Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Coffee - Big Coffee Shop Brands


Starbucks has a huge heritage and is the most popular coffee shop chain in the world. We have at least four Starbucks just in Leeds city centre. 

Starbucks first opened in 1971.

The company started as a single store in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market. Starbucks offered some of the world’s finest fresh-roasted whole bean coffees. 
The name, inspired by Moby Dick, evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders. Hence the mermaid/sea creature in the logo, different to the one we see today.
In 1981, Howard Schultz (Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer) had first walked into a Starbucks store. From his first cup of Sumatra, Howard was drawn into Starbucks and joined a year later.
In 1983, Howard travelled to Italy and became captivated with Italian coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience. He had a vision to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition back to the United States. A place for conversation and a sense of community. He left Starbucks for a short period of time to start his own Il Giornale coffeehouses and returned in August 1987 to purchase Starbucks with the help of local investors.
Starbucks has aimed from the beginning to both celebrate coffee and the rich tradition, but also bring a feeling of connection.
Their mission -  to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time.
They now have over 15,000 stores in 50 countries.
Being such a large an influential coffee shop chain it is important Starbucks runs the most ethical business possible. Here are some of the ways they try to do this. 
They are passionate about ethically sourcing the finest coffee beans and improving the lives of people who grow them. 

The Fairtrade certification of Starbucks coffee guarantees small-holder farmers a fair price and investment in environmental and economic developmental projects that benefit the whole community.

They are trying to develop more environmentally friendly cups and to expand their recycling programme in an effort to reduce the waste the business creates.

They are committed to further minimising their energy consumption and using renewable sources of energy to lower our impact on the planet.

In terms of the actual stores Starbucks aims to source responsible building materials and energy efficient designs to reduce environmental footprint.

Climate change poses a serious threat to the world’s coffee-growing regions and because of this Starbucks are aggressively pursuing strategies to address this problem and help farmers mitigate the impact.

Their is a lot more about the responsibilities of Starbuck's as a brand here, with videos about sourcing their coffee and more, but for now I want to look at the design of Starbucks and the products they sell.


Bottled Drinks

These chilled, bottled drinks are now sold in many supermarkets and offer Starbucks quality on the go. I personally don't think these taste the same and you don't look as 'cool' carrying these as you do with the popular Starbucks paper cups. 

Brewed Teas

Chocolate Beverages

Espresso Beverages

Filter Coffee

Frappuccino Blended Beverages

The Coffee Houses 
- Store Design

We believe a coffeehouse should be a place to find moments of connection - with others, yourself and your surroundings.

The style of Starbuck's stores is mostly what makes them the 'place to be seen'. 

Here are some 'notable store elements' from just one store in London - 

  • The wood used for shelving comes from fallen oak trees from Wales.
  • Reclaimed wood panels come from the salvaged floor boards of a demolished hotel in Kent.
  • Hardwoods come from a member of a European sustainable forestry commission program.
  • Artwork comes from old tea boxes found in Bolton and saved from a landfill.
  • The wooden frames are made from beams of a demolished Victorian-era brewery.
  • Energy saving LED lighting was also installed.

Here is an image from a Starbucks in Madrid. 

You can see there are similarities which mean wherever you are in the world Starbucks in like a piece of home as it is recognisable. 

Here are some other images of inside some Starbucks stores. 


Carrying a Starbucks cup has become a real fashion statement. The brand is known worldwide and has built a name for itself that now represents quality. 

The takeout cup has developed with the changing logo. 

You can see some celebrities carrying the well known Starbuck's take-out coffee cups. 

The Starbucks brand has become so popular and 'cool' you can now buy official branded products as seen below. 

These also come with the Starbucks price tag. 

Naming Cup Convention

Starbucks have fairly recently started to ask their customers their names and write these on your cup and then shout you personally when your drink is ready. This was started in an attempt to appear more friendly, however there was some controversy surrounding this ...

