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Specialty Coffee Meets Old-School Auto-Vending in Richmond

Nick Brown
Aug 16, 2019

As the internet has become the corpse-filled battleground for roasters seeking direct-to-consumer sales of roasted, packaged coffee, Blanchard’s Coffee in Richmond, Virginia, is taking it back to the streets. The roasting and retail company has unveiled a new around-the-clock vending machine for bags of whole bean coffee and other merchandise outside the front door of…

The new Blanchard’s Coffee 24/7 vending machine outside its 1903 Westwood Ave. roastery in Richmond, Virginia.

As the internet has become the corpse-filled battleground for roasters seeking direct-to-consumer sales of roasted, packaged coffee, Blanchard’s Coffee in Richmond, Virginia, is taking it back to the streets.

The roasting and retail company has unveiled a new around-the-clock vending machine for bags of whole bean coffee and other merchandise outside the front door of its roasting production headquarters.

Called the “24-Hour Coffee Market,” the machine is inspired by European automats, yet it’s different from many of the coffee-focused vending machines today in that it’s not dishing out a readily consumable product. The machine accepts major credit cards, Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Blanchard’s, which does offer coffee and merch sales within the roastery during normal business hours, says the machine is ideal for last-minute gift shopping, surprise house guests, or the feeling you get when you wake up on a Saturday morning and realize your shelves are bereft of coffee.

Blanchard’s Director of Sales Stephen T. Robertson said that the vending machine is temperature-controlled to protect coffee freshness, and it will continue to offer a rotating selection of products fresh from the roastery, including blends, single-origins and merch.

In other words, the living nightmare of not being able to purchase an expertly roasted, single-origin, single-farm, natural-process Red Bourbon at 3:30 a.m. is over — at least in Richmond

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