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April 10, 2008

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zoom

I remember working when Milder Dimensions came out, (Seranade Blend, Breakfast blend and Lightnote Blend) and back then everyone was running around saying the same exact thing that many are saying now about Pike Place roast. In fact, we use to joke by calling it Breakfast Bland...lol.

Sumatra it ain't thats for sure. While Pike Place was created to reach a broader span of customers, let's not forget that this was as much about managing costs as introducing a new coffee into the line-up.

Think about it.....how much money is being saved from purchasing, delivery, and roasting the other coffees that was previously used for our COW? One question I posed to my RVP at our little brew meeting was what impact will this move have on the coffee farmers, which I never got the answer since I am no longer a partner.

I know that when I do return as a customer, the morning pick will be my choice...

Sta

I'm with Zoom...

I'll be picking my coffee... even if it is during rush morning, I'll be requesting a French Press of something a little more bold.

I wonder if SBUX is okay with taking labor to make one-off cups of coffee via French Press? I wonder how baristas who actually have to do the work feel about this...

Frazzled Barista... I applaud you too.. however I think we're also supposed to do 5 cartwheels in between brewing each coffee and maybe shine their shoes and then MAYBE people would be happy. :)

LilBarista

In regards to the french press for bold coffee..

Remember that most stores will be getting the new Clover which is faster and an even superior french press machine. So for many that want bold in the afternoon, this machine will give alot more options and without the long wait. Maybe Starbucks already figured this into the equation for stopping bold at 12.

And also, why are there so many haters trying to bring a good cup of coffee down?? No matter what Starbucks does, it's not enough, it's wrong, it sucks... it's enough to make a grown barista cry sometimes! Seriously... I love Pike Place. I think it was a good move, alot smooother and without the bite of the other coffees and alot of our regulars like it, even some "boldies". I think we're on the right track... Howard is a genious!


In regards to the french press for bold coffee..

Remember that most stores will be getting the new Clover which is faster and an even superior french press machine. So for many that want bold in the afternoon, this machine will give alot more options and without the long wait. Maybe Starbucks already figured this into the equation for stopping bold at 12.

Are they going to give me a cup of pressed (Clover) coffee for the price of a regular?

Probably not. This just makes the true Starbucks customers out there even more ripped off.

Go Starbucks. Trying to milk every cent out of dedicated customers.

When I go in and there's no bold, and they recommend a Clover, I'll say yes as long as I get it a drip price. It's only fair.

maggiemunkee

melody, all info regarding the ppr says not to do it in a french press. it's roasted specifically for drip coffee makers. of course i want to do a press of it just to see what it's like. ^_^

Anon

Been a partner for two and half years at my store.

I've dealt with alllll the crap and changes in that time.

But I'm finally becoming apathetic to it all, and if that damn timer beeps and I'm busy, guess what's going to wait: the timer.

I rush around enough as it is, being one of the few people who gives a damn.

So, normally I say, two wrongs don't make a right. Well if everyone else doesn't have to care, and I'm still a barista after being screwed over a lot, haha forget that.

And it just works out well, because if more people are complaining when I'm on bar, it's just more times I press decaf instead of regular *evil grin*

Javaccino

Starbucks fans, please give PPR a chance. So what if they didn't roast the hell of it like Estima. I have several favorites and they run the Gamut from Columbia Narino Supremo to Arabian Mocha Sanani.

Now, personally, I think we have the timing all bass ackwards when it comes to the bolds. I'd prefer something bright and friendly in the morning and at noon, but not too light) and something with lots of complexity and depth at night or late afternoon, but that's just me.

Still, PPR is not breakfast blend, it's a good anytime coffee with a lot of the Latin American characteristics I like, smooth, nutty, but with a subtle sparkle on the tongue, and probably best enjoyed black in a real coffee cup.

This is just my opinion, of course.