"Have you noticed how everything seems a little impersonal nowadays? From now on, we won't refer to you as a 'latte' or a 'mocha', but instead as your folks intended: by your name," 

Some comments on this were, 

"I want a pleasant but respectful distance between me and the person serving me coffee - I don't want to go clubbing with them."

"The whole Starbucks name thing is a real test for my paranoia. I now need an alias for buying coffee"

"Some people might like being called by their first name, but I think many will be indifferent, and some might feel awkward - like it's over-familiar, or a bit of an intrusion into privacy,"

Mis-spelt names have also become a humorous aspect of this and have started websites, twitter has tags, etc. 

Polly and Christer, supposed to be Molly and Kristen

Ilisia, supposed to be Alicia

However, although this is somewhat mocking and humourous it is ultimately giving Starbucks publicity and another reason for people to visit. 

Recycling Cups - Materials

Starbucks prides itself on being an ethical, 'green' business and as the cups are a huge part of the brand they have tried to make them as eco-friendly as possible. 

I found this graphic on the website that shows the process the cups go through.

Starbucks are also now encouraging customers to buy Starbucks tumblers and then bring these to be filled rather than using the paper cups.

You can see the previous and projected figures for this.


I actually looked into the Starbucks logo and how it developed over time during the previous module, you can see this blog post here. 

This image shows the main changes the logo has been through over the years. 

This is a quote from the Starbucks website that explains what the mermaid represents. 

'There was something about her – a seductive mystery mixed with a nautical theme that was exactly what the founders were looking for. A logo was designed around her, and our long relationship with the Siren began . . . She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse –always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead. And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we haven’t even imagined yet.'

This logo is a very important part of the brand, just like you recognise the big M for McDonalds you recognise the Starbucks logo and associate with quality and the way it is so recognisable makes it feel like 'home'.


I found an article with some interesting Starbucks facts.

  • Starbucks has added an average of two stores on a daily basis since 1987
  • It opened its first store in Beijing in 1999 and there are now 376 stores in China. They expect to reach 1000 by 2015.
  • The average Starbucks customer visits the store 6 times per month while a loyal 20% of customers go to the stores 16 times per month
  • There are over 87,000 possible drink combinations at Starbucks
  • The original Starbucks in Seattle sold coffee in 8 oz cups. During expansion, they added the 12 oz and the 16 oz then got rid of the 8 oz and added the 24 oz and finally the 30 oz Trenta.
  • The Trenta is slightly bigger than your stomach with the capacity to hold 916 milliliters. The stomach on average has a capacity of 900 ml.
  • A Starbucks grande coffee has 320 milligrams of caffeine, over four times the amount of caffeine in a Red Bull.
  • Starbucks uses 2.3 billion paper cups per year



Although I knew Costa was a hugely popular coffee house chain I was surprised to find out that it was voted the nations favourite shop for the third year in a row, I was also surprised to find out that it has as much heritage as Starbucks and started around the same time, as it doesn't have the same reputation/status. I feel Starbucks has more of a glamour aspect due to the American link.


Costa began in London 1971. 
Its creators, the brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa, first sold their coffee to a handful of local caterers. Then to some delicatessens. A few years later, they opened their first coffee shop.

They still slow-roast the beans in exactly the same way, and even in the same roasters, as they did 40 years ago.


Similarly to Starbucks Costa try to help and be an ethical brand, the 'Golden Pound' is part of this.

The Costa Foundation is a “Golden Pound” charity where all donations received are used to benefit these important life-changing projects. Company funds cover the costs of running the charity.
All Costa coffee is 100% Rainforest Alliance certified bringing health care, education and sustainable crops to their farmers. 

They also try to recycle as much as possible to be a more environmentally friendly brand.



Mocha & Hot Chocolates

Speciality Drinks

The 'Babycino' and 'Chocolate Babycino' surprised me and I have never heard of them before. 
These are simply steamed milk or steamed hot chocolate with dustings of chocolate powder, designed and aimed at children, presumably children of the parents that will meet/socialise in Costa.


Costa Ice

These make coffee shops relevant and still popular in the warmer weather. 

