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A reluctant admission, I don't hate Starbucks by Lou Pescarmona
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BandiaRua
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Posted Mon Aug 15, 2005, 6:35pm
Subject: Re: A reluctant admission, I don't hate Starbucks by Lou Pescarmona
 

You know, That article really describes how I feel about Starbucks, even down to the mention of the particular starbucks in Gastown Vancouver B.C.   (many fond memories there:)  

Ive been working as a Barista for the most part (short stints in the hotel reception arena as well) since I was 14.  Most of my teen years were spent in any kind of coffeehouse I could find up and down the west coast of the states.  :)

At about 18 I got a job with Starbucks and thought that was the loftiest thng I could ever do in the realm of coffee.  I became so quickly disillusioned working behind the scenes I nearly wanted to cry.  At the time it was I would say fairly decent, my training was 2 weeks of 'classroom' huge binder filled with all kinds of different coffee and espresso information, coffee tastngs, learning about the differences between indonesian and south american coffees etc etc yada yada, it felt all very 'proper' I suppose.  And this was BEFORE ever even getting to set foot behind an espresso machine.) Training when I went through it was very very exacting and to the point and comprehensive for their way of doing things.  You really felt like you had accomplished something when finished.

During this training was also the proud declaration that starbucks employees were called 'partners' and all that jazz, and the whole "starbucks hires from within' which would have been fine if it had been left at that, BUT, they continued with the "why" they hire from within...something to do with managers being able to understand the roll of the Barista better, etc etc.  

Within 4 months of working there, our manager was transferred to a different store and they brought in someone who had been a manager (nice enough guy dont get me wrong) of some department store, and had......ZILCH coffee experience.  Things got pretty desperate from there for that store.  

Years later after working there I would find myself in a starbucks overhearing two baristas talking about when one of them was going to get there classroom training.  The one talked about how it had been 6 months and since she started and she hadnt even gotten her 'binder'.  

I also started to think about how when I worked at starbucks there was mention in one of our partner meetings of how fast starbucks was expanding and the talk of starbucks in grocery stores and these special little bottled coffee drinks that were going to be coming out soon(I assume those are the bottled frappucinos that are everywhere these days).  Someone mentioned, 'I just hope starbucks doesnt expand so fast that they lose sight of the quality...'  unfortunately that seems to have happened.

Oh and final rant I should say.   I now live in the Southern United States....quite a shock to the system after living in California and Wa my whole life then to Ireland for a couple of years...anyways... The first thing I noticed about starbucks when I came back to the states, was that they had 'hidden' there 8 ounce cups.  There was no mention of 'short' size on the menu ....at all....  now there was tall grande and venti available.  My first thought was....Nahhh this cant be happening....so then I hesitantly ordered a "Double Short Cappucino" my usual starbucks order, and the woman brought out a short cup from somewhere in the nether regions of the counter and seriously cautioned me that a 'short' was ONLY eight ounces so putting a double shot of espresso in that cup was going to make the drink really strong.... I wanted to die.    I politely told her that Id been ordering that same drink for years (since I was 16 truth be told) and I knew what I was doing.  ARGH!  Someone please tell me this has not happened in California and Washington state, or else where in the world for that matter.


All that said and done... like some otheres here have aluded to, Thank god there is a starbucks nearly everywhere, at least in the states..... I would still rather have to explain to a poorly trained barista how to make a drink in a short cup, than have to hold my nose and gulp down something from a convenience store.
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starbuckskid
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Joined: 13 Feb 2006
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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2006, 3:31am
Subject: Re: I don't hate Starbucks
 

I would like to take the time to let some of our I HATE STARBUCKS posts and posters know a few things about the company that I work for and work to make enjoyable for customers, co-workers (partners), and myself.  First and Foremost starbucks does not purchase nearly as much coffee as other companys in fact people who drink grocery shelf brands should think about how much those companys pay for their beans. Starbucks on average pays almost seventy-four percent more than the market value for all their beans. And said posters im sure have been to a coffee growing commuinity and seen the so called slave labour conditions starbucks is said to have employed there... No they have not they prefer to speculate of how a major corporation treats its foreign workers. Yet starbucks has made the 100 most ethical corporations four years in a row now. And they are also one of the 100 best places to work according to forbes. Not only does the company offer near fair trade on all their coffees they also offer enviromentally friendy coffees as well, and give bonuses to farmers who adhere to theri environmental mission statement.

Getting into product quality
The Beans Are Not Over Roasted.... I repeat the Beans are not over roasted

There are very few cups of coffe in the starbucks line as of 2006 that i do not personally enjoy one of my particular favorites is Sumatra.  The beans are not all roasted to the same level breakfast blend is not nearly roasted as long as French and etc.  You cannot compare the coffee roasted at starbucks to that of nabob or other shelf brands. French to me is a little to intense but it is still one of our most popular Roasts. You want an eye opening experience on roasting methods compare a starbucks coffe in a french press to any self brand coffee in a press the result will be a tasting that most new partners have to endure.

