old and has been christened as Voltage Coffee & Art. “I’m focused on the beauty of the process, it’s artisanal. Hundreds of people have put their hands on it. I think of all the farmers involved and try to honor that,’’ says the happy and satisfied Valena.

This is just one among the specialty coffee shop that came up in Boston during the last two years, when the world was fighting against the much-talked economic recession. This specialty coffee shops open up phenomenon is still on the rise. The exclusively brewed specialty coffees of these cafes come at a premium cost with most of the cups being prepared individually. The lattes contain lesser milk and are more graceful when compared to Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.

“This is not the place to grab coffee to get your fix. Our customers are buying into the concept,’’ says Hugh Geiger, who co-owns a Thinking Cup, the specialty coffee shops open up on Tremont Street in Boston last December.

These specialty coffees cafes focus more on the coffee farmers, roasters and baristas. Even though the specialty coffee shops open up are no match to the Starbucks, the world leader of coffee chains and Dunkin’ Donuts, the numero uno seller of coffee and baked goods, these have contributed a massive $27 billion to the café industry of the US in 2010.

According to Eric Giandelone, the food service research director at Mintel International Group, the independent specialty coffees cafes “have figured out how to compete with companies like Starbucks by differentiating themselves”.

Two other specialty coffee shops open up worth mentioning include the Blue State Coffee and Pavement in Boston and the Ride Studio Café in Lexington. George Howell, whose Coffee Connection stores were acquired by Starbucks, has made his re-entry into the specialty coffees business with the purchase of Taste Coffee House in Newton and has plans of opening up more coffee shops in Cambridge and Boston.

“The timing is right, based on the huge successes of other cafes in Boston,’’ says a much-thrilled Howell. “People want to know more about coffee”, he adds. His first Coffee Connection cafe, which he opened up before 36 years, introduced espresso to the public. But, during the mid 90s, Starbucks acquired his 24 cafes. Very soon, he started the business of being a wholesale roaster in Aston, but was waiting for a chance to get back to the coffees sales business.

Yet another specialty of these independent cafes is that along with offering the rarest of specialty coffees from the single-estate farms of Ethiopia and Guatemala, these specialty coffees shops “have become more neighborhood focused and are building in the ethos of the community”.

“Coffeehouses are risky to start in any economy,’’ admitted Voltage’s Valena, “but the added risk of a shaky economy wasn’t going to stop me.’’ And that was the inspiration for LaunchCapital to render a huge $150,000 for Voltage to continue operating,

“As long as there are sleepless MIT students, snowy days that dump 12 to 18 inches of snow, and an innovative economy that requires someone to work 10-hour days, coffee will have a future in Boston,’’ said Heather Onstot, director of small business for the venture capital firm.

But the specialty coffees shops are not harmful for the huge café chains. “Boston has always had a wide variety of coffee retailers, but people who live and work in the city have turned to Dunkin’ Donuts for more than 60 years because they recognize our brand as offering a great cup of coffee served in a friendly environment at a great value,’’ says Jessica E. Gioglio, public relations manager for Dunkin’ Brands Inc. “Our coffee beans and coffee specifications have become a universal standard in the industry for superior coffee.’’

“The whole idea of paying a lot for coffee has been established,’’ says Kenneth Davids, who the coffee-rater at The Coffee Review. The consumers “have been softened up by buying lattes,’’ he adds.

“I was here almost every day last week,’’ said Joe Ryan, a 21-year-old Suffolk University student sipping an iced coffee with friends at Thinking Cup recently. “I used to go to Starbucks all the time, but I feel over the past few years it’s become more of a chain. I like the warm feeling here.’’

So, hop on to one of these specialty coffee shops open up if you love to taste some true specialty coffees.


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It Is Time For The Specialty Coffee Shops