Starbucks sees future in artisanal

It plans to roll out more Roastery & Tasting Rooms, with New York high on its list. By James B Stewart

New York

ANGUS Maxwell, 27, works in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He describes himself as an "installation and performance artist" and is a member of the Boom! Theater Company. He grew up in Seattle and wears a beard and wire-rim glasses.

He's also a barista for what must be among the most discerning coffee clientele in the country, where boutique roasters like Blue Bottle and Toby's Estate dominate the neighbourhood. This week he brewed me a cup of "small lot" coffee - Nicaragua El Suyatal ("notes of hazelnut and caramel with a malty sweetness") - while describing the distinctive flavour profiles of beans from Tanzania to Hawaii.

Mr Maxwell doesn't work for another artisanal upstart, but Starbucks....

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