Twenty-five years ago, coffee was a boring category with little growth. Starbucks was beginning to be a factor but most Americans were content to buy Maxwell House or Yuban at the supermarket and drink similar quality coffee beverages when dining out. While Starbucks certainly deserves credit for educating the American palate to accept better quality coffee beverages (their food is another matter), there was an unintended outcome – the rise of independent high-quality specialty coffee shops for those snobs that felt Starbucks was just too big & boring a chain to patronize any more.

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