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Starbucks Unveils Reserve Line Subscription with Upcharge for Freshness

Starbucks reserve coffee

Three products currently available in the Starbucks Reserve line.

Starbucks today unveiled its new subscription service for its Reserve line coffees, with an oddly configured pricing model that reflects freshness based on predetermined roast dates.

The subscription line is launching with a $24/month beginning rate, and no discounts for long-term subscriptions (the three-month rate is $72, the annual is $288, etc.). Each subscription includes one 8.8-ounce bag of Reserve line coffee, which will be roasted on the second Sunday of each month at the company’s flagship Reserve roastery in Seattle, and shipped within 5-8 days. Says Starbucks:

Designed to provide the highest quality coffee immediately after roasting, these fresh delivery subscriptions ensure customers receive their coffee within three to five days of being roasted, depending on location in the U.S.

Freshness seems to be the differentiator here, since for most U.S. customers, the subscription rate will result in a higher cost than a standalone online purchase. 8.8-ounce bags of the company’s current Reserve coffees are available online individually for between $12.50 and $14.95, with the exception of one coffee that sells for $17.95. Factor in the $5 to $6 for standard shipping to the continental U.S., and the cost for all those coffees would fall below below the $24 monthly rate.

“The Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room has redefined what customers expect from a brick-and-mortar retail experience,” Howard Schultz said in an announcement of the subscription service today. “Combining the magic of this unique retail theater with our digital infrastructure brings two of our best assets together and ensures that customers can experience the world’s rarest coffees in the privacy of their own homes or anywhere else they might want the most premium coffee we offer.”

Comment

7 Comments

Mike McGinness

Uplift to have delivered 3 to 5 days post roast. Ridiculous! Any reputable quality focused roaster has been doing that for years.

Mike McGinness

Clarify! Any reputable quality focused roaster has been shipping same day as roasted for years WITHOUT AN UPLIFT!

Randy G.

Words allude me. Reading between the lines, it seems to me that they are saying, “If you are one of our rank and file customers who line up like sheep at our counters, day after day, and you couldn’t tell a fresh cup of coffee from the bottom of the knock box sludge, just buy our regular coffee. But if you are discriminating enough to know Sumatran from Shinola, we will allow you to spend more to get fresh coffee like every other respectable coffee company has been selling for years.” Quite a business model.

Tony Basiliere

It’s like selling automotive windshield washer fluid and charging more for the guaranty that it will not freeze, you know, for the discerning auto buff.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea

We just want to say that we’ve had this model since the 1970’s! We’ve been roasting, grinding and delivering fresh coffee for over 35 years to our customers. More importantly, we don’t charge extra for it.

You can see all of our coffees at http://www.peets.com.

Conrad Murphy

Moons Coffee and Tea has been doing the same for 17 years. We don’t charge you more for same day roast and ship and we don’t burn our coffee.

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