Archive for July, 2009

Joyce Reynolds, who runs the Heavenly Scent coffee concession at the Maplewood train station, had a broad smile this morning, as her lawyer, Diane O’Connell, stopped by with court papers fresh out of her mailbox.

“We won,” said Ms. Reynolds, who is beloved by her patrons both for her coffee and her helpfulness — she has been known to insist that a city-bound person who was short on change for coffee take a $20 loan from her, so as to get through the day.

But the nearly year-long duel between Ms. Reynolds and Art Christensen, who runs the concierge service at the station, is far from over.


Yesterday an Essex County judge dismissed Mr. Christensen’s eviction notice against Ms. Reynolds.
Mr. Christensen, vice chairman of the Maplewood Concierge Company, has a contract with New Jersey Transit to supply services to Maplewood commuters; Ms. Reynolds is a subcontractor.

“The judge dismissed the concierges’ action,” said Ms. O’Connell, “so she will not be evicted.”

However, Mr. Christensen said today that the battle is not over.

“Once the judge hands down his order,” he said, “we are going to move to an appeal.”

In any case, the two will be back in court on Sept. 2 when the New Jersey Superior Court Chancery Division will hear Ms. Reynolds’ request for a permanent injunction that will prevent Mr. Christensen from having any other subcontractors supplying coffee and snacks in the morning.

Mr. Christensen had told Ms. Reynolds in September that he would not renew her $900 monthly lease in July if she did not relocate to another corner of the train station and provide concierge services such as running errands for business people and a same-day dry-cleaning pick-up and drop-off point.

The fight turned nasty when Mr. Christensen changed the locks on the storage space Ms. Reynolds used and invited another coffee vendor into the station to compete with Heavenly Scent.

The recent court battle even drew in Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca, who helped negotiate the lease in 2002 and testified for Ms. Reynolds in court.

“I don’t know what the concierge is seeking to do here.” Mr. DeLuca told The Local. “There is overwhelming support from commuters to keep Joyce there — petitions, calls and e-mails. I told the judge I thought the whole thing was wrong to get rid of Joyce.”

According to Ms. O’Connell there is a non-compete clause in the lease that makes Heavenly Scent the station’s only coffee vendor between 5:30 and 9:45 a.m. Currently, the other coffee stand, run by Mintze Shay, is also operating at that time. Ms. Shay also agreed to operate Mr. Christensen’s extra concierge demands as well as supplying coffee and snacks.

“It is a completely different set of issues,” said Ms. O’Connell, of the injunction. “Just because this was won does not mean the next one will be.”

Cafe Mokk-a!!  Cafe Mokk-a!!



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MONTVALE, N.J. – One New Jersey town has pulled the plug on taxpayer-funded coffeepot.

Montvale has told borough employees the town will no longer pick up the tab for coffee, tea and cream.

The caffeine subsidy amounted to $6,145.24 a year.

Councilman William Greco says he’d rather see town workers go without coffee than have them laid off or lose benefits.

The town cut almost $500,000 from its budget this year.

Municipal employees say they’ll likely pool their money to purchase their own coffee and tea.


Ask for Mokk-a! 


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Coffee culture

Syria.Damascus.CoffeeHouse.01Coffee culture is a term used to describe a social atmosphere that depends heavily upon coffee, espresso in particular, to act as a social lubricant. The term also refers to the diffusion and adoption of coffee as a widely consumed stimulant by a culture.

The formation of culture around coffee and coffeehouses dates back to 16th century Turkey. Coffeehouses were traditionally social hubs, as well as artistic and intellectual centers. For example, Les Deux Magots in Paris, now a popular tourist attraction, was once associated with the intellectuals Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Trademarks of today’s coffeehouses (slower paced gourmet service, tasteful environments, social outlets such as open mic nights) have their origins in early coffeehouses and help to form the concept of coffee culture. Although fast-paced coffee service is available, such as at Starbucks, it is still questionable as to what extent such enterprises truly embody the traditional role of coffeehouses in communities as enhancing the local culture.

Mokk-a the latest in the current coffee culture!  Try it!!


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0332-0904-3001-2021_TN[1]Cappuccino is a coffee-based drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam. A cappuccino differs from a caffè latte in that it is prepared with much less steamed or textured milk than the caffè latte with the total of espresso and milk/foam making up between approximately 150 ml and 180 ml (5 and 6 fluid ounces). A cappuccino is traditionally served in a porcelain cup, which has far better heat retention characteristics than glass or paper. The foam on top of the cappuccino acts as an insulator and helps retain the heat of the liquid, allowing it to stay hotter longer.

A Cappuccino made with Mokk-a’s Cafe Svenska…..will make your day!


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0015-0603-2509-0635_TN[1]A Café au lait is a French coffee drink. In Europe, “café au lait” stems from the same continental tradition as “caffè Latte” in Italy, “café con leche” in Spain, “kawa biała” (“white coffee”) in Poland, “Milchkaffee” in Germany, “koffie verkeerd” in Netherlands, and “café com leite” in Portugal, simply “coffee with milk”. In northern Europe, café au lait is the name most often used in coffee shops. It’s is a coffee beverage consisting strong or bold coffee (sometimes espresso) mixed with scalded milk in approximately a 1:1 ratio

Try a café au lait with Mokk-a’s Cafe Svenska or Cafe France!

