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December 21, 2008


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boston starbucks rebel have you ever seen the carb count on these, not for my diet ever. since we are talking about the new platform i heard we train in between customers for this one. i think the new POS rolls out in jan as well. i hope it all works. i have told anyone that orders anything green tea matcha related that melon is going away to try and avoid those "what do you mean you don't have melon?" i guess what concerns me is the fact that all the stuff we keep steaming together is residued on the interior of the wands no matter how often you flush. those holes in the tip are easily clogged by cocoa, protein, milk, etc. so training the new beverages are we supposed to put the dvd player on top of the bar and watch while preparing drinks? haven't seen it yet but i heard you have to have individual timers for each tea drink as it goes through to be made, please tell me that this is gossip because ten timers going off is quite enough. i just keep thinking===big ben, parilment.


Back when I was a barista (and this was like 06-early07) we had the black and red tea lattes in our district as a test. They didn't go over well in our store... The black one was awful and the red one was one of those drinks that you either loved or hated... I wonder how these will go over. They were a pain in the @ss to make too! *shakes head*

I'm so upset over this no more melon thing. I drink an Iced Venti 2-pump melon nonfat green tea latte every morning before work. And I love 2 pumps in my passion tea also! (hot or iced) I'm contemplating buying all the bottles I can find and getting the drink with no classic and adding it myself.


no worries...try the green tea latte with vanilla...its different but just as good :)

C to the B

"I am posting as anonymous because I choose to remain anonymous."

Please don't. It makes it very hard to follow a thread and to respond to posts appropriatlely.

Surely you can come up with something- initials, numbers... whatever but SIGN YOUR POSTS.


I'm seriously going to miss melon syrup... now I can't make a melon creme frappuccino or an orange mango banana lemon melon strawberry raspberry vivanno. :(



My SM told me about this as soon as she heard about it during the week in New Orleans, and i've been counting down the days til jan 3!!

Tons of regular tea drinkers in my store are excited for the new options :)


of course the proper training assumes, no sicknesses, or people calling out, having to call 12 stores to find coverage.

Yeah - no melon! Why put syrup in at all, unless you dislike the taste - the matcha mix is too sweet as is.


first valencia.. now melon. what is a GTL drinker to do?!


I love the melon syrup! I'm not a big fan of green tea lattes but an Iced Venti 3 pump Melon Green Tea Lemonade is so refreshing, probably my favorite iced drink. Actually, I want one right now. It would be nice to see valencia make a comeback though.

At my store we still have a rather large stockpile of Melon, so we'll probably still have it for a few more months.

I'm really liking the idea of the loose leaf teas. If you've ever compared tea made with loose leaves to those made with regular "shredded" tea bags, it's a HUGE improvement. I wonder how the bag will affect the flavor, but I guess I'll find out.

These are the things Starbucks needs to focus on - good coffee and tea. That's the core. Not that we should get rid of frappuccinos and whatnot - a little bit of frill is good, but there can be too much frill.


so does this mean then on jan 3rd the 'winter drinks' will be gone from the menu - the signature hot chocolates + the 3 or so winter lattes?

i liked all the winter lattes, but these new drinks im not excited for at all, partially because i have no idea ahead of time what they will taste like & i dunno what a 'london fog' tea latte means and i dunno what rooibus would possibly taste like.

the only time i had a green tea latte was when i just tried a sample and it seemed ok but not anywhere near as good as a cinnamon dolce iced latte or caramel or any of the winter lattes or various others they have now & have had before.

i think actually for this whole past year the only seasonal drinks i liked were the winter drinks. i didnt like at all their honey latte and i cant remember what they had before that. i wish they permanently had on the menu the banana coconut & the dolce de leche. that doesnt sound too difficult to make happen to me.


Good news. tea sales have been through the roof at my store.


when i heard of the tea drinks a while back my first impression was ok maybe..but then i saw them and thought....leave it to starbucks to take an actual healthy drink....TEA....and make it unhealthy with fat and sugar...WAY TO GO!!!


