This is about as San Francisco as it gets.
Blue Bottle, an artisanal coffee chain riding the lucrative third wave coffee movement with unanimous support from the tech industry, recently secured a $70 million round of funding in addition to the $46 million it has already raised. The company currently has locations in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, as well as around the Bay Area, where it is based in Oakland. A 20,000-square foot shop is set to open soon in Brooklyn’s astronomically gentrifying Bushwick neighbourhood, the perfect demographic match.
A global empire of high-end roasters beckons.
Blue Bottle’s appeal stems from its commitment to taste, quality, and experience while doing away with the kind of accoutrements that symbolize first-wave purveyors. There’s no wifi, no coffee sizes, and each cup is brewed manually for a lengthy four minutes. Prices per cup range from $4 to $7.
Considering we’ve become a generation of coffee connoisseurs – real or perceived – the business model makes a lot of sense.
“People are paying more for olive oil, more for cheese. People will inevitably pay more for coffee,” says Blue Bottle Founder James Freeman. As Fast Company puts it, “Blue Bottle wants to teach everyday coffee drinkers to appreciate rare, distinctive beans, in the way many have learned to appreciate the difference between a bottle of 2011 Russian River Pinot Noir ($72) and the $20 house red at the local red-sauce joint.”
It takes just one look around your city’s coffeescape to confirm this shift is well underway.
Venture capitalist Tony Conrad already believes Blue Bottle could become a billion-dollar business within a decade, an opinion echoed by fellow investors like Morgan Stanley, the founders of Instagram and Twitter, and celebrities like actor Jared Leto, pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, and U2 frontman Bono.
Black gold, indeed.