Magazine B – Issue 76 (Blue Bottle Coffee)

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Magazine B Issue 76 (Blue Bottle Coffee) is available now at LOREM (not Ipsum). A global byword for specialty coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee was established by the clarinet player-turned-coffee guru James Freeman in 2002.

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Magazine B Issue 76 (Blue Bottle Coffee) is available now at LOREM (not Ipsum). A global byword for specialty coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee was established by the clarinet player-turned-coffee guru James Freeman in 2002. Freeman established firm footing for the brand’s distinct coffee culture based on his experience selling drip coffee from a cart at farmers’ markets. His secret is to focus entirely on the delicate nuances of coffee beans and hospitality-based individualized service. Somewhat of a unicorn in the coffee world, Blue Bottle Coffee has attracted significant investments from Silicon Valley, and has steadily expanded across the US, with farflung locations in Tokyo and Seoul.

We all have heard of the idea of taking a “coffee break.” It’s when we take a break from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and refresh with a cup of coffee. Similarly, people rely on coffee for its stimulating effect when they need to stay focused and totally immersed in a task. To some, coffee is something like a delicacy, and these aficionados take extra time to seek out the best coffee joints as they traverse the world. Others equip their kitchens with coffee makers and other paraphernalia to craft the best self-brewed cup of joe in the comfort of their own home. And in this digital era, coffee draws people out to offline gatherings. In short, the way contemporary society consumes coffee is nothing short of a craze. And it wouldn’t be overreaching to say that coffee is the only beverage with such a significant social and cultural influence for as long as it has. One of my interviewees, a businessman from California, said, “the US was built on coffee.”

This coffee craze has largely been propelled forward by certain coffee houses or brands, rather than by the coffee itself. Blue Bottle Coffee, featured in this issue, is the leading coffee brand behind the beverage’s phenomenal popularity for the last decade. As a frontrunner of specialty coffee—which is regarded as the third wave of coffee—Blue Bottle Coffee managed to create its own distinctive tastes and improve the entire coffee experience. Thanks to the brand’s concerted efforts, the high-end coffee industry has seen incredible growth over the years. Harking back to our publication seven years ago, B also covered Intelligentsia, another specialty coffee brand that is often referenced alongside Blue Bottle.

Featuring these two specialty coffee brands seven years apart, B discovered some interesting facts. In 2012, the concept of specialty coffee was just gaining momentum with mainstream consumers, and Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, and other specialty coffee brands were not much different from one another. They all sought to connect with local communities, provide customized services, and improve distribution and farming systems. Specialty coffee carved out its stake in the market, and Blue Bottle Coffee decidedly embarked on a different path with an insatiable desire to discover and start another new wave in the industry. A good brand grows as it establishes core values and commits to them, and Blue Bottle took this concept one step further to expand and modify brand values so that it would stay relevant as a brand through changing times. In this process, brands often risk losing some of their customer base and get involved in a few internal quarrels. But this seems inevitable, as new things can only be achieved when a few brave visionaries take that important leap of faith.

As Blue Bottle founder James Freeman put it: “If we were so boring and obsessed over brand purity as others do, then we would’ve never started serving lattes. We will never be that company.” Excellent sports teams experiment day in and day out with new tactics and bolster players to triumph amid generational changes. Similarly, Blue Bottle held back nothing and embraced new frontiers without reservation. The brand acquired a coffee bean subscription startup and a grinding tech firm, improved its website with a bit of help from Google Ventures, and established a systematic employee training program. All these initiatives are part of the brand’s ever-evolving road map. This issue of B presents Blue Bottle’s story of passion from 2002 to today, starting with the first tasty coffee they ever brewed to the establishment of their brand value to make good coffee accessible to everyone. Moving forward, I hope this brand’s stories provide readers an opportunity to stop for a moment, just like a coffee break, and reflect on what it means to grow.

Discover Magazine B – Issue 76 (Blue Bottle Coffee).

Magazine B is an ad-less monthly publication that introduces one well-balanced brand unearthed from around the globe in each issue. Between its covers, Magazine B not only shares untold stories behind the brand but also its sentiment and culture that any readers interested in brand marketing and management can leaf through with ease. Magazine B attempts to discover truly good brands from today’s market where countless brand-named products are overflowing. Magazine B pursues its quest for true value of a printed medium by becoming a magazine that would be worth possessing, not affected by advertisements since it receives no financial support from the brand, and maintains a unique and independent perspective which is increasingly disappearing due to overflowing information mingled among different media outlets.

Magazine B dedicates each issue to the story of one specific brand, which is one of the well-balanced brands that JOH. discovers from around the world based on four standards: beauty, practicality, price, and philosophy. And each issue is packed with B’s unique insights and in-depth analysis. Magazine B will continue to search brands that it pursues to introduce cover-to-cover, such as Swiss recycled bag manufacturer Freitag and Japanese camping gear maker Snow Peak.

Content: Magazine B – Issue 76 (Blue Bottle Coffee)


Blue Bottle patrons of Tokyo

Michael Phillips, Director of Coffee Culture, Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle’s three extraction recipes for balanced tastes

Baristas and roasters representing Blue Bottle’s distinctive coffee culture

Oakland roastery and cupping room–the control room for taste at all Blue Bottle cafés

Various Blue Bottle products showing off the brand’s aesthetic and use of new technology

Taesu Im, creative branding director of Stndrd

Blue Bottle cafés in California bring out local cultures and quirks

Spaces that materialize the Blue Bottle brand philosophy and coffee experience

Saki Igawa, Executive Vice President of Experience, Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle cafés in Japan reflect characteristics of different neighborhoods while remaining welcome and friendly

Blue Bottle’s influence and driving force for growth, as explained by those involved with the brand

Roastery cafés in Tokyo that are spreading specialty coffee culture after the arrival of Blue Bottle in Japan


The stories behind Blue Bottle’s birth and growth

James Freeman, Founder, Blue Bottle Coffee Bryan Meehan, CEO, Blue Bottle Coffee

James Freeman, Founder, Blue Bottle Coffee Bryan Meehan, CEO, Blue Bottle Coffee

Henry House, the Blue Bottle Coffee headquarters in Oakland

Blue Bottle training imparts its corporate culture and hospitality philosophy to new employees

Large-scale investments and acquisitions that laid the foundation for the brand’s growth

Locations where Blue Bottle Coffee’s single origin coffee beans are sourced

Four cities with distinctly unique café cultures

A look at Blue Bottle’s second global destination

Blue Bottle’s specialty coffee business and influence in numbers




240 x 170 mm

Published by Magazine B
Manufactured in South Korea
Available in English
Tags ·
Reading situation Coffee Shop · Home · Travelling
Article No. bfmagazineb0076
Weight 640 g
Dimensions 24 × 17 × 2 cm

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