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May 06, 2008


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We've Got the lemon packets at our store.... no one has asked for lemon. This guy was just out of story ideas.

Barista Joe

Agreed. imagine having lemony hands make a cappuccino... ew!

But fresh lemons would be nice. Maybe delivered pre-sliced?


What a joke! Really, who puts this much time and effort into something so trivial?


I don't necessarily consider that trivial. mystarbucksidea is for suggestions after all. And lemon, or even lemon juice packets, is a good idea for tea drinkers.


Starbucks should be like everyone else!!


Horace P. Hoochietatas

If McDonald's can do sliced lemons with iced tea, you would certainly think Starbucks could.


OMG! Now it's that Starbucks doesn't have any lemon? Give me a break and wake up and realize there is more important things to worry about than a slice of lemon. My goodness...


We can now order lemon juice packets.

I've always offered customers who wanted lemon a splash of lemonade and they thought it was great.



We have the lemon packets as well at our store (we're a sweet tea test market store) but no one ever asks for them. I'm glad, because my current drink obsession is a iced venti zen, no water, one pump classic with three lemon packets.


Also, a note to the benevolent dictator of said blog: When posting a comment, it requires an email address with the caveat "[n]ot displayed with comment." This is not actually true, because I can see other commenter's email addresses along with mine.



Can you tell us more about this "sweet tea" test. Is it just black tea with sugar packets? Or are you guys using a specific tea exclusive for your store?


This whole story (including some of the comments in this thread) just reeks of the snobbish entitlement which permeates this company. God forbid Starbucks should give the customer what they want especially when its something which goes naturally with the beverage itself. As for sourcing and cutting lemons, apparently Ms. Gass has never heard of a ten dollar item called a lemon cutter where you raise the blades, put the lemon in the middle and SLAM that sucker down...voila..instant lemon slices. And it's great therapy for frustrated partners who need to release pent up energy. Take THAT lemons...SLAM...SLAM....SLAM!!

Finally, how about that legendary service that the reporter received?

"how can you sell iced tea without lemon?

"i dont know..do you want your receipt?"

Yeah, that closed door training really did the trick.


Ew lemon. Unless it's lemon without fecal bacteria...



"God forbid Starbucks should give the customer what they want especially when its something which goes naturally with the beverage itself."
-are you kidding me? day in and day out we go above and beyond giving the customers what they want, infact hundreds of comments on this site have been about how that is how starbucks has gone wrong, giving every one and everyone what they want.
besides, we have gotten lemon for tea.

-second, In my 2 years at starbucks, I have had no more customers ask me for lemon for their tea than I have fingers on my hand. It's not excactly an indemand/vital item.

-third that conversation that is quoted in the article "how can you sell tea with out lemon? i dont know...do you want your reciept" can sound flat when on paper. I know I have had dozens of conversations with customers that when written out would look incomplete and 'unlegendary' but eye contact, smiles, a laugh here and there, and body language go along way! He didn't indicate the barista was rude. Just that they didn't have an answer.


Lemon in restaurants is really tricky. You ideally should scrub the lemon with a brush under water because of the pesticides and bacteria that could be on it. I don't fault Starbucks for this at all. They can't keep fresh pastries, how are they going to keep fresh fruit?

It takes so long to get drinks already!


We too are a sweet tea market. I freaking love it too. It's only in about 10 states right now but I hope that they expand it. The sweet tea is made with the black tea but before it is diluted with water we add an iced grande scoop full of sugar then we dilute it to 3.5 liters. Its made in the large graduated pitcher. I love it and we sell at least 4 batches of it a day.


What is a "sweet tea market" - I'm not sure how that is any different than any other Starbucks (Tazo) tea.

Frankly, I do have to wonder, if Starbucks can find a way to add bananas to their stores for smooth (coming soon, so we hear, and it's been tested) then maybe they could add lemon wedges. ?

One thing about this idea is that it would seem to dove-tail nicely with the "enchantment of full leaf teas" currently in the test phase at selected Starbucks locations. (Per Starbucks: "As you wathc the leaves and flowers unfurl and infuse, take a few moments to ponder the color your cup has become, the aroma it has released and the delightful musings it has inspired."
(Who write that stuff!? LOL. Love it).

Eric Prince

The article gets more and more ridiculous as you read it. It is as if he ran out of things to complain about the coffee and started riffing on the tea.

