There's nothing morally wrong with Alterra tweeting from abroad, but there's an argument to be made that it goes against the spirit of social media. Surely, those who appreciate the hipster ethos of specialty coffee and tweeting want to believe that it's something more than a cheap veneer on good ol' fashioned Wal-Mart style wealth transfer. Even more surely, we want to believe that such interactions aren't just another corporate function to be offshored.
It seems odd that Alterra would think people who enjoy the distinction between pourover and conventional drip-brewed coffee wouldn't mind Twitter as Paul Harvey 2.0--a bland little diversion with lots of commercials. I don't expect some emo barista to be tweeting Ani DeFranco lyrics, but I would expect Alterra's Internet presence to provide immediately visible information about the changing daily offering of food and drink served in the cafes, for instance.
I won't hear of any talk about how Alterra is more righteous than Starbucks. Starbucks, for one, has a business plan that will likely sustain it beyond the end of Baby Boomer spending; they seem to be (shrewdly) positioning themselves as a female fast food alternative. They evidently invest in the R&D, as it were, that will give them a product every few years to tickle that demographic's fancy. The current one is a non-alcoholic mojito. Brilliant--and tasty! The wealth customers transfer to Starbucks goes to Howard Schultz, for sure, but also is used to build a business strategy that will provide jobs long into the future.
The U.S. specialty coffee industry displays astounding stamina. Hell, it is the *coffee* industry, after all. Seriously, I'd love to see a European-style cafe open up here, something like Julius Meinl. But I drank enough overpriced, overextracted cups of truly unremarkable coffee in Europe to know that the core product is sound and sure to experience continued growth.