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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

April 13, 2010 at 11:08 AM

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Starbucks launches instant coffee in Japan, bottled lattes by Seattle's Best Coffee in the western U.S.

Posted by Melissa Allison

Starbucks began selling its instant coffee today at 870 coffee shops in Japan, where the product is called Via Coffee Essence. It's already available in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Starbucks estimates that the at-home coffee market in Japan is $5 billion of a $23 billion global instant coffee business. CEO Howard Schultz told the Wall Street Journal he expects China to surpass Japan in its number of Starbucks stores, something he's been saying for years. He also mentioned wanting to open stores in India and Vietnam. It backed away from plans to open in India three years ago, after having trouble with business applications there.

The company also launched bottled coffee under its Seattle's Best Coffee brand today. The drinks come in three flavors -- iced latte, iced vanilla latte and iced mocha -- and will be sold for $1.49 each or $4.99 for a four-pack at more than 10,000 grocery, convenience and other stores in the western U.S. That product is part of a partnership with Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages.

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