June 03, 2007

Coffee Shop War?

Starbucks vs. Balzac
Originally uploaded by HamburgCam.

As the world seems to be inhabited by more and more caffeine junkies, getting your daily dose of "Arabica or Robusta" beans in its liquid stage becomes almost vital to ones happieness.

Drinking coffee in traditional cafes has a long history in Germany. But until 1998, "Espresso coffee chain franchises" were pretty much unknown to Hamburgians. This changed in 1998 when a small local coffee chain opened their first coffee shop in Hamburg. It was called "Balzac Coffee". Up untill 2006, this was the major coffee shop chain in Hamburg.

Just in time for the Soccer World Cup in 2006 the world leader of coffee shops entered the market... "Starbucks"! Somehow, before then the major coffee shop empire had not targeted Hamburg as a potential lucrative market.

Today, the local chain of Balzac operates 34 shops in Hamburg, Lübeck, Berlin and Hannover. The Starbucks label appears on over 13.000 Coffee shops world wide.

Decide for yourself (if you get the chance), which coffee shop is your favorite in Hamburg. I already have my personal favorite :-)


Leticia said...

Pretty much that one!!! excellent coffes.

Ackworth Born said...

As a tea drinker I'm not really into coffee but have always wondering why people go so into raptures about Starbucks -- there seems to be some fashionable notion that it is trendy or something.
I actually visited Starbucks recently in Salford Quays and have to say the product was quite fine, but I'd always go for a traditional local cafe before a chain given the choice.