The name on the door is "Starbucks Coffee" They dropped the tea probably when they ran out of lemon!


Snobbish entitlement? Snobbish entitlement is being up-in-arms because you can't get a lemon with your precious cup of tea.

And as for the barita's answer to "How can you sell iced tea without lemon?"...How else is she supposed to answer such a ridiculous, rudely-phrased question? If Grandpa Munster wanted a reasonable response and not just to hear himself bitch, he could have been more polite instead of asking HOW CAN you... There's really no way to answer that.

seventysix [76]

I am also in a sweet tea test market - it is simply delicious, especially on warmer days. I will certainly enjoy it this summer.


Having read the article, I'd agree that it reaks of snobbery.



Thanks! I will try this in my store tomorrow. So its 1 liter of hot water to brew the black tea, then you add 1 scoop of sugar with the grande volumetric scoop, and then you add 3.5 liters of cold water to it?


He is saying Lemonade is Seasonal? Every Starbucks I have worked at or visited has lemonade year round.

Let's just add more complaints!

Goodly Rotten Apple




i think the barista's choice of words speaks volumes about their "legendary" service. And if that weren't enough, clearly the reporter didn't feel like like he got legendary service.

Grow Up

And maybe the reporter just wanted to rag on a company because he has a stick where the sun don't shine. I know thats immature to say that, but guess what: so is throwing a fit because you can't get a lemon.

Aaaaaaand on top of that, you wern't there to see the "bad" service. She could of said "I don't know" with an empathetic shrug, good eye contact, and meaningful inflection.

As for the choice of words, she (or he, really) probably said "I don't know" because (gasp) THEY DIDN'T KNOW. I really doubt starbucks has a section in their training on why they don't stock lemons in their brand new sweet tea. Corporations don't explain everything to their workers, especially if said things are financial dealings that don't involve them.

Go bitch about something worthwhile. As a former waitress for a restaurant where salads were a small, not often opted for, item and we only stocked two dressings; I got bitched at quite alot because we didn't have everything one certain customer desired. There are more important things.


Wow, a lemon cutter for 10 bucks? What a bargain! Where can you buy such a device for that cheap? Maybe you're referring to a Sunkist Slicer, which does just what you describe, but it retails for $195. Do you really know what you're talking about are you just being a troll?

Back to topic... we now have lemon juice packets. End of story.


I totally agree that lemon should be offered and it's something that I always hated about the black tea, it NEEDS lemon. But, I know why Starbucks doesn't offer it...if you ask for lemon they try to upsell you Black Tea Lemonade.


I'm not the original poster but here's a lemon slicer that retails for only $25: http://www.sportys.com/acb/showdetl.cfm?&DID=24&Product_ID=2031&CATID=9

So there's no need to throw names about SFBux. Especially when it took me all of 2 seconds on google to find out the original poster was more right than you are.

Tea Lover

Lemon Packets?????

What ever happened to exceeding expectations?

If a quality beverage cannot be served, take it off the menu.

That's like serving coffee mate packets instead of offering milk or half and half at the condiment bar.


Is it called Starbucks Coffee? Or Starbucks Coffee and Tea?

Coffee Soldier

You could also pair your black tea with a lemon loaf and you'll be just fine!!! Plus we make more money!!!



I know a lot more about what Im talking about than you do. As monkeyjoe points out retail lemon slicers can be found for close to the amount I quoted. And when you factor in volume discounts which Starbucks could most certainly negotiate, I bet the final cost would be right around 10-15 bucks per item.

As for how the barista could have handled the situation better, a little empathy would have likely worked wonders. As in, "you know I dont know why we don't have lemons available for iced tea but I'll be happy to pass your question on to my manager. I cant guarantee I'll get a good answer for you but, by gosh, I'll try".

You know...legendary service.

Finally, it definitely sounds like you could use a lemon slicer in your store...if for no other reason than to give you something to take your frustrations out on.


My understanding of why we couldn't serve slices of fresh lemon is that it would violate the license that we operate under. If the lemon was pre-sliced and individually wrapped, we probably could. I don't know if this is the case in every state, though.


Just apologize for not having lemon or lemon tea or lemon frappucinos and offer them something else. If a customer gets upset or unreasonable, that is out of the barista's control. Offer them some lemonade, or the very citrus-y wild sweet orange tea. Starbucks doesn't need to be perfect, but it helps to be considerate on both ends of the counter.


