7-Eleven Introduces Kenya AA World Roast

Chain also launches new Katrina relief initiatives

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven hot beverage bars will have an African flavor with the introduction of Kenya AA, the first single-origin coffee available under the company's new World Roasts brand. Kenya AA is a full-bodied variety that boasts intense flavor, bright acidity and complex fruit and wines tones, the company said.

Sampling cups will be available at participating stores for customers to take a preview sip of the new coffee.

This isn't just a new coffee flavor for 7-Eleven, it's an entirely new segment of our business, in which we [image-nocss] will be introducing selections originating from exotic locales specifically known for growing the finest beans, said Donald Driver, 7-Eleven category manager for hot beverages. World Roasts targets serious coffee-drinkers as well as adults who are looking for a richer, more intense coffee flavor. While medium in weight, Kenya AA has deeply dimensioned qualities.

Grown on small estates or farms, rather than by agribusiness giants, all Kenyan coffee beans are of the Arabica variety. These small-holding farmers organize into cooperatives to process and bring their coffee to market. Their artisan production techniques attract astute coffee-buyers from around the world who pay a premium for the coffee grown in this small East African country.

New World Roasts coffee flavors will be introduced quarterly. In January, 7-Eleven stores will present its second World Roasts specialty coffee offering: Hawaiian Kona.

In other company news, 7-Eleven said it is launching several initiatives to expand its Hurricane Katrina response, which combined could raise up to $1 million for disaster relief efforts.

Participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide are serving as official cash-donation sites for customer contributions from October 1 through November 30. One half of the proceeds collected will go to fund immediate hurricane relief efforts by the American Red Cross. The other half will address long-term needs with a newly created scholarship program, implemented by Education is Freedom, for qualified students impacted by the hurricane.

During October, one of 7-Eleven's suppliers will match customer donations up to $75,000 each for the Red Cross and Education is Freedom, 7-Eleven's signature charity which is implementing the Katrina scholarship program, for a total gift of up to $150,000.

Customers who donate $1 or more in-store can receive a strand of Mardi Gras beads, in a campaign 7-Eleven calls Beads for the Bayou, to show their support and participation, while supplies last.

7-Eleven is donating $150,000 to help the Red Cross reach its goal of $2 billion in Katrina relief funds.

The newly formed parent company of Seven-Eleven Japan and IYG Holding Company, Seven & I Holdings in Tokyo, also created a Hurricane Katrina relief campaign in Japan. Approximately 12,000 7-Eleven stores and other businesses operated by the company participated in the fund drive through September 25 to benefit the American Red Cross.

The company has joined with Verizon Communications Inc. to distribute $50,000 worth of $5 prepaid phone cards to evacuees. An initial 2,000 cards were distributed in the days after the hurricane struck to help victims contact friends and relatives. The Red Cross will distribute the remaining cards while supplies last to shelter residents in Louisiana and Alabama.

Many 7-Eleven stores have been collecting donations for the Red Cross since the hurricane struck August 29, and immediately after the disaster, 7-Eleven worked with its suppliers to provide fresh sandwiches, energy bars and water for thousands of stranded victims.

The company has hired 13 Katrina evacuees for store positions in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is continuing to interview others displaced by the disaster.