Onto espresso shot beverage quality. In recent years starbucks has veered away from the tap brewing machine in favour of a new automated machine the result is such the shots are not as tasty as they used to be but the constistency of said shots is 100% better so your latte tastes the same no matter what day you have it.

The yuppie image of starbucks is a hard one to break but believe me we are not trying to project this image, what we are tyring to to do is provide a comfortable environment in which people can enjoy each other (playing board games, cards, talking, relaxing, studyingor etc) and themselves (reading a book, enjoying music) We are sometimes called pretentious for how we name our drinks and sizes but truth be told lots of our drinks we didn't name.. ie latte,  and grande vernti well i'll leave that to you to find out.

As for employees I am amazed to find out how much starbucks does to train new employees as compared to other companys in this field. And benefits are great as well not many jobs like this give health care or dental. and those people who think starbucks try to jerk people around and give them 19.75 hour a week 15 mins short of 20 the required number of hours to qualify for medical i have seen people work upwards of 35 hours in a fully staffed store so once again people are throwing speculation out there to get people on their side.

In closing I'd like to thank people forreading this and hope that you try to remain civil in your response to this post as I have tried to be.
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dankbean
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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2006, 11:36am
Subject: Re: I don't hate Starbucks
 

*$$$kid,


you were civilized: so i'll try to reciprocate.

please don't assume that other roasters HAVEN'T gone to origin.  many of us do.  every year.  so yes, we're aware of the conditions of the workers who pick and process the coffee.  just....please don't assume.

while i'm sure starbucks is a "fun" place to work, and you are paid fairly, the coffee is still *bleck*.  over roasted, yes.  i'm sure that in your training as a starbucks employee, you were NOT brought to a starbucks roaster and showed how the beans were roasted.  some of us, on the other hand, can walk down the hall of our office and literally scoop up a handful of beans that have just come out of a drum roaster.  

i respect the fact that starbucks sells a lot of Fair Trade coffees.  good for them: good for the farmers.  cheers to that.


starbuckskid Said:

Onto espresso shot beverage quality. In recent years starbucks has veered away from the tap brewing machine in favour of a new automated machine the result is such the shots are not as tasty as they used to be but the constistency of said shots is 100% better so your latte tastes the same no matter what day you have it.

Posted February 13, 2006 link

I'm pretty sure "consistently mediocre" is not something you wanna brag about.  


starbuckskid Said:

The yuppie image of starbucks is a hard one to break but believe me we are not trying to project this image, what we are tyring to to do is provide a comfortable environment in which people can enjoy each other (playing board games, cards, talking, relaxing, studyingor etc) and themselves (reading a book, enjoying music)

Posted February 13, 2006 link

I like how you don't mention coffee in that particular statement.  You sell experience.  That may be more truthful than even YOU intended.

Your coffee is over roasted.  I repeat: your coffee is over roasted.

In closing, if you just want to CUT and PASTE the New Hire Employee Handbook as a defense, just post a link. it's quicker than typing it out like you just did.

dankbean.
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Oaklandguy
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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2006, 2:21pm
Subject: Re: I don't hate Starbucks
 

starbuckskid Said:

I would like to take the time to let some of our I HATE STARBUCKS posts and posters know a few things about the company that I work for and work to make enjoyable for customers, co-workers (partners), and myself.

Posted February 13, 2006 link

Thank you for joining CG and for your response.  But, looking over posts here, a lot of folks admit to not hating your employer.  In fact, your employer introduced me to better coffee (from Maxwell House to *$s) and, when in serious need, they're still my go to place for a latte.  In my coffee journey, they were another stop along the way.

starbuckskid Said:

Getting into product quality
The Beans Are Not Over Roasted.... I repeat the Beans are not over roasted

Posted February 13, 2006 link

Depends.  For folks who enjoy a roast profile in their coffee, your beans may not be over-roasted.  I prefer getting to know the origin profile, which most of the time is a lighter roast than is found at your employer.  But then homeroasting gives me a chance to learn about individual greens and an opportunity to bring out the best in them (to my taste) each time I roast.  Taste is also a matter of personal preference.

starbuckskid Said:

As for employees I am amazed to find out how much starbucks does to train new employees as compared to other companys in this field.

Posted February 13, 2006 link

This is definitely a positive.  As a consumer, I'd like to see the baristas have more knowledge about the beans (where they're from, roast level, what's in the blend).  This is a weakness at most chain cafes though.

starbuckskid Said:

In closing I'd like to thank people forreading this and hope that you try to remain civil in your response to this post as I have tried to be.

