Caffeine has probably been instrumental in many of the most important technological advancements of the past decades, so perhaps it’s only natural that a tech firm would seize the opportunity to open its own coffee shop in Silicon Valley.
That’s what German software company SAP is partnering with Blue Bottle to open: a cafe for people who “share a passion for technology,” Sanjay Shirole of SAP told the Associated Press for a March 17 story. At that time, the shop, called HanaHaus, was slated to open March 19.
The site of the cafe is a former cinema in downtown Palo Alto, the New Varsity Theater, and is located in the same vicinity as Stanford University, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, and numerous venture capital and tech startup firms. In addition to selling high-end coffee and offering free Wi-Fi, the space will also have an auditorium and rent out work spaces for groups.
Coffee is the second most sold commodity in the world (following only oil), but experts aren’t expecting SAP’s venture to necessarily be a profitable one. What this salon-like vision could do is raise the public profile of SAP, helping it to solidify its place in Silicon Valley and draw in young, bright talent eager to talk tech as they enjoy gourmet coffee.
Of course, the lines of influence between coffee and technology run in both directions. A panel at this year’s South by Southwest festival even took on the topic, discussing how high-tech brewing options have given coffee a craft status — like the “gourmet coffee” to be featured at SAP’s new shop — akin to that of micro-brewed beer.
The Internet, too, has been influential in the rise of artisan coffee, both by giving small roasters a larger audience willing to pay more for better coffee and by giving people access to practically unlimited tips on how to roast, brew and flavor coffee for the best results.
Will high-end coffee overtake the standard drip variety as people’s palates evolve? Erin Meister, a coffee educator for Counter Culture Coffee, said she isn’t so sure. “People know what good hamburgers taste like, but they still eat McDonald’s,” she said.