Starbucks, Sans Barista

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Starbucks, Sans Barista

SEATTLE -- Starbucks Corp. is experimenting with selling espresso drinks from a machine, sans barista, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The company -- through its Seattle's Best Coffee label -- has teamed up with Coinstar Inc. and a small Bellevue, Wash. company, Concordia Coffee Co. Inc., to place automated, self-serve espresso kiosks at grocery stores in eight states.

The idea is to "bring coffee to places where you wouldn't or couldn't put a full-service espresso bar," said Tom Ehlers, general manager and vice president of Seattle's Best Coffee.

The machines, which grind their own beans, can crank out lattes, mochas, chai teas, hot chocolates and drip coffees. There are 86 machines installed in Albertsons stores and other grocers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maryland and Tennessee. The machines take credit and debit cards, cash and coins, the report stated.