March 4, 2014
Soon, Our Robot Baristas Will Only Brew Certain Brands

We American coffee-drinkers have known the Era of Starbucks and the Epoch of Sanka.  It seems, however, we currently live in the Age of the K-Cup.
And we’re about to discover everything that means.
Over the past half-decade, single-serve, instant-brew coffee pods—called K-Cups—have taken over more than a quarter of the U.S. ground coffee business. Last summer, the Wall Street Journal judged the K-Cup’s rise “unstoppable” and reported that product category was worth over $150 million. 
K-Cups and Keurig (the best-known brand used to brew them) are both manufactured by Green Mountain Coffee. That company—worth some $16 billion itself—owned the patents for its chalices of disruption, but they expired in 2012, and since then it’s had a problem.
It’s historically operated on a razor blade model: Its Keurig business makes real money not by selling machine brewers but by selling K-Cups. Now cheaper competitors have moved in. They sell inexpensive one-off cups and reusable, extensible cups—threatening the company’s business on both sides.
Read more. [Image:  Randy Read / Flickr]

Soon, Our Robot Baristas Will Only Brew Certain Brands

We American coffee-drinkers have known the Era of Starbucks and the Epoch of Sanka.  It seems, however, we currently live in the Age of the K-Cup.

And we’re about to discover everything that means.

Over the past half-decade, single-serve, instant-brew coffee pods—called K-Cups—have taken over more than a quarter of the U.S. ground coffee business. Last summer, the Wall Street Journal judged the K-Cup’s rise “unstoppable” and reported that product category was worth over $150 million. 

K-Cups and Keurig (the best-known brand used to brew them) are both manufactured by Green Mountain Coffee. That company—worth some $16 billion itself—owned the patents for its chalices of disruption, but they expired in 2012, and since then it’s had a problem.

It’s historically operated on a razor blade model: Its Keurig business makes real money not by selling machine brewers but by selling K-Cups. Now cheaper competitors have moved in. They sell inexpensive one-off cups and reusable, extensible cups—threatening the company’s business on both sides.

Read more. [Image: Randy Read / Flickr]

  1. ellswoah reblogged this from theatlantic
  2. albykova reblogged this from theatlantic
  3. carlasoldfw reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    This is kind of crazy. I have a Keurig and very often I will buy cheaper off-brands (this broke college student needs to...
  4. vc22 reblogged this from theatlantic
  5. animeseahorse reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    We have a keurig. We buy k-cups but we also have one that is reusable for whatever coffee we have (as long as it is not...
  6. beardsbilliardsbikesnbeer reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Reusable K-cups, saving the peopleofthe US from themselves…
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