Craft Coffee Giant Caribou Coming To Hampton Roads …

Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee will open its first outlet in Hampton Roads this year, in Virginia Beach’s Town Center.

And it won’t be coming alone. At the Main Street entrance of the Columbus Center building, Caribou will open a 2,000 square-foot location with Einstein Bros. Bagels, under the somewhat on-the-nose name Coffee and Bagels.

Einstein’s Bagels already has two shops in Hampton Roads: one in Chesapeake and one in the library of Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

Before being bought first in 2000 by Bahrainian investors and then again in 2012 by German conglomerate JAB Holdings (then called Joh. A. Benckiser), Caribou was at the tail end of second-wave craft coffee, right before the advent of ’90s-founded craft giants like Portland’s Stumptown and Chicago’s Intelligentsia.

JAB also owns the Einstein Bros., Noah’s, Bruegger’s and Manhattan bagel brands. Since buying Einstein Bros. in 2014, JAB has aggressively opened Coffee and Bagels mash-up locations across the country, reaching 50 by 2017.

Though Caribou is the second-largest premium coffee chain nationwide at around 500 locations — well behind Starbucks — its presence in Virginia has been sparse. Caribou is open only in the D.C. area and the Richmond airport.

Caribou is known in part for its light roast coffees, such as its well-regarded Starlight, and its near-antic devotion to goofball mocha drinks such as Hot Apple Blast, Northern Lite Berry White Mocha, and a 25th anniversary Cabin Bar Mocha drink released in December, made with butterscotch chips, peanut butter, chocolate chips, espresso, whipped cream and Special K chocolate squares. In May, the company unleashed a line of coconut-jelly bubble drinks and “matcha tea coolers.”

In 2014, the chain was in the news for filing injunctions against small coffee shops who used the term “depth charge” to describe an espresso shot dropped into a coffee; Caribou had trademarked the term in 2003.

No opening date has been announced for the Virginia Beach location, but a press release from Town Center of Virginia Beach sets the time frame as late 2018.

BY By Matthew Korfhage, The Virginian-Pilot

 

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