IRVING, Texas -- 7-Eleven Inc. is the latest chain to join the premiumization trend in convenience-store coffee. The Irving, Texas-based brand is introducing its Seven Reserve line of limited-time, high-end blends.
7-Eleven will kick of the Seven Reserve line with its Africa Blend, a 50-50 combination of 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified Arabica beans from Ethiopia and Rwanda. The medium roast coffee combines the sweet, chocolatey flavors of the Rwandan coffee with the intense citrus tones of the Ethiopian beans, the company said.
Even though the hand-picked coffee beans hail from regions known for their high-quality coffee production, the premium coffee does not come at a premium price. The Seven Reserve Africa Blend will cost the same as the chain’s other hot beverages.
"This isn't just a new coffee flavor for 7-Eleven, it's an entirely new segment of our business, in which we will be introducing coffees originating from exotic locales specifically known for producing the finest coffees," said Shawn Barnes, 7-Eleven senior category manager for hot beverages.
7-Eleven's foray into rare coffee follows in the footsteps of Starbuck's Reserve, a more upscale concept highlighting high-quality coffee and Italian baked goods. In January, Wawa rolled out Wawa Reserve featuring limited-time blends from beans that make up just 3% of the world's coffee.
Not only does Seven Reserve offer coffee connoisseurs a gourmet option, but the introduction underlines the c-store’s commitment to responsibly grown and sourced coffee. "Industrywide, there is a strong push to make coffee the world's first sustainable agricultural commodity,” said Laura Donnelly, senior associate of markets transformation for Rainforest Alliance. “7-Eleven's commitment to responsible sourcing is helping to advance that goal. By working with small farmers, 7-Eleven is also helping to transform farmer livelihoods, ensuring a quality coffee supply into the future."
Responsible sourcing of coffee and coffee packaging rolls up into 7-Eleven’s corporate social responsibility goals. The retailer is working toward a 20% reduction in its energy and packaging footprint by 2025.