Mentioned before but deserving of its own link-post, Stephen S. Wade, inspired by the recent news of Blue Bottle Coffee’s transfer of ownership:
Growth is a good goal, but it is not the only goal. Part of what makes specialty coffee — and indeed, much of the sustainable food community worthwhile — is that it is growth moderated by the ability to pay attention to social, ecological, and economic concerns. […] If those are forgotten at any length of the chain, then specialty coffee ceases to be impressive, and simply becomes a marketing ploy. And if that kind of growth is what eventually becomes of specialty coffee, we might as well go and hit the showers.
I tend toward hopefulness in these matters, but the concern amongst the nay-sayers and the more negative on the skeptic spectrum, is, I think, that Blue Bottle, much like Peet’s has, will take the quality lodestar banner and run with it right, straight into the ground to become, not so much a purveyor of quality but a machine designed to make money that just happens to sell coffee.
There’s nothing to do but to wait and see.