If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ve probably heard of Blue Bottle Coffee by now. With locations on the Embarcadero (1 Ferry Building) and on Market street (1355 Market Street #190) , Blue Bottle coffee is located in some of the busiest and most visited places in San Francisco. In addition to their multiple locations in San Francisco, they also have multiple locations in the East Bay including near UC Berkeley at 2118 University Avenue (510-653-3394). With lines out the stores and around the corner and bags flying off the shelves, you might wonder what makes this brand of coffee so desirable and successful? Much of the allure is credit to the product’s quality and exclusivity, as well as the strategic business moves of the company’s humble owner.

In 2002, a freelance clarinetist from San Francisco, James Freeman, decided to leave behind the music industry and start a revolutionary new coffee company – although maybe he didn’t know it at the time. Freeman was simply tired of the week-old roasts he would find in coffee shops and in stores and preferred his own fresh and slow roast. He decided to open up his own roasting shop in Oakland and a few years later, a small kiosk in Hayes Valley in San Francisco. He named it “Blue Bottle Coffee,” after the Hof zur Blauen Flasche, the first Central European coffee shop in Vienna. The first official Blue Bottle café on Mint Street pioneered the practice of a Japanese imported siphon bar, a delicate machine that produces fine artisan coffee. From farmer’s markets to cafés in the San Francisco Ferry Building and the Museum of Modern Art, Freeman’s simple idea started a cultural coffee phenomenon.

A Fresh Taste

Blue Bottle Coffee is devoted to serving coffee within 48 hours of being roasted. This means each bag of coffee beans is tested in the morning, dated and delivered to stores, and sold within two days. Unfortunately for those who live out of range of Blue Bottle, Freeman refuses to ship his products long distances. In Blue Bottle Coffee shops, coffee can take up to three and half minutes to make versus the 20 seconds most major chains deliver. However, most customers don’t mind the wait or the lines because they are guaranteed quality. With the siphon bar, delicately brewed coffee exhibits an array of flavors as the temperature of the coffee changes, offering a unique taste unavailable anywhere else.

The Coffee Craze

Because of the devotion to quality, many big players have taken notice of entrepreneur James Freeman and his company. Silicon Valley superstars such as Twitter, Google, Instagram, and others have joined the following with everyone else. Even though these major corporations have invested in Blue Bottle, the product quality has only increased, going against the unusual trend of most growing businesses. Additionally, Blue Bottle has refused to expand rapidly to ensure consistent and fresh coffee production and quality.

With such limited access, the customers’ desire and devotion to this Bay Area grown company only intensifies. Currently, only 18 cafes exist, most located in the San Francisco area, and coffee beans are exclusively sold in participating stores. While there are a few locations in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as the newest additions in Tokyo, Japan, the availability is still very exclusive. Being a part of this exciting and special coffee experience that is not shared with the entire country, let alone county, is another major appeal to many customers. Being a customer to Blue Bottle Coffee is almost like it’s own elite club.

Insider Fact: Blue Bottle Coffee also offers classes for operating a Home Espresso Machine and how to make perfect drip coffee at their Oakland WC Morse location. If you don’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area though, their online website provides Brewing Guides to help you make the best morning wake up. For example

So if you’re in the area of San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, or Tokyo, then stop in to the nearest Blue Bottle Coffee and give it a taste to see what the rage is all about. Or if you’re planning to start your own coffee shop, it wouldn’t hurt to take a few lessons from this internationally thriving business devoted to maintaining quality first.

Interested in starting your own coffee shop? Or creating a quality business? Schedule a consultation with Piedmont Avenue Consulting (510) 761-5895.

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