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Archive for August, 2009

McDonald’s (MCD) reported Monday that its same-store sales rose 4.3 percent last month as the fast-food giant benefited from interest in its new line of premium coffee products as well as stronger demand from consumers looking to spend less on dining out.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said U.S. same-store sales, those at outlets open at least 13 months, rose 2.6 percent in July, while same-store sales in Europe climbed 7.2 percent, boosted by robust demand in the U.K. and France. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East sales perked up 2.1 percent, helped by stronger sales in Australia and longer store hours throughout the region, McDonald’s said.

McDonald’s said system-wide sales slipped 0.3 percent in July after factoring in currency fluctuations, but rose 6.2 percent excluding them.

McDonald’s reported increase in coffee sales came amid a big advertising push that included complimentary beverages at some of its stores. Advertisements featuring the products have been a recent fixture on network TV.

The newly introduced McCafe line of hot and chilled coffee beverages mimics those found at competitors Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts that feature added flavorings, milk and toppings. The drinks add more fuel to the so-called coffee wars and present consumers with an ever dizzying array of coffee products that are no longer limited to the simple hot morning fix. For example, the McCafe line includes seven hot or cold beverages.

To further promote its McCafe line, McDonald’s has introduced a McCafe Your Day contest, asking customers to submit stories and photos featuring the products for a chance to win a $50,000 Visa gift card and a $500 McDonald’s gift card.

For its part, Dunkin’ Donuts is heavily promoting its Frozen Cappuccino brand of coffee drinks, offering $25 gift cards to Twitter users who offer to share a story about a “bold” experience. The theme ties in with Dunkin’s promotion of the drinks as “our boldest most intense coffee indulgence yet.” The Canton, Mass., company is privately held and doesn’t disclose financial data, including sales.

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), which has seen sales slide amid the current recession, last month reported higher earnings in the second quarter, despite a drop in sales. The Seattle-based company has had to battle perceptions that its products are pricey as consumers look for ways to cut back on expenses.
The former Wall Street darling has fought back by cutting costs, including shuttering nearly 700 U.S. stores, and boosting marketing, such as promoting an iced-coffee drink for around $2.

Shares of McDonald’s were up nearly two percent in Monday afternoon trading in New York to more than $56 a share. The company plans to release sales figures for the current month Sept. 9.

 

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The Ahold Coffee Company pulls the plug on the puC, the coffee was presented with much fanfare to fight popular Senseo, Douwe Egberts and Philips. The device is no longer produced and sold due to low sales.

Only taste
How many of the devices have gone over the counter since its introduction in October 2007, a spokeswoman would not say. The associated pads and cups have disappeared from the shelf.

Temperature
Especially negative reports were about the temperature of the first cup.  The Netherlands puC was sold through the stores to Albert Heijn, C1000, Marskramer and Blokker. (belga / odbs)

Try Mokk-a in the new
disposable K-Cups now found in the US!

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I spend a few days a week working at coffee shops, which is pretty common in San Francisco, and I’ve seen some serious audacity in the last few years.

There’s always the guy communing with his computer at a table meant for four. He inevitably plugged in to the only outlet five hours ago; about the time he purchased his coffee, which has long since gone cold. Occasionally he rises to aim banter at the irritated barista, and then returns to his seat without making a purchase. Smashing.

I once saw someone pull a screwdriver out of his bag to remove a cover plate the owner had secured over an outlet. I had to restrain myself from walking over to smack his hands away.

By supplying Internet access, coffee shop owners know they’ll attract customers who want to work, but there are limits. Let’s review them:

1. Remember you’re frequenting a business. If the coffee shop isn’t profitable, it closes, leaving you pantsless in front of a Top Chef marathon. You, my friend, are a customer — so rise to the challenge. While you’re working, keep a purchase in front of you, and buy something every hour or so. If you can’t afford that, the library beckons.

2. Don’t bring a picnic. This should go without saying, but you may not bring food or drink to a place that sells things to eat and drink. Not even if you bought a coffee at some point. You can leave and come back if you want, but go eat your PBJ somewhere else.

3. Hang up. The barista is not a vending machine. Put away your cell phone while you’re ordering.

4. Tip well. Tip at least a buck every time you make a purchase. This promotes goodwill and serves as karmic rent. It’s an acknowledgement that you’re using space someone else could fill. Someone who tips.

5. Clean up after yourself. If you spill half the creamer on the counter before you find your cup, wipe it up. Empty sugar packets go in the trash, which is conveniently located inches from your hand. Bus your table between purchases and clear the table before you go. If someone takes your empty glass while you’re still sitting, that’s a forceful hint that it’s time to buy something else or leave.

6. Let the baristas be. If they want to talk to you, they will, and a pleasant conversation may ensue. But if you feel chatty — or god forbid flirtatious — direct those impulses elsewhere. Employees can’t be rude in the face of your attentions, and they can’t exactly leave work to avoid you.

7. Take one chair, and the smallest table available. If that happens to be a large table, offer to share until someone accepts. Don’t wait for others to ask, and don’t cover the table surface with papers in hopes that no one will bother you. As soon as a smaller table opens up, move.

8. Leave chairs free. If the space is busy, your bag goes on the floor, not a nearby chair. That way other people can use the chair without interrupting you. If you’d like someone to clear a laptop bag so you can sit, say, “Excuse me, is someone sitting here?”

