Starbucks coming to 500,000 hotel rooms

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Starbucks said Tuesday that it will begin offering ground coffees for use in hotel room brewers as part of a plan to expand its presence in the "single-serve" market.

The Seattle-based coffee chain said it has entered an agreement with Courtesy Products, maker of the CV1 in-room brewed coffee system, a single-serve machine that uses disposable "filter packs."

Under the agreement, Starbucks will provide ground coffee for use in the CV1, which is installed in some 500,000 "luxury and premium" hotel rooms across the United States, according to a joint press release.

The announcement comes as Starbucks looks for ways to increase its exposure to the premium single-cup market, which it defines as single-serve beverages that cost more than 50 cents per serving.

Starbucks said the single-cup segment could also include coffee pods or capsules, which could be sold for use in brewing systems.

But the company has declined to comment on speculation about a potential partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), the dominant player in single-service brewing machines.

"The single-serve coffee category in the U.S., and much of the world for that matter, is in its beginning stages of development," said Jeff Hansberry, president of Starbucks consumer products group, in a statement.

Echoing previous statements, Hansberry said it's too soon to say which single-serve format or machine Starbucks will pursue. But he suggested that the company is close to a decision.

"Look for further announcements from Starbucks as we continue to expand our presence in the premium single-serve category," he said.

Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) made its first foray into single-service coffee last year when it launched its Via brand of instant coffee, which sells for about $1 per serving. Via has generated over $180 million in sales since it came on the market in over 50,000 locations globally, the company said. To top of page

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