You’ll love it!!


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Despite the recession, “consumers are becoming more particular,” “We want good coffee and we’re willing to pay for it.”

McDonald’s May Be Helping

One sign that specialty coffee is still on the rise is that it’s been embraced by mass-market chains like McDonald’s (MCD) and Dunkin’ Donuts. Both have upgraded their coffee offerings in an attempt to steal business from Starbucks.

But instead of seriously hurting Starbucks’ business, the marketing push from McDonalds this year may have actually sparked more interest in coffee in general. That’s what Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz said in July, telling analysts: “It appears that the various marketing campaigns and all the media coverage of our coffee has created unprecedented awareness for the coffee category overall.”

Peet’s Coffee & Tea (PEET) is a company that prides itself on the very highest-quality coffee, sold both through supermarkets and its own coffee shops. On July 28, Peet’s announced quarterly earnings per share 24% higher than a year ago. Despite the tough economy, revenue rose 5% from a year ago.

Can It Last?

Grocery store sales were also up 10% and Peet’s market share was up 10%—showing customers were willing to pay more for quality coffee at home. “Peet’s may very well be one of the few premium-priced brands in the grocery store achieving strong sales and share growth despite the economic and competitive environment,” Peet’s President and CEO Patrick O’Dea told analysts. Peet’s shares are up 17% this year.

Perhaps investors shouldn’t have been surprised that coffee would hold its own during the downturn. Coffee is relatively inexpensive, particularly when prepared at home, Van Winkle notes. Also, he adds, “we are talking about an addictive product.”

The question for investors now is whether the coffee craze can continue. Many coffee stocks have gotten rather expensive. Green Mountain shares trade at more than 60 times 2009 earnings. Companies like Caribou and Starbucks are in the midst of turnarounds that are still in early stages. At the beginning of 2009, Caribou reported its first quarterly profit since 2005.

Some coffee stocks may have further to run, though only if current growth trends continue and even accelerate. With coffee shares at these heights, investors need to be especially alert to signs the country’s love of coffee has run its course.

Steverman is a reporter for BusinessWeek’s Investing channel

Now, run to Central Market and pick up some Mokk-a!!

Available while supply lasts!


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0331-0711-1002-1344_TN[1]While Starbucks has staged a nice recovery, the real action has been in shares of smaller outfits such as Green Mountain, Caribou, and Diedrich. Credit the K-Cup

Despite a recession, these are hot times in the stock market for the coffee business. Shares of Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR), which reported impressive earnings July 29, are up 169% in 2009. One small coffee wholesaler, Diedrich Coffee (DDRX), is up 6,650% this year.

Even beleaguered coffee chains are bouncing back from steep declines in previous years. Starbucks (SBUX) shares have risen 87% in 2009, while second-place rival Caribou (CBOU) has seen shares quadruple in value (up 311%).

It’s not that coffee drinkers haven’t cut back somewhat on their daily caffeine fix—at least outside the home. Last quarter, Starbucks’ same-store sales were 5% lower than the year before.

Changing the Business

But the coffee business has been surprisingly resilient in the face of the steep economic slowdown. At the same time, powerful trends—new technology, changing tastes, and new industry players—have made many coffee stocks powerful investments.

Green Mountain Coffee got investors’ attention with the success of its Keurig coffee brewers. Costing about $100 each, these brewers make single cups of coffee at home in about 30 seconds. “Every 10 or 15 years something comes around that changes the way people drink coffee,” says Scott Van Winkle, an analyst at Canaccord Adams. Easy to use and easy to clean up, “this is the new thing in coffee brewing,” he says, noting sales of the brewers were up 187% last quarter.

On July 29, Green Mountain beat Wall Street expectations with earnings of 36¢ per share. Green Mountain doesn’t just make money off the Keurig units, but also the small packs of coffee, called K-Cups, that the brewers use. Green Mountain makes its own K-Cups, but it also licenses that privilege to companies like Diedrich Coffee. In June, Diedrich announced it was boosting its output of K-Cups by 40%.

“An Affordable Luxury”

Though not profitable on an annual basis since 2005, Diedrich, with a market value of just $127 million, posted a small profit last quarter. The result: Diedrich’s share price has risen from 23¢ last November to 23.15 on July 30.

The growing popularity of at-home, single-cup brewing fits with trends coffee experts have seen since the economy began slowing down. “Coffee in general is doing well. It’s proven to be pretty recession-resistant,” says Ric Rhinehart, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, which counts as members more than 2,000 businesses up and down the U.S. coffee supply chain.

“As people cut back, coffee is an affordable luxury,” says Michelle Rhodes-Brown of Profit Investment Management, which owns Green Mountain shares.

Drinking More at Home

But, while Americans are still drinking plenty of coffee, they’re getting coffee from different places. Purchases of coffee for the home are up, while sales at coffee shops and other retail locations have softened, Rhinehart says.

Though the recession has hurt some coffee sales, it hasn’t ended Americans’ move toward higher-quality coffee, says Bruce Milletto, president of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup, which provides consulting and training to the industry. “Our taste buds have memories,” Milletto says. “Once you drink a really excellent cappuccino, it’s very hard to go back even to a chain store that may be using automatic machines.”




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