Starbucks and instant coffee: Signs of ill times?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Starbucks will now sell instant coffee. This is more than a little bit strange, since the company has spent 25 years implicitly and explicitly arguing that hot brown water, sometimes combined with milk, should be a necessary luxury for modern life, and ideally costing $2 – $3 because of the fine ingredients and the whole process around making it. But if you don’t need the fine ingredients and long process, why pay $2?

The WSJ article says, “It’s worth noting that the last time instant coffee made any sort of splash was when Nescafé came to market in 1938—as though we really needed yet another indication that the economy is languishing in dreary pseudo-depression.” Good point: and we know what happened in the years after 1938.

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