Confused by PPR

OK baristas, help me out here. Is there a temperature control on the drip coffee machines? If there is less coffee in the urn (e.g., only making 1/2 or 1/4 batches) then is it possible that the coffee breaks down faster than when a full batch is made? I am finding that there is great variability in the PPR such that in the evening it tastes much more bitter/burnt than in the morning. I find that it tastes best immediately after it has been brewed, but I have only noticed that I get "just brewed" in the morning. I am wondering if making 1/2 batches means that the coffee would taste different after 20 mins than 20mins after a full batch.

sbuxnewbie

Pike Place Roast is incredible in a french press.

I don't even use a drip coffee maker at home anymore. (well, okay I do have one, but it is covered with dust, in the garage, and hasn't been used in over 10 years...)

I just grabbed a pound as my partner markout this week, and it is fine!

Next week, I'm going to try the organic Sumatra-Peru.

With several hundred to 1000+ customers every day per store, Starbucks can't please everyone!

When we only brewed the mild until noon, lots of people would still request a mild in the afternoon. Now it's simply reversed.

Everyone needs to realize that taste is a personal preference, and not universal!

hateful.

Hey anon...life's not fair.

No one says you are "entitled' to any coffee other than what is brewed. You want a clover cup when they come, you pay the clover price.

When mcdonalds doesn't have the mcrib do you demand they make you actual ribs but only charge you for a cheeseburger?

Life is not fair, get used to it and get bent.

No one says you are "entitled' to any coffee other than what is brewed. You want a clover cup when they come, you pay the clover price.

When mcdonalds doesn't have the mcrib do you demand they make you actual ribs but only charge you for a cheeseburger?

Damn right Hateful, yet he has the NERVE to call us ENTITLED! Go figure...

I would like to point out that, unlike McDonalds, Starbucks has entitled me to ask for and get exactly what I want each and every time I step into a store.

Just Say Yes.

I can ask you to scoop, grind and french press any coffee you have in stock.

And, then, if I complain enough, I can get that coffee at regular price versus french press price.

That goes for the Clover coffee, too... Starbucks pretty much bends over every time a customer makes a request. I bet I could go in there and get a cup of coffee for free if I complained enough.

My point is that I, as the customer, and the entitled to whatever I want. You, as the help, are not entitled to anything BUT to serve my entitlement.

This is easy. Why can't you understand that?

z

as vile as that poster's attitude is, they are right. starbucks has created this monster of the entitled customer who gets whatever ridiculous thing they want and pays (or not pays) what they feel like for it.

oh can you just add some vanilla in? oh can I just get the rest of the press?

seriously. starbucks created this monster, and now starbucks must just say yes. with a smile.

Javaccino

Re: 1/2 and 1/4 batches

Good question, I have no idea if the ideal hold time changes, kind of makes some sense to me though. 30 minutes was a good move though, I mean the hot plate on my coffee maker shuts off in 30 minutes, what took us so long.

On PPR launch day, I tried to make a 1/4 batch. The wet coffee filter collapsed and the grounds went into the urn. This makes me think that we need a certain amount of coffee inside the filter to keep the walls from collapsing. I'm afraid to try 1/4 batches again.

Javaccino

"Pike Place Roast is incredible in a french press.

I don't even use a drip coffee maker at home anymore. (well, okay I do have one, but it is covered with dust, in the garage, and hasn't been used in over 10 years...)"

Great for you! I try to do at least one French press of my markout every week, (helps if you are trying to work on your passport), but I'm simply too lazy and don't feel like making a big deal out of coffee on my day off.

StLouieDrip

Hateful:
"When mcdonalds doesn't have the mcrib do you demand they make you actual ribs but only charge you for a cheeseburger?"

I doubt you're interested in a response, but I feel like writing one anyway, because I do get what anon is saying, and I think it's a valid point. It's really more like mcd created and built its whole empire on the big mac as its main focus, then came up with another sandwich (for all the people who never liked big macs), then moved the big mac to the fringes and said, "Oh you can still get the big mac, but you have to pay more, and wait longer." It's just bad business, especially when you consider that the founders of sbux were originally inspired by Alfred Peet, the grandfather of the 2nd wave, the one who first brought the well-crafted dark-roasted coffees to America.