Creamy Coolers are packed full of cream, blended with ice and available in one of four flavours.

Fruit Coolers are available in three fruity flavours, all whizzed up with ice for a smooth drink.

Coffee Coolers start with our mocha italia blend which is then whizzed up with ice.


Similarly to Starbucks, not to as great extent, the take out costa cups are stylish and desirable to have and carry. 

They do not carry out the naming process as Starbucks do, more likely as that is an American trend that came to the UK.

The Costa festive cups were fun and creative and made people want to go and get a festive Costa. 


Inside Costa Coffee shops is quite similar to many Starbucks with a fairly brown, earthly design but with a contemporary finish. The burgundy/red colour features through Costa stores. 

Costa At Home

Costa sell a large number of products that you can buy in supermarkets, to make your own costa drinks at home. 

This is interesting as making good coffee at home is something I have looked into and an area of interest. 

They have the recognisable Costa design with the logo and colours, meaning customers can instantly recognise the brand and this links to quality. 

You can also buy Costa pods for Tassimo machines making it even easier to make Costa at home. 

Starbucks also sell coffee for customers to make coffee at home but these are not as widely available in stores other than actual Starbucks.



Whittards is one of my favourite shops, although it isn't a coffee shop that you can sit and have a coffee in it is a popular, high-end store that sells tea, coffee and hot chocolate. The products are high quality and this is clear from the design and packaging. The brand is very much British and proud of this. 


Walter Whittard opened his first shop in London in 1886 selling tea, coffee and cocoa, he started creating special blends for his customers, building the reputation Whittard has today.

They now sell over 130 varieties of loose tea, coffee beans and luxurious hot chocolates.

There are over 60 UK Whittard stores. 

Leeds Whittard

This is the Leeds Whittard store, I would love to take some photographs of inside the store but I would need to ask permission before doing this. 

Coffee Sold

There is a huge variety sold in store but here are some examples from the online categories. 

Coffee Beans

Whole beans are sold at Whittard in a variety of weights.

You can buy the whole beans but you can also buy specific grinds for making cafetiere, espresso, filter and turkish style coffee. 

Each coffee on the website has a profile with it explaining where it comes from, taste, roast strength and more. 

Origin: Cajamarca Region, Northern Peru, South America
Body: Full-bodied
Roast: Strong Roast (5)
Summary of taste: Rich with smooth chocolate orange sweetness
Whittard recommends: Using a cafetière and enjoying black or with milk according to taste

100% Arabica Beans

Pre Packed Coffee

Ground pre-packed coffee is also sold and this is packaged with a high end design linking to the Whittard brand, this luxurious aesthetic is carried through the various products.

These ground coffees include recommended production methods which is helpful for the customer. 

Origin: Ethiopia/Colombia blend
Body: Full-bodied
Strength: Medium Strong Roast (4)
Summary of taste: Silky smooth with glorious chocolate notes
Whittard recommends: Using a filter or cafetière and enjoying black or with milk according to taste
When to drink: Breakfast, or any other time you need a kick-start 

100% Arabica Coffee

Flavoured Coffee

These can be bought in instant form and ground coffee form. 


Instant coffee is freeze dried coffee from Arabica beans, mixed with favourings. 

The instant coffees come in jars but the floral, high-end design is continued onto the label. 


The packaging for the ground coffee much looks higher quality than the jar, however in terms of practicality for instant coffee the jar is suitable for storage. 

Although a bright colour is used this design is still reminiscent of Whittard's heritage.

Origin: Blended
Body: Medium-bodied
Roast: Light Roast (2)
Summary of taste: Apricots and almonds
Whittard recommends: Using with any type of coffee maker
When to drink: Throughout the day


Whittard sells a lot of gifts which are designed with the same high quality aesthetic as the other products but more unique forms of packaging are used to make the gifts more unique and desirable. 

Bright and fun but the style of illustration keeps a vintage aspect. 

All these gifts have a vintage aspect that links to the heritage of Whittard and suggests a high quality coffee. The quality of design makes these perfect for gifts.


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