Posted February 13, 2006 link

Nice ending.  It's good to hear your perspective and hope you'll post more.

 
Brent
Roasting in an SC/TO and iRoast 2
Europiccola/Drip/Presspot
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HitTheTrail
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Posted Tue May 2, 2006, 7:27pm
Subject: Re: I don't hate Starbucks
 

I really don't appreciate the way young baristas were portrayed in this article.  I've been serving coffee since I was 16 years old (I'm 22 now) and, believe it or not, some people, no matter their age, can separate their personal lives from their careers.  I admit, at 5:30 am, it is not always easy to be the most cheerful person in the room.  I'm more prone to spilling things or messing up orders, but I pull myself together because it's my job.  I still serve accurate, quality drinks with a thorough knowledge of the equipment, regardless of boyfriends, girlfriends, zits, final exams, or whatever other young-people problem you may think we have.  It doesn't matter who we work for or what our age.  If we have a passion for coffee, we have a right to be here and a right to not feel offended by other users.  The site is called CoffeeGeek, not CoffeeSnob.
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namewithheldforsafety
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Posted Tue May 2, 2006, 8:07pm
Subject: Re: A reluctant admission, I don't hate Starbucks by Lou Pescarmona
 

I have been roasting beans for Starbucks for 9 years so I think I have a little more knowledge on this issues than ANYONE else in this whole ridiculous webpage.  My expertise in the industry goes back 30 years, and I am more than a little irritated at what I've read here.  This is a big bunch of bitter grapes and the lot of you wouldn't know a fine roast if it jumped up and bit you on the ass.  There is no company around that puts this much TLC into producing the perfect roast for each bean.  This isn't even debatable.  I would invite any one of you to go visit one of our roasting plants (a little difficult, but not impossible) and see how roasting should be done.  And if you call our House Blend burnt, you obviously don't know coffee from pepsi.
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ampyali
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Posted Tue May 2, 2006, 8:31pm
Subject: Re: A reluctant admission, I don't hate Starbucks by Lou Pescarmona
 

namewithheldforsafety Said:

 And if you call our House Blend burnt, you obviously don't know coffee from pepsi.

Posted May 2, 2006 link

Com'mon guys--this is like arguing about the best place to take a vacation.  Different strokes for different folks.  If you think the coffee at *$'s is overroasted, don't buy coffee there.  No one is forcing you to walk in those doors.  Personally, I used to think it was great until I started roasting my own.  But for plenty of people, it tastes just fine.   Unless we plan to turn the entire Starbuck's-loyal world into a bunch of coffee geeks (a challenge?), I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.  In the meantime, maybe you could work out an arrangement to send each other samples of roasts that you think are the best.  I bet "namewithheldforsafety" has never even tasted a home-roasted coffee!
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namewithheldforsafety
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Posted Tue May 2, 2006, 8:48pm
Subject: Re: A reluctant admission, I don't hate Starbucks by Lou Pescarmona
 

I bet "namewithheldforsafety" has never even tasted a home-roasted coffee!

I roasted my own coffee in my own shop for almost 17 years.  I have been to farms in Africa, South America, Indonesia and Vietnam.  I have been in the business more years than most of you have been alive.
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Reighlok
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Posted Tue May 2, 2006, 8:54pm
Subject: Re: A reluctant admission, I don't hate Starbucks by Lou Pescarmona
 

namewithheldforsafety Said:

I have been roasting beans for Starbucks for 9 years so I think I have a little more knowledge on this issues than ANYONE else in this whole ridiculous webpage.  My expertise in the industry goes back 30 years, and I am more than a little irritated at what I've read here.  This is a big bunch of bitter grapes and the lot of you wouldn't know a fine roast if it jumped up and bit you on the ass.  There is no company around that puts this much TLC into producing the perfect roast for each bean.  This isn't even debatable.  I would invite any one of you to go visit one of our roasting plants (a little difficult, but not impossible) and see how roasting should be done.  And if you call our House Blend burnt, you obviously don't know coffee from pepsi.

Posted May 2, 2006 link

namewithheldforsafety Said:

I roasted my own coffee in my own shop for almost 17 years.  I have been to farms in Africa, South America, Indonesia and Vietnam.  I have been in the business more years than most of you have been alive.

Posted May 2, 2006 link

I want to be the first to say that I don't believe you, or that you have managed to learn very little over a very long period of time.
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espressionist
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Posted Tue May 2, 2006, 9:12pm
Subject: Re: A reluctant admission, I don't hate Starbucks by Lou Pescarmona
 

namewithheldforsafety Said:

I have been in the business more years than most of you have been alive.

Posted May 2, 2006 link

As a troll??

Let's leave this one alone with his own imagination.

On a side note :

Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.

Is *$ somehow exempt from this ?

 
www.credocoffee.ca
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