We’ve all heard more than enough about the prolonged American recession/unemployment crisis. We can’t blame the public for being confused about the fact that this very same struggling nation can set Black Friday sales records and create demand for—wait for it—a $7 cup of coffee at Starbucks. Huh?
Who, exactly, is spending all of this money on coffee–and where did they get it? Aren’t we all broke, unemployed and burdened by a lifetime of student loans? Champagne taste on a beer budget is one thing, but coffee doesn’t even have any alcohol in it. Has “a cup of joe” become the new glass of wine?
The Starbucks brand hasn’t just changed the way Americans perceive and consume coffee–it continues to guide our tastes and understanding of a substance that plays an increasingly prevalent role in our lives. Part of the coffee appreciation learning curve, apparently, entails pushing the boundaries of the ordinary. Sorry, Pike Place roast.
To capitalize on the public’s ceaseless search for something new, something better and something different, Starbucks now offers “high-end” Costa Rica Finca Palmilera coffee along with an extra-special variety called “Geisha”. Yes, that geisha.
But instead of entertaining wealthy Japanese businessmen, the Starbucks Geisha will provide pleasure to American housewives, husbands and teenagers already deep into a lifelong relationship with caffeine.
The beauty of capitalism is that we vote with our money–and the public has clearly voted in favor of high-end coffee options. Starbucks, of course, is enthusiastic about serving that growing demand (which it helped to create). With a solid PR identity, a loyal base of brand advocates and a dedicated and dynamic customer demographic, Starbucks is poised for continued growth.
Does that growth serve as evidence of an improving American economy? Let’s hope so. The public learned the hard way not to buy houses it couldn’t afford–and the same rules apply to coffee.