Blue Bottle Coffee

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Blue Bottle Coffee, Inc.
IndustryCoffee industry
Founded2002; 20 years ago (2002)
FounderW. James Freeman
Area served
United States
Key people
W. James Freeman, Founder
Karl Strovink, CEO
OwnerNestlé (68%)

Blue Bottle Coffee, Inc., is a coffee roaster and retailer once headquartered in Oakland, California, United States. In 2017, a majority stake in the company was acquired by Nestlé (68%). It is considered a major player in third wave coffee.[1] The company focuses on single-origin beans.[2]


The company once based in Oakland, California, soon expanded to other areas around the country. Blue Bottle first expanded to several cafés in locations around San Francisco, including the Ferry Building and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's rooftop garden.[3] The company operates 99 stores as of June 2021, with locations in California, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Seoul, Kyoto, Kobe, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Yokohama.[4]


W. James Freeman, CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee, in 2014

W. James Freeman founded Blue Bottle Coffee in the early 2000s in Oakland’s Temescal District.[5] Freeman borrowed the name from one of Europe's first cafés, The Blue Bottle Coffee House. His intention was to roast coffee in small batches (6 lbs. per roast) to sell within 24 hours of roasting, initially as a home-delivery service. Blue Bottle soon ceased deliveries and opened as a traditional café.[6]

Blue Bottle opened additional locations in San Francisco and elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, and then opened its first New York location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2010.[7] The company-owned stores carry off-menu items such as the "Gibraltar", a form of cortado.[3]

In 2012, Blue Bottle received $20 million in venture capital investment.[8]

In January 2014, Blue Bottle raised $25.75 million in new round of funding.[9]

In 2015, Blue Bottle completed a venture capital round in which it raised $70 million from investors led by Fidelity.[10]

Blue Bottle Coffee stand in the Moynihan Train Hall (Penn Station) New York

Since its inception, the company has raised $120 million from investors as of 2017.[11]

In February 2015, Blue Bottle Coffee opened its first location in Tokyo, Japan, in the Kiyosumi neighborhood.[12]

In September 2017, Nestle S.A., the world's largest food and drinks company, acquired a majority stake of Blue Bottle.[13] While the deal's financial details were not disclosed, the Financial Times reported "Nestle is understood to be paying up to $500m for the 68 per cent stake in Blue Bottle".[14] Blue Bottle expected to increase sales by 70% in 2017.[15]

In May 2019, Blue Bottle Coffee opened its first location in Seoul, South Korea.[16]

In December 2019, Blue Bottle Coffee announced they would test eliminating disposable cups at some of their shops in an effort to increase sustainability efforts, with the goal being zero waste within one year.[17] nothing has been reported to date about this test and whether it was successful.

In April 2020, Blue Bottle Coffee opened its first location in Central, Hong Kong. Amid COVID-19, the café opened from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for takeaway only.[18]

In February 2022, Blue Bottle Coffee opened its first location in mainland China, Yutong Cafe. Yutong Cafe is located at a historic building by Suzhou Creek in downtown Shanghai.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Baertlein, Lisa (October 30, 2015). "Peet's rides coffee's 'third wave' with stake in Intelligentsia". Reuters. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  2. ^ Roush, Wade (June 7, 2013). "Coffee Goes from Folger's, to Starbucks, to Tech-Driven 'Third Wave'". Xconomy.
  3. ^ a b Copeland, Michael V. (September 23, 2011). "Blue Bottle: The best coffee you may ever drink". CNN Money. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012.
  4. ^ "Blue Bottle List of Cafes". Blue Bottle. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  5. ^ Jr, Tom Huddleston (July 12, 2019). "Blue Bottle Coffee: How a struggling clarinet player used $15,000 in credit card debt to launch a $700 million brand". CNBC. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  6. ^ "Blue Bottle Coffee - Who We Are". Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  7. ^ Morabito, Greg (February 23, 2010). "SF's Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Hits The 'Burg This Week". Eater NY. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
  8. ^ Tate, Ryan (October 16, 2012). "Blue Bottle Cashes in on Coffee Authenticity".
  9. ^ de la Merced, Michael J. "Blue Bottle Raises $25.75 Million, Including From High-Powered Friends". DealBook. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  10. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (June 4, 2015). "Blue Bottle Coffee turns from start-up to upstart with $70m deal". Financial Times.
  11. ^ Atkins, Ralph; Bradshaw, Tim (September 14, 2017). "Nestlé breaks into US hipster coffee market with Blue Bottle deal". Financial Times. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  12. ^ "Blue Bottle Coffee offers a fresher brew". Japantimes. February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  13. ^ Gretler, Corinne; Giammona, Craig; Zaleski, Olivia (September 14, 2017). "Nestle Buys Majority Stake in U.S. Coffee Roaster Blue Bottle". Bloomberg News. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  14. ^ Atkins, Ralph (September 14, 2017). "Nestlé breaks into US hipster coffee market with Blue Bottle deal". Financial Times. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  15. ^ de la Merced, Michael (September 14, 2017). "Nestlé Targets High-End Coffee by Taking Majority Stake in Blue Bottle". New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  16. ^ "Blue Bottle Coffee opens in Korea". Global Coffee Report. April 30, 2019.
  17. ^ Ivanova, Irina (December 13, 2019). "Blue Bottle Coffee to test eliminating disposable cups and packaging". CBS News. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  18. ^ "Blue Bottle Coffee Company". Time Out. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  19. ^ Riri (February 25, 2022). "中国内地首家蓝瓶咖啡开业!但它并不想做个"顶流网红"" [Blue Bottle Coffee opens first cafe in Mainland China!]. FoodTalks (in Chinese). Retrieved February 25, 2022.

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