Nestle - the coffee empire that brings us Nescafe instant coffee and Nespresso - now stepping into the world of high-end specialty coffee as it buys a majority stake in California-based Blue Bottle Coffee. Jane Lanhee Lee reports.
For some coffee aficionados, Blue Bottle is a must visit on trips to the San Francisco bay area. But now, the specialty coffee bar, started over a decade ago in Oakland California by a freelance musician weary of the commercial coffee enterprise and stale coffee - is joining THE commerical coffee empire. On Thursday Nestle -- the Swiss food giant that brings us Nescafe instant coffee and Nespresso -- saying it's bought a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee - making its entry into the world of expensive specialty coffee bars. It didn't say how much it paid. Blue Bottle operates coffee bars in the Bay area and has branched out to New York, Los Angeles, D.C. and even Tokyo. And it expects to have 55 coffee bars by the end of 20-17 -- nearly doubling its number from the end of last year. Nestle's acquision comes as the market for high-end specialty coffee grows with customers who have grown up on Starbucks looking for something more exotic or made by expert baristas. Coffee giant Starbucks last year launched its attempt to cater to those coffee drinkers willing to shell out for a cup of joe- with its "Reserve" brand. It comes with big roasters and tasting rooms in some of the new stores around the world.