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It may seem strange that being able to buy Starbucks in South Africa makes the news, but a year ago, it would have seemed odd to even buy Starbucks in South Africa. Now, it has been made possible. Initially, South Africans were caught sipping Starbucks coffee in only a few select coffee shops, but thanks to the initiative of Checkers and Checkers Hyper, Starbucks is being enjoyed in South African homes.
Although Starbucks is an exciting new treat for South Africans, there has not been a shortage of good coffee in the country. Tourists travelling to the country will soon realize that a very popular brand of coffee is that of Mugg & Bean. Their cappuccinos are very popular and their American iced coffees simply delicious.
The Seattle Coffee Company also has a pretty good coffee and seems to draw inspiration from the presentation and functioning of Starbucks coffee houses. The Vida e Caffé coffee houses have a more exotic feel to them. Their menu is in Portuguese which makes all the coffee drinks sound tantalizing and the music played in these coffee houses makes you want to linger a bit longer.
For years there have been rumors about Starbucks arriving on South African shores. Excited South Africans waited in anticipation for the rumors to materialize. And finally, the 2010 Fifa World Cup ushered in the arrival of Starbucks in the country. The coffee bars that are “proudly serving Starbucks” are found in some Southern Sun Hotels and Tsogo Sun Casinos.
There are two “we proudly brew” Starbucks coffee bars in Johannesburg, one in Durban and one in Cape Town. These are evidently few and far between, but there are hopes that Starbucks will build upon this initiative and expand their brand even more. These cafes serve Starbucks coffee, Tazo teas and various Starbucks espresso-based beverages.
More recently, however, Starbucks has expanded their brand in South Africa in a different way. Many were surprised when, watching their regular television shows, an advertisement for Starbucks being sold at Checkers came onto the screen. A Facebook event for this initiative was created by Heart 104.9 FM, a popular South African radio station.
Excitement was in the air and people swarmed to Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores to include Starbucks coffee in their grocery shopping sprees.
The agreement reached between Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores, and Starbucks Coffee International, Inc., ensures that South Africa is stocked with Starbucks ground coffee and beans. The coffee comes in the flavors Verona and Decaf Verona, House Blend and Decaf House Blend, Colombia and French Roast.
From January 2012, Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores’ coffee aisles were stocked with Starbucks ground coffee coming in sachet packets of seven and bags of Starbucks coffee beans. Stocks are currently limited but will hopefully be replenished by March 2012.
In the past, Starbucks was a pleasant indulgence reserved for South Africans abroad and the friends or family members they decided to buy Starbucks coffee for. That has all changed. The initiative of ShopRite Checkers and Starbucks has ensured that Starbucks can become an everyday favorite for all South Africans.