November 16, 2009
Starbucks expands T-discs (not to be confused with K-cups)
Let's define some terms first.
K-cups are single servings of coffee in little plastic cups to be inserted in Keurig coffee machines. The idea is that each cup is fresh and easy to make. Many roasters make K-cups, although the technology belongs to Green Mountain.
The Motley Fool was disconcerted last summer that Starbucks hadn't yet jumped on the K-cup bandwagon — a money machine that is helping Green Mountain Coffee Roasters grow like there's no recession.
Instead of K-cups, Starbucks has T-discs, which are made in partnership with Kraft and dispensed in home machines called Tassimos, made by Bosch. Other roasters also make T-discs.
Starbucks has been relatively quiet about its T-disc partnership since unveiling it two years ago. But last March, it rolled out T-discs in Europe, and today said it will begin selling two new flavors — latte and cappuccino — in U.S. retailers in December. An eight-pack is $10.99.
For comparison, a 12-pack of Starbucks breakfast blend is $10.49, and a 24-pack of Kona Blend K-cups from Tully's Coffee is $13.95. Two other Starbucks brands — Seattle's Best Coffee and Tazo — also offer T-discs.