9. Don’t bogart bandwidth. No P2P or large file downloads while everyone is sharing a network. Besides, we can all see your porn, and it’s awkward.

10. Respect the owner’s intent. If wi-fi is turned off at certain hours, then your laptop probably isn’t welcome either. Be aware of the cafe’s culture. If everyone around you is reading newspapers, or having quiet chats, this isn’t the place to start coding.

11. Avoid noise pollution. Switch your cell to vibrate, and take calls outside. If that’s not possible, keep conversations brief and quiet. Also, mute the sound on your computer, or wear headphones. Do you have any idea how much time you’re spending on Hulu?

12. Recognize that everyone wants the outlet seat. Unless outlets are plentiful, don’t use one unless you must. Arrive with a charged machine, and consider bringing an extra battery to avoid the whole drama. If you’re sitting at an outlet and you have enough battery to work for an hour or so, offer to share.

13. Don’t tamper with outlets. If an outlet is covered with a plate or tape, are you seriously willing to be the guy who opens it up? Don’t be that guy. What’s more, if there’s a fan, a lamp, or any other electrical device plugged in, you may not unplug it in order to charge your machine.

14. Ask before you pull out a power strip. In some cases it’s fine to bring along a power strip to multiply outlets, in other cases it irritates the owner. It’s more likely to be a good idea at a Starbucks than a mom-and-pop cafe. Another good sign is if the coffee shop has several available outlets, and is clearly set up for laptop use. When in doubt, ask the owner.

15. Once in a while, change your scenery. If you plan to spend an entire nine-to-five workweek in the same space, you might as well get a real job. Perhaps you’d be interested in learning to make a good latte?

The day may come that you’re too engrossed in your work to notice that you’re doing something rude. Hopefully, that situation will be such an anomaly that everyone will cut you some slack.

Now let’s go get some coffee. You can sit with me.

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Well first it started with a virus ……six of the them that attacked my computer the week before I left on holiday.  It was with the computer doctor for a week and returned the evening before we took off.

Then we enjoyed the most amazing trip….the celebration of a friends 50th birthday.  Give me some time and I will give you all a preview!

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For those with a sweet tooth, flavored coffee can serve as a great alternative to dessert! Next time you are craving a bowl of vanilla ice cream or a chocolate silk pie, try vanilla cream or chocolate fudge flavored coffee instead.

You’ll satisfy your craving without going over your calorie limit.

If you aren’t counting calories, but love the idea of coffee and chocolate after dinner, you should also try the decadent recipe below:

Ingredients:

* 3-1/2 oz. best-quality milk chocolate, very finely chopped
* Few grains of salt
* 1/4-cup heavy cream
* 1-cup water
* 2 tsp. instant coffee

* Optional garnish of lightly sweetened whipped cream
* Shaved or grated milk chocolate

Method:

In small microwaveable bowl, combine finely chopped milk chocolate and salt. Microwave at 50 percent (medium) power for thirty-second intervals, stirring well after each, just until chocolate is almost melted, then stir until completely melted and smooth. On high power, heat heavy cream until it is very hot. All at once, add hot cream to melted chocolate. Stir or whisk briskly until smooth (if you absolutely cannot get this mixture smooth, process at high speed in a food processor fitted with steel blade just until smooth).In two-cup liquid measure, heat water on high power until very hot. Add instant coffee to hot water and stir in well. Gradually add about half of hot coffee to milk chocolate mixture, stirring or whisking well after each addition. Add this mixture back to the remaining hot coffee in the two-cup liquid measure.

If necessary, heat beverage in two cup liquid measure at 50 percent (medium) power until steaming hot. Divide between two mugs (8 ounces each). If desired, garnish as suggested above. Serve immediately.

Courtesy of:  www.mokk-a.com

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In the song “You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon references clouds in her coffee. No doubt the vain person in the song thought their face was in those coffee clouds. Well, unless you’re hanging out with the world’s best barrista at Cafe Yala your face probably isn’t in your coffee. However, if you’re visiting The Rocks Aroma Festival in Sydney, then there was a portrait made out of coffee. That picture, a 20×13 portrait of the Mona Lisa, was rendered in 3604 cups of coffee!

coffee-mona-lisa

That’s a lot of coffee (and milk) to waste. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s more along the lines of normal brew rather than expensive cat dung coffee made from beans extracted from civet poop. Still, given that it was a coffee-lovers’ festival, I’m surprised the exhibit remained unsipped for a whole day!

Have you had your Mokk-a today!

www.mokk-a.com

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One coffee shop is baring all to beat the economic downturn – by enticing customers with baristas dressed in bikinis.

The drive-through Bikini Espresso cafe shop, which is not even near a beach, is causing a stir in Los Angeles. 

A woman in a bikini holds a glass of waterNovel: Drinks are being served by bikini-clad waitresses

‘We’re offering entertainment, coffee with a tease, if you will,’ said owner Gary Gillett.

‘We can give coffee-making skills but we can’t teach how to look good in a bikini.’

One customer said: ‘I used to come to the old shop. I used to come because it’s close. I may come for a different reason now.’

According to reports, there are plans to open a franchise in the UK. 

News reported by

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