I totally agree that Sbux can't please everybody, so they should stop trying, and just stick to a few core things, and focus on doing them better than anybody else. But right now they're trying to be the jack of all trades, the master of none. And the focus is on the dollar (not the quality), while they continue to open up hundreds of new stores every year, while not adequately training employees at the ones they already have, while pretending to make the company better when they're really just making it worse. It also doesn't help that they have their baristas jumping through hoops trying to do what can't reasonably be done.

I won't be drinking PPR, and I resent being asked to pay more in order to get the same coffee, so I will do with sbux exactly what I do with other businesses that don't have what I want, just go somewhere else. Or I'll make my coffee at home, and carry a thermos, (just like the old days, eh?) But I wonder if luring the "lighter" customers with PPR will financially make up for the ones who lose interest and leave?

hateful.

Yeah see...we have the ability to make judgement calls. Just say yes to a point. If you are being arrogant, abusive, demanding or unreasonable (and I cannot imagine YOU behaving this way at all)...not is it just in my power to say "no", I can ask you to leave. Go ahead and call whoever...you might get a sbux card or a service recovery coupon...but my sm and dm will have my back.

My point is that I, as the customer, and the entitled to whatever I want. You, as the help, are not entitled to anything BUT to serve my entitlement.


Do your fingers ever tire from typing the same thing every post? You're getting old, and stale and soon enough you will be gone.

Confused by Pike Place Roast

java, that is interesting regarding the filter collapsing. I am a customer, so I don't have intimate knowledge of the equipment or the amounts, etc. However, it was just odd (or perhaps my palate) that morning coffee tasted SO different than evening coffee. The evening Pike tasted more bitter/burnt than the morning coffee. One night the evening coffee had a "silt" consistency (not to be confused with grounds in the cup).

In addition, when I KNEW (perhaps a placebo effect) that the coffee was just made, because the barista was waiting for it to be finished before pouring a cup, it has not tasted bad. I realize that the coffee does break down over time, but the variability has surprised me. I just want to know how PPR is supposed to taste. I can't figure out if I have had the intended taste. I think the 1/2 or 1/4 batch makes a difference, but that is just my suspicion... that they make smaller batches at night to reduce waste and that either leads to variability in the initial taste of the coffee or that perhaps less coffee means that it "cooks" more quickly.

StLouieDrip

^ Could it also be that the urns are clean in the morning, but by evening have acquired all the residue of 2-3 dozen previous batches? If so, all that residue just sits there are cooks all day, right? And I really don't know either, but just thought that could be another possible explanation.

NO LONGER BELIEVE IN SBUX

I find it simply hilarious that last year when we sold Pike Place whole beans in the stores we couldn't give the crap away...now it is supposed to turn the company around? Our customers HATED it...Who researched this before they implemented it anyway?????????

^ PPB and PPR are DIFFERENT COFFEES!
But I still think PPR is terrible.

Legendary or Bust

So, a scenario:


It is 2 pm

CUSTOMER: Hello, I would like a Grande french pressed Sumatra in a to-go cup and that would be all today.

STARBUCKS PARTNER AT REGISTER: Great, your total is 2.02 (price of a regular grande coffee). Your coffee will be at the handoff in about 5 min. (4 min. to brew plus 1 min. to grind, pour, etc.)

Next, the partner goes in the back, grabs a pound of a packaged Sumatra, goes to the grinder, sets the grinder to French Press, opens the package, pours whole beans on the scale to measure .12 oz for a French press, then scoops these beans, places them in the in the grinder, then grabs a clean French press, pours some hot water in it, swirls it around, dumps hot water, puts freshly ground coffee into French press, stirs with a stir sticks, sets the timer for 4 min, and does other work (This all should have taken about 45 sec.) Next, when the timer goes off, you plunge, pour a grande cup-worth into a to-go grande cup, present to customer with a thank-you and eye contact. The whole operation would take a maximum of 5.5 min.

