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Jul 25, 2006
Starbucks launching "everyday" coffee in U.S

<!-- END HEADLINE --> <!-- BEGIN STORY BODY --> By Lisa Baertlein
Mon Apr 7, 7:23 PM ET

In a bid to reinvigorate lackluster U.S. traffic, Starbucks Corp will introduce a new, everyday brew called Pike Place Roast on Tuesday and for 30 minutes will hand out free 8-ounce (240 ml) samples.
Free cups of the new coffee, which the company said has a smoother flavor and finish, will be available starting at 9 a.m. on the West Coast and noon on the East Coast at all its roughly 7,100 company-operated U.S. stores.
"It is the best coffee that we have created, maybe, in our history," Chief Executive Howard Schultz said on a call with reporters on Monday.
Andrew Linnemann, Starbucks master coffee blender, said in a separate call that Pike Place and Pike Place decaffeinated would be offered daily, along with a third bold-style brew from a rotating list.
Starbucks had previously served a different coffee each week, which Linnemann said was confusing to some customers. With Pike Place, Starbucks will deliver drip coffee that is the same, regardless of the day or location.
The company is also focusing on freshness, using freshly ground beans and brewing coffee in smaller batches, with the coffee getting from roaster to sale in seven days.
Linnemann declined to reveal the source of the beans used in Pike Place, named for the company's original outlet in Seattle and which will sell for $9.95 per pound (450 grams).
The new brew will roll out in domestic markets only and Linnemann said Starbucks was evaluating what brews would be best for international markets.
Traffic in U.S. Starbucks stores has slowed in recent months amid a broader economic downturn and stiffer competition from companies such as McDonald's Corp, which is aggressively targeting the specialty-brewed coffee market that Starbucks helped establish.
Last year, the efforts of McDonald's got a boost when Consumer Reports rated the hamburger joint's drip coffee best.
Tasters from the consumer magazine said of McDonald's brew: "Decent and moderately strong. Although it lacked the subtle top notes needed to make it rise and shine, it had no flaws."
Starbucks got a harsher review, with tasters calling its coffee "strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water instead of open."
Schultz said Starbucks was going back to its roots with Pike Place after years of focusing on espresso.
"This is not about competition, this is about Starbucks. What others are doing is not the story," Schultz said.
Starbucks shares fell 19 cents, or 1 percent, to close at $18.31 on the Nasdaq.
(Editing by Andre Grenon/Braden Reddall)