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Allegra’s CEO Forum brings specialty and mainstream together

From the June 2016 issue.

GCR talks to Allegra about how the worlds of artisan coffee and the mainstream are feeding into each other, and what the results have been.

Coffee from top
With the third wave of specialty coffee having well and truly taken hold in popular culture, the time is nigh when the big chain stores that dominate the high streets on both sides of the Atlantic have more in common with artisan cafés than they have differences.

As with so many trends in the coffee industry, this new phase in the dynamics of global coffee culture has been heralded by none other than Starbucks.

When it launched its flagship store, The Roastery, in Seattle in 2014, Starbucks made it clear to the world at large that specialty coffee had well and truly crossed over into the mainstream, and it is there to stay.

For those coffee purists who see the world as a binary equation of specialty versus mainstream, this may have come as something of a shock, but to the industry at large Starbucks’ embrace of all things specialty was a simple expression of the symbiotic role that artisan and mainstream roasters play in pushing forward the development of coffee culture around the world.

Managing Director of the Allegra Group Jeffrey Young, who is an experienced analyst of coffee trends in both the United Kingdom and the United States, says that Starbucks has long played a role as a conduit between the cutting edge of the coffee industry and the mainstream consumer.

“A lot of the really serious, successful artisan roasters will acknowledge that they owe a lot to the mighty Starbucks for getting the ball rolling,” Young tells Global Coffee Report.

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