Which part of this process is incorrect?

Legendary or Bust

Sorry, I should have checked what I wrote. Of course the swirling of hot water in the French press is just to pre-warm it. After you place the ground coffee in it, of course you pour the hot water in it to the line (depends on which French press you use).

Also, at the register, the customer should be asked if he/she needs room in the cup for condiments.

You DO NOT charge the customer for the whole French press if they only want ONE grande cup. You sample the remainder of the French press to other customers at the counter or to partners in the store.

StLouieDrip

"You DO NOT charge the customer for the whole French press if they only want ONE grande cup."

It's too bad that so many partners don't know about that. And to make it worse, sometimes I only want a *TALL*.

Hello! I knew this even before Pike Place came out! Gotta get down and appeal to all the classes of people because the economy is low down so get down with the PIKE!!!!! Here's a suggeston: A .99cent coffee!!! HA!

Here's my opinion...

I've been a SM for 5 years, and here's what I've noticed. Most customers don't really like our coffees. I say this based on the amount of sugar and half and half they use in their coffees. I leave about an inch of room in the cup when they say they want room, they then go to the condiment bar and pour out another inch or so and then load up on cream and sugar. People only like the idea of liking "bold" coffees. The majority really doesn't.

Another thing I've noticed is that SBUX is ignoring the one thing that people REALLY want....faster service. They need to allow us more labor during peak periods so we can have more registers open to serve people more quickly, more baristas making beverages, and someone designated to clean the store so we can actually focus on serving the customer. In my humble opinion, that would make more people happy. We could then focus on creating the "Third Place" environment, steaming the perfect milk and foam, brewing coffee every 30 minutes, offering/heating/sampling breakfast sandwiches...everything they expect us to do with bare bones labor allowances.

sbuxnewbie

Interesting comments about the smaller batches "being burned".

The urns are simply thermal urns with a blanket of insulation. The power goes to the timing circuit board. To the best of my knowledge, the urns aren't heated at all.

And we've been doing 1/4 batches of mild and decaf since we opened - we have an occasional filter collapse, but when you take the time to put it in, crimp the edge of the filter over that little triangular projection in the filter basket, and make sure that the filter is in the basket evenly (I know, it is tough to do during morning rush when we're going through coffee like Grant through Richmond), then the fold overs almost never happen.

spence

Uncle Howie, What were you thinking? I can live with the Pike Place. It's probably the best mild coffee I've ever had. The problem is that I don't like mild coffee. I want BOLD. In the afternoon. In the evening.

Canton GA

Ahhhhhhhhhh. As a partner, I understand we need to serve fresh coffee every 30 minutes, make perfect beverages, be happy, give great service and be knowledgeable. Well, since that's what I signed up for, I have no complaints. I always love being at Starbucks. (even when my feet hurt.)

rmottl

Are styrofoam cups next? You are "joining the pack" with your competitors! Advertising fresh coffee brewed every 30 minutes? IT IS A COFFEE SHOP NOT A CONVENIENCE STORE!!! Fresh coffee is the expectation! Don't stoop so low as to join the pack of McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts which have to advertise they have fresh coffee.

Also Pike Place is horrible. On top of that, you eliminate the bold option after 12:00? Yes, you'll brew me a "fresh pot" if I request it, but now I have to wait 5 minutes for a cup of bold coffee? You are a coffee shop! Bold should be available all the time! Bold is something your competitors don't offer? If you are trying to differentiate yourself, you are going in the wrong direction.

Free up-grades? What? Should we just say Super Size Me next? To "McDonalds like".

Come on, be different, not the same! I love, love, love this company, but I now have a bad taste in my mouth.

Focus Howie, Focus!

