Bullseye brew: specialty coffee at Target

Categories: Great Gifts
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Every year, at the Guatemalan Cup of Excellence, coffee experts rate the top-quality beans via a "cupping" process, rank them in order of superiority, and put them on the auction block. They're mostly purchased by persnickity distributors who supply the country's top independent coffee shops...but not this year.

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Target bought the #2 and #3 highest-rated lots, single-origin coffees from the La Bendicion and San Guayaba estates to market them under the Archer Farms label and make them "affordable and accessible for all." Both coffees retail at $14.99 and will be available for a limited time only at Target stores. I didn't run the math, but I'd guess that's a pretty good price for such an esteemed bean. Plus, it's already packaged in an easily giftable tin.

I was curious how Target's move into specialty coffee would play with independents--would the big box be seen as a bully? Chatter on coffee-geek message boards seemed supportive of the Minneapolis retailers foray into the high-end coffee biz. Target recently sponsored the Specialty Coffee Association's conference in Minneapolis which gives them some coffee cred, and, according to board posters, they have a "solid crew" of pedigreed coffee nuts in the division. Here's what one poster had to say:

I'm always excited when a mainstream, big name company (Target in this case) gets into the upper tiers of the specialty coffee world, because it means just one more victory over commodity coffee.


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