I think both parties on this subject are being just plan stupid.
It’s just a lemon, so, big deal. Exactly, it’s just a lemon, if you can't get it, don't be a baby about it, and it’s just a lemon Starbucks, go get some!
This BS about shipping, and cutting them, is just that, BS. There are a ton of chains out there that ship fresh fruit all over the country. It isn't rocket science.
I do think Starbucks should have them. A very high % of ice tea drinkers put lemon in their tea, like sugar in their coffee. For them to not have it at least available is just weird.

And to this columnist I would say, you know that you can’t get a lemon wedge with your ice tea, why the hell do you keep going in, asking for one, knowing they don’t have it, and getting mad when they tell you that you can’t? It’s like getting pissed going through a McDonalds drive thru once a week asking for hollandaise sauce for you burger, they don’t have it!


Which of these do not belong? "Going the extra mile", "legendary service", and "reconstituted mocha mix".

Not really surprising that hordes of sbux employees have no clue about 'sweet tea'. Yet they proclaim to be experts in the coffee and tea field.

Stocking real lemons are too much of a hassle? Good luck with the smoothies. They are going to make lemons look simple.


The smoothies are (and will be) only in the Southern California market.

Side note: can we please figure out when to write "its" and "it's?" Also, plurals such as "lemons" do not need to be written as "lemon's." Have many people forgotten elementary school English? Check your basic spelling, folks.


Off topic, but everyone will see it here this week rather than in last weekend's Open Thread:

Nice picture of Mastrena and short article about it:


The sweet tea is delicious with lemon... I took a glass home and added it myself. Lemonaide doesn't really do the trick, since the tea has enough sweetness already. (My store hasn't gotten the lemon packets you guys are talking about, but I hope we do...)

Anyway, the point of this reporter's article is to make Starbucks sound incompetent. Is it impossible he paraphrased his conversation with the barista to highlight that? Maybe the barista smiled and used a sympathetic tone, maybe she really was that blunt, we don't know. But I do think this guy's method of complaining was unproductive and quite rude.


I agree that Starbucks is primarily a coffee store, but to many iced tea drinkers (and hot), lemon is not a uncommon accessory - kind of like cream with coffee. If you're going to sell tea and promote it then you need to be prepared for tea drinkers - and trust me the little lemon packets are not the same thing.


What's the SKU for the lemon packets? None of us can seem to find it when looking on the portal.


I think most of you are missing the columnist's point: Here is a big company with a big campaign that basically says "Tell us what you think." But this same company doesn't seem to have a mechanism for -- and maybe no interest in -- really acting on anything the customer tells them. Judging from the comments on this blog about the availability of lemon packets in some stores, the corporate representative didn't know what she was talking about. And the top guy didn't have an answer, either. This isn't about whether some barista wants to cut lemons or not. This is about corporate image vs. corporate reality.


Well if it is so horrible that you can't have a slice of lemon with your tea, go to Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds; please. Don't bitch to everyone on the internet that Starbucks doesn't provide legendary service just because they can't explain why they don't have little slices of lemon that hardly anyone ever asks for.

Coffee Soldier

There was an action item about 3 weeks back stating lemon packets were now availible to order with the sku on it...I'm at home now so I don't have it but a quick search of lemon packet sku on the portal or going back through the archived action items and you should be able to find it.

a non

Barnes and Noble Cafe has lemon.

...just sayin'.

Maybe Starbucks needs to emulate B&N cafe for once.


It's obvious that this has become a wedge issue


I love having lemon's with my ice tea. Its the bomb. Starbuck's could make it's image better if they carried lemon's. Its the best thing they could due for there customer's.


If all of us spent less time reading through an entire thread regarding lemons at Starbucks, much less posting and debating these issues (I can hear it now: Oh No! This is important!!) then the world would be a better place.

Myself included.


starbucks cannot have fresh lemons in the store because we are licensed to SERVE food, not prepare it; cutting lemons is preparing them. this is why i cannot cut the brownie in half for lady and her kids who are already arguing over the brownie, but i can give her a plate and a knife and she can do it herself. so uh, yeah, no lemons.

author, if you really need lemon so bad, cut one at home and bring it with you in a baggie to the store. fresh lemon. heck, i'll even toss it in the cup with your tea right away for you if you'd like.

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