Sherry Mays-Gripp

Well, I was given my dose of the Pikes place. I was very disappointed. It is both bitter and flat. This is the very reason why I go to Starbucks and avoid places like Dunkin Donuts. Plus- it was no cheaper so I guess they are making a higher profit margin. Starbucks- go back to the old way- a mild and a bold.

Does ANYBODY know what could possibly be the business stradegy behind Starbucks not offering "bold" coffee after noon time. If you read through Starbucks "my idea" and this blog there is a strong distain for this decision. I just don't understand why a "coffee house" would only offer one coffee after a certain time of the day. (and a horrible coffee at that) Does anybody think this was a big "business" mistake and if so, do you think Starbucks would admit it?

I think they're over-reacting to the complaints about the smoky, burnt flavor. That's what made Starbuck's famous. There's probably 3 times as many Starbuck's as Dunkin' Donuts. No need to change the product! The bold coffees are wonderful. The problem is growing too fast. You can't open 6 stores per day and keep the same culture. It's just not possible!

Disappointed in Philly

Pike Place Roast is LOUSY, bland, and tastes a lot like Dunkin Donuts at twice the price. And to make things worse, they dont brew bold after noon. Great. Lousy super-overpriced coffee all day long. So, I marched over to Cosi, which had Tanzanian peaberry as their "specialty" coffee ALL DAY LONG along with their house blend, put $20 on a Cosi card, and gave up on Starbucks after noon. Period. We know how to tell a business we don not want their wares - we do not buy them. I have been a loyal buckie for years but they just lost a hunk of my business. For all of you fed up folks - www.getcosi.com - activate your new cards and move on. Good luck, Starbucks. Greed drove you to overexpand, overmerchandise and overcharge. Welcome to marketing 101, you need a refresher course.

Yemen2651

Even though I've never been crazy about Starbucks®, I am a little saddened to see the company self-destruct under Howard's return. Pike Place is just one more misguided attempt to increase sales, and garner new customers. Pike Place should have been a unique blend, maybe Ethiopian Sidamo, Sumatra Mandheling, with some Fancy Santos...The current problem with Starbucks® is that they don't have a true coffee man at the helm. Howard is nothing more than a modern day P.T. Barnum.

Charlie

I have searched online where to post my feedback on this new Pike Place brew. I couldn't agree with the Time magazine article more ... I love regular Starbucks coffee and I hate the new Pike Place! It is worse than McDonald's coffee .. good news is my dad actually would drink that brown water they call coffee.

And what is up with the whole advertising campaign? I can tell you that whoever is in charge of that will be out of the job soon enough. The return to the roots by serving weak coffee that is apparently fresher than the old stuff is just plain stupid. And what is up with the old school brown logo? Starbucks has outstanding brand appeal with the green label cups, why screw with that? Maybe Nike should change from the swoosh to a thumbs up ...

I disliked the Pike Place enough last weekend to have some French Press made of a different blend so I can have a normal start to my day ... hopefully the madness will cease soon.

- Concerned Starbucks Patron

Chris Goette

I have been drinking the "bold" every day for 9 years - imagine my surprise when I was told that the price was gonna be 4 bucks for a Vente cause they have to press it special for me - I don't care for the pike place - its way to bland for me - how does a company decide to alienate loyal daily customers like that - between my wife and I - the local starbucks is going to lose 35 bucks a week just from us. I can only compare this to the new coke debacle years ago -

Javaccino

"I've been a SM for 5 years, and here's what I've noticed. Most customers don't really like our coffees. I say this based on the amount of sugar and half and half they use in their coffees...they then go to the condiment bar and pour out another inch or so and then load up on cream and sugar. People only like the idea of liking "bold" coffees. The majority really doesn't."

I'm sure there are true dark roast lovers on this board, but, I agree with this statement because of the amount of wasted coffee that is always in the bottom of the trash can liner. Conversely, I immagine, the lighter the coffee, the the less milk and sugar it will take before not tasting like coffee anymore. PPR tastes terrific black.

