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CONSUMER BRIEFS / BEVERAGES

Times Staff And Wire Reports

Starbucks Corp. plans to start grinding and brewing coffee more frequently in U.S. stores to ensure fresh batches are always available.

Baristas will refresh each container of coffee about every 24 minutes, said Sanja Gould, a spokeswoman for Seattle-based Starbucks. As stores typically have three batches going at once, a new pot could be ready as often as every eight minutes, she said.

The current system of making new coffee every 30 minutes includes about a minute of downtime when some customers have had to wait for a fresh pot. The new system, which includes grinding coffee beans before every brew, will be rolled out nationally next month, Gould said.

Starbucks is emphasizing coffee quality as McDonald’s Corp. and other rival chains offer coffee-based drinks at lower prices.

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