Starbucks may be the most ubiquitous coffee cup in America, but it can’t quite squash the mom and pop café, though it may try. Pinecrest, a Cuban Bakery in Miami, has won a legal battle against Starbucks for the right to sell the Cuban coffee known as cafecito. According to the terms of the lease precipitated by Starbucks, the café was only allowed to sell American-style drip coffee.
“Who can have a pastelito without a cafecito? Or a tostada without a cafe con leche?” Pinecrest co-owner Gladys Valdes told the Miami Herald. “One can’t be without the other.”
When the café first opened in the shopping center, the owners were told — as part of the terms of their lease — that sales of coffee could not exceed 10 percent of their total sales, because Starbucks had exclusive coffee-selling rights. A few months later, the terms were further narrowed to ban Valdes and her team from selling all coffee except American style-drip coffee in a pot.
Thus began an online social media campaign for the café to win its rights back. The café went to court in 2014 and lost. Afterward, the shopping center was sold, so the contract should have been null and void. But Starbucks threatened to sue again and the café had to get rid of its coffee machines. They went back to the original 10 percent clause, which isn’t a total win, but it’s better than nothing.
“Starbucks has been committed to being a good neighbor for nearly 20 years at our 6603 South Dixie Highway location in Miami, serving as a gathering place for the entire community,” a Starbucks spokesperson told the Miami Herald. “We’re thankful this situation has been resolved and an agreement was reached that is beneficial for all parties.”