"Another thing I've noticed is that SBUX is ignoring the one thing that people REALLY want....faster service. They need to allow us more labor during peak periods so we can have more registers open to serve people more quickly, more baristas making beverages, and someone designated to clean the store so we can actually focus on serving the customer. In my humble opinion, that would make more people happy. We could then focus on creating the "Third Place" environment, steaming the perfect milk and foam, brewing coffee every 30 minutes, offering/heating/sampling breakfast sandwiches...everything they expect us to do with bare bones labor allowances."

Thank you for saying this, and, yes I know that you are not responsible for the amount of labor hours you are given to work with.

bob

Love your coffee. I do think many business are really having a tough time. Maybe in the end this will all be for the best.
Bob

Anitamichichi

I actually like the new Pike Place Roast, and I've NEVER had their coffee because people usually tell me it's bad, and I'm more of a latte girl. But let me tell you I really like this new coffee, it has a bold flavor to it, it gets me up in the morning. AND I can order a Venti and it's still under $2.00. It's all I've been having lately, I haven't ordered anymore lattes...

connie

the real problem is that the pike place is the ONLY roast now available. Considering the millions of options at a Starbucks, its startling that there are only 2 options for actual coffee: regular & decaf

...do they still have the fair trade stuff that they will brew for you?

I'm a coffee lover. Have been hooked on Starbucks for years.

However, I just walked out of my local Starbucks. Walked up, asked for a grande brewed coffee, was told it was 3 minutes to wait for next pot to brew. As I was standing there, it suddenly hit me that while I might wait around for a nice, bold cup of coffee, waiting 3 minutes for a rather bland cup of $2 coffee wasn't worth it.

I just don't see why a coffee company can't execute having a bold cup of coffee ready when I want it, all the time. Why can't I go in, get a cup, and swipe a card to pay?

Melody

Anon, I think a lot of people are thinking like you. Starbucks seems to be selectively ignoring the many many posts to mystarbucksidea.com which are specifically about wanting more coffee choices, and a bold coffee all day.

What happened???? It seems Starbucks is out of the coffee business and is selling hot water! Unless a bold brew is offered all day I'm finding another coffee house.

Hi. I'm back. I'm the anon. poster from April 19 1:00 p.m. It just happened to me again; stopped at my neighborhood SBUX store and they asked me to wait 4 minutes for a cup of coffee. I told them I wouldn't wait; they said this is happening more frequently since they switched to 30 minute wait time. They were nice enough to offer me a free company when I complained, but it isn't the store associates' fault.

It seems to me that corporate management rolled this out without providing tools to help the store level associates forecast demand properly or to have dual pots going or some other mechanism to make sure that they always have coffee waiting.

In retail management it's always the job of corporate to solve complexity issues at the HQ level not at the store level; SBUX should understand this.

Coffee Man

I pretended to be in the Starbuck's boardroom today when I was at Starbuck's. The free refill makes sense from SBUX's point of view because they are brewing only one type of coffee after 12 Noon. Everyone admits they throw away a lot of coffee, so by limiting it to one regular and one decaf, the waste should go way down. Hence, the free refills for active Starbuck's and Duetto cards!

StLouieDrip

Melody:
"Anon, I think a lot of people are thinking like you. Starbucks seems to be selectively ignoring the many many posts to mystarbucksidea.com which are specifically about wanting more coffee choices, and a bold coffee all day."

This is exactly what I expected ever since the roll-out. That's because the logic of putting PPR front and center obviously marginalizes the long-time "bold" customers. And I just assumed those who made that decision did it intentionally and with full awareness of it. It seems really very calculated. That's also why I'm not writing/asking/whining to sbux to make a bold more available. I know they did what they did deliberately, because that's exactly what they wanted to do, to shift the company in a new direction. The real irony is for them to say they're getting back to the core, to coffee, when they're obviously going in the opposite direction. Getting back to the core is the "spin," but it's so far-fetched that it's almost insulting to ask us to believe it's the truth.

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