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Starbucks And Coinstar Team Up To Automate Espresso Bars

Posted On: 6/3/2008

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BELLEVUE, WA -- Concordia Coffee Co., which invented the famous Acorto line of fully automated espresso-based beverage machines, reports that it is working with Coinstar Inc. (also headquartered here) and Starbucks Coffee to place self-service espresso bars in public locations. To date, 86 of the automated kiosks have been installed, primarily in supermarkets.

Starbucks's involvement in the project is through its Seattle's Best Coffee brand, which is merchandised through the upscale brewers. Coinstar, which has leveraged its development of unattended coin counting and sorting systems for high-traffic stores into a range of services, is expert at finding profitable uses for the space between a retailer's checkout counter and the door (which it calls the "fourth wall").

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal (May 30), Concordia sells the computer-controlled brewing/dispensing systems to Coinstar for just under $40,000 apiece; Coinstar installs them and provides the maintenance. The machines take credit and debit cards as well as bills and coins.

Concordia exhibited a "self-serve espresso bar" at the National Restaurant Association trade show early in May, and introduced a new automated brewer model there. The self-serve bar is a kiosk styled in cherrywood, and equipped with Concordia's Acorto Model 2500i automatic espresso machine. This is a high-volume, heavy-duty machine engineered for "24/7" unattended operations.

The kiosk is fitted with Concordia's Complete Transaction System, with an MDB interface that can be programmed to accept college/university student cards and corporate cards. It also controls a remote paging system to notify the operator when the machine is running low on product or needs service.

Unveiled at the NRA show was Concordia's Integrated Beverage System 4 (IBS4), 19-in.-wide unit that can deliver 164 different hot and cold specialty drinks with two types of bean. Designed for a wide variety of retail, corporate and restaurant environments, the IBS4 incorporates a new EspressJet Flavor System to infusemultiple flavor options into beverages during milk preparation; it uses four bag-in-box Torani syrups and sauces stored under the counter for the purpose. An onboard solid-state refrigerator holds standard one-gal. containers of fresh milk.

Concordia Coffee Systems maintains a website at