Is Zurich falling out of love with Starbucks coffee?

Is Zurich falling out of love with Starbucks coffee?
Starbucks has over 24,000 stores in 75 markets. File photo: AFP
The closure of two Starbucks stores in Zurich has sparked press speculation that the US giant is feeling the heat in the face of a new coffee culture in Switzerland's largest city.

The Starbucks café in Zurich's Schaffhauserplatz square has already closed its doors while another outlet of the Seattle-based company in Neu-Oerlikon is set to do the same.

In addition, a third café in the city of Winterthur in canton Zurich is also set to “capitulate” and close its doors, according to regional daily Der Landbote.

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Swiss daily NZZ headlined its story on these closures “Zurich’s Starbucks Success Story suffers setback” while the Tages Anzeiger newspaper noted the company had, until now, only closed three of its cafés in Zurich in nearly two decades.

“After 18 years, the brakes appear to have put on the Starbucks euphoria to some degree,” said the daily.

Those who still have a hankering for 'Friends'-era style comfort and oversized US-style coffees won’t go short. There are still 16 Starbucks venues in Zurich, and 54 in Switzerland.

But there is no doubting that coffee options (including those of the takeaway variety) have expanded in Zurich in recent years, while tastes have become more sophisticated.

'Not just a Zurich thing'

However, as David Lewes, the founder of Zurich’s Just Coffee, told The Local on Thursday, this sea change in coffee culture is “not just a Zurich thing”.

“There is a global, artisanal movement in coffee,” said the owner of the store near the Jelmoli department store.

“People want to know where their coffee beans come from and they have wised up to quality. They recognize the taste difference,” said Lewis who puts 21 grams of coffee in all of his drinks.

The Just Coffee manager also noted value for money was also on people’s minds.

“People think that if they are going to go and spend money on coffee, it better be good. They don’t want someone just pressing a button,” he said.

Lewis also said people were now looking for something unique, and a little more local when it came to cafés.

At the same time, features that had originally attracted people to Starbucks such as Wi-fi and lounging opportunities were no longer so appealing, he added.

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