Cobranding is obviously a great way to grow business, especially when combined with word-of-mouth and a clearly understandable differentiator. Blue Bottle Cafe hast fast reached cult status in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond as an artisan small batch coffee roaster and a new place offering Blue Bottle coffee moves itself to the top of the line must-visit locations. Five years ago, motels and airlines proudly serving Mermaid-brand coffee had something to offer - since then the connoisseurs have moved on. Having grown up in Viennese Coffeehouses [engl link]: Das Kaffeehaus [dt. link] - "nicht zu Hause und doch nicht an der frischen Luft" (Peter Altenberg, Viennese author) [not at home yet not in fresh air], it always amazes me how coffee is prepared, served and consumed.
I agreed to join as friend for a coffee at a new place that serves Blue Bottle cafe - Fraiche the new organic frozen yogurt must visit place in Palo Alto - for a nice shot and ended up with a cheap paper cup with ice cubes, cold milk and a brew that could be from any half-way decent office break room. And I'm pretty shure they actually use Blue Bottle Coffee. An espresso machine like the La Marzocco at this places needs to be driven like a sports car - you need to know what to do. And it's not the fault of the team behind the counter (it's not a bar) - no is it the fault of the young guy cranking the handle at the cash register and managing crowds fast-food-palce style and being rude - that's what his boss tells him to do: no photos, stand there, do this do that.
Forget this place but do remember to maximize the benefits of cobranding - especially in a start-up situation when you desperately need it. And get a bag of Blue Bottle cafe (the roast is never more than 48 hrs!) and make great cafe at home - even without a digitally controlled $4000 espresso machine - which is admittedly a nice boy toy (every boy deserves a steam engine at some point in his life). Get an ice cream maker, it's $49 and the stuff you can produce is amazing. [Yelp]