US soft drink giant Coca-Cola opens Asian ‘cafe in a box’

SINGAPORE, Nov 17, 2006 (AFP) – US beverage giant Coca-Cola Company, in a long-term plan to diversify from soft drinks, will serve coffee and tea-making expertise from its first Asian specialty outlet, company executives said Friday. He described the concept as “pretty much a work in progress for the next six months.”

– by Bernice Han The Atlanta-based firm, whose flagship drink is Coke, launched its Far Coast brand of premium brewed beverages at its Singapore “concept store”, two months after unveiling the product globally in Toronto.

A third Far Coast outlet will open in Oslo in the first quarter of next year.

I.B. Bopanna, Coca-Cola’s regional director for premium brewed beverage, said the concept differs from Starbucks and other specialty coffee retail chains.

He said Far Coast is directed at restaurants, cinema operators, convenience stores and other business customers who want to offer gourmet coffee and tea but lack experience in this area.

The Far Coast facility offers prospective clients a look at the range of beverages and drink machines on offer by the company.

“It’s a cafe in a box… this is truly a sort of a lab if you will, for us to test our whole concept and it is also a live pres