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Based in Atlanta, GA - Rick Limpert is an award-winning writer, a best-selling author, and a featured sports travel writer.

Named the No. 1 Sports Technology writer in the U.S. on Oct 1, 2014.

Entries in Coffee (13)


How is Starbucks Doing?

They say they are turning the corner.


Rick's 12 Days of Christmas: Starbucks

If you have waitied until the last minute and need to buy a gift.... I guarantee there is a Starbucks open near you that has gift cards, coffee, mugs and ornaments for sale.

Start or finish your holiday shopping at Starbucks.


Rick's 12 Days of Christmas: Nespresso VertuoLine Machines

Nespresso is once again revolutionizing the world of Coffee by launching the new VertuoLine system, which produces freshly brewed Coffee and authentic Espresso with a rich, generous crema.



  • Heat up time: 15-20 sec
  • Descaling alert
  • Power rating (in watts): 1350 Watt
  • Coffee and Espresso
  • One button operation
  • Used capsule container capacity: 13
  • Automatic OFF mode after 9 mins
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 8.32 in x 11.91 in x 11.93 in
  • Height: 11.93 Inches
  • Cable Length: 33.46 Inches

A bunch of 5-star reviews for these machines:

"The best coffee I've ever tasted"

I have had my Vertuoline for about a year now and I absolutely love the coffee it makes. I have tried other 'capsule' machines and the coffee is bitter and/or bland. This machine is easy to use and the variety of coffee available is great. The new Intenso is currently my favorite. I have been in my local Sur La Table while others were looking at this machine. It's likely I've sold 5 or 6 of these machines for them. I also own the Inissia machine and I use that one at my office. The Vertuoline makes a nice "American" size cup of coffee. It also makes a slightly larger Expresso. If you're looking for a reliable machine for home or office, this is it.

If you like great tasting coffee, you need a Nespresso.


Starbucks has its Sights Set on China

Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks is America's most-iconic purveyor of caffeinated beverages, but an international market could become even more important to the company. Chief executive officer Howard Schultz told CNBC Thursday it won't come as a surprise if growth in China eventually surpasses Starbucks's footprint in the United States.

More here:


Starbucks' Stock Shares Heading Up

From The Street:

After a lackluster fiscal 2015 (calendar 2014), shares of Starbucks are racing higher after the company found a way to reaccelerate its growth. If you recall, transaction growth in fiscal 2014 had slowed to a crawl. Growth went from a high of 7% in the third quarter of fiscal 2013 to a low of just 1% by the fourth quarter of 2014. During this time, ticket growth was the only thing that kept same store sales flat to slightly down with the year before. As a result, the stock simply performed in line with the S&P 500 and investors wondered if the company had lost its touch.

But last year, management found a way to get transactions and tickets to grow again. As a result, same store sales took off and the stock followed along for the ride. In fact, in the quarter reported in October, Starbucks hit its highest same store sales number in three years. Global comps were up 8% and U.S. comps were up 9%. Part of the reason the same store sales were so good was the company is getting its food business right. Lunch and mid-day average transactions are up 30% over the last five years.

The company even found a way to get night owls into the store. Afternoon and evening transactions rose 19%. Starbucks now owns the morning, going big on lunch and attacking the midday refreshment and snack side of the business. The evening wine and cheese crowd is next on the agenda. Last quarter, food added 3% to same store sales, which was considerably better than in the past.

New store expansion is coming from overseas. In fiscal 2007, 70% of new store developments were inside the United States. Starbucks expects 70% of its new 1,800 new stores will be outside the U.S.

In addition to opening new stores, the company is aggressively attacking the grocery isle. According to the company, 80% of coffee "occasions" happen outside a coffee shop, so expanding distribution of ground coffee and k-cups remains a big priority. To support those sales, Starbucks has over 500 "signature aisles" in grocery stores and is looking for more. Of course, the company continues its push overseas. It has a $6 billion coffee and energy drink partnership with Chinese coffee company Tingyi and a $4 billion initiative with PepsiCo in Latin America.

Last quarter, some investors thought management gave mixed guidance. The company said sales would be strong, but earnings per share would be below the consensus because of heavy investment in technology. For example, digital initiatives are consuming an estimated $250-$275 million or $0.04-$0.05 per share this quarter.

Starbucks has a unique digital ecosystem. Mobile payments are at 21% of sales. About 35% of sales are prepaid cards. Last year, there were $5 billion loaded on cards and over 10 million active loyalty card members.

For the first quarter, analysts are expecting revenue of $5.39 billion, up 12% and $0.45 in earnings. For the year, revenue should be up 12.9% to $21.6 billion. The year includes an extra week, but that extra revenue will be offset by foreign currency translation. Earnings of $1.89 include some modest share buybacks.

Just about every analyst has a buy or strong buy on the stock and the average target price is $68. As mentioned before, higher technology spending, increased employee-related expenses, higher store opening expenses and foreign currency could take a cut a few cents out of EPS, but given the company's strong momentum, it's hard to bet against Starbucks. The company is on caffeine high.