I love how Starbucks thinks it's soooo creative with London Fog. Ummm...sorry to disappoint you dears but I have been making London fogs for YEARS. It's a very popular drink in Canada.

And to take away my melon. *rubs cheek after feeling a massive b*tchslap* I really loathe you right now Ms. Sbux...LOATHE!!!!

I would implore all partners to continue adding at least a splash of water to the GTL. Tazo matcha is bloddy terrible without it.

My only issue with the "Tea Time" promotion is that we'll really be giving the wrong idea about tea. In sincerely doubt we'll talk at all about water temperature or steeping time. Right now we brew all of our teas like black tea - super hot water, leave the bag steeping for a long time. For green or herbal teas, a lower water temperature and steeping time bring out the best flavor. It's why I don't drink and Tazo tea that isn't Awake or Earl Grey. Shall I tack something on to the end of the tasting like, "Now, when you brew this at home, do this and this differently and it will taste better?"


regarding labor hours and such:
I agree that it does suck to be forced to drop down to two person opens/closes but here is how I look at it.

I have an expectation of how the store will look and feel after a close, or after an open. I hold every partner (supervisors especially) accountable to meet this expectation- my expectations do not drop. I tell them, "Guys, you can do this! We can all do this!" Providing your employees with positive motivation really does go a long way. My partners also know that I expect each of them to pull their weight, that maybe sometimes they'll be heavily multi-tasking, or moving quickly (like when that oven beeps) but in the end, thats how it is. Customers are always coming first in my store and we use any spare time when there isnt a customer being served to stock up and be ready for when there is. I notice the hard workers and I let them know how much I appreciate it.

Six months ago my manager asked myself and our shift team our opinions on something many would think crazy. He asked if, on opens, we would be able to unlock the door to customers in FIFTEEN MINUTES! This means we clock in and start at 5:15am and unlock the doors at 5:30am. My reaction? "Hell yeah! Lets do this!" Why? Because I love a challenge and I love to see my partners step up and do amaze me. We've been doing this for 6 months now, in a drive thru store with 2 people opening.

So let me just say, YOU CAN DO IT. You can run on the limited labor. You partners should understand and step up, they should amaze you. And if they don't... I think you know the answer.


Good riddance Melon. Bring back the Blackberry Green Tea Frapp. I was probably the only person who ordered this drink, but I found it delicious! I always sub raspberry for melon...the melon gives it an "off" taste.

I'm excited about the new Tea options! Yes, I am a coffee lover, but tea has been enjoying a comeback in contemporary society for a while, and it's nice to see Starbucks finally leveraging this opportunity.


I forgot about blackberry green tea frappuccino. That was terrific. Anyway, when they discuss whether or not to control labor by telling store managers to control their VTI or to use Optimal Scheduling. I think Optimal Scheduling is more important because it gives better direction to store managers on how to use tools they already have. Also, hopefully, the customer's experience won't suffer as much. It gives store manager's the partners they need but can allow more control in the schedule.

On the other hand, its important to remember a key principle of servant leadership. The store manager, RDO, and upwards are not there to be served by the baristas on the front line. No, they are there to serve those who try their best everyday. By telling store managers how to manage their stores, I believe that runs absolutely contradictory to the spirit of servant leadership. Instead, I believe senior leadership should actively listen and ask store managers how they can help them reach achieve operational success.
If I am interpreting what Howard Schultz said correctly about the humanity being the key to our success then how do we do that? I don't know perhaps more human beings out there who can connect with each customer. Sometimes, I feel I need to hurry the partners through their transactions while still making a human connection. If we had more people, then we could connect to more customers, make friends with them and in the long-term make a stronger Company. These labor saving measures are not going to work in the long term. Customers who make an emotional connection with a brand will be willing to overlook the money spent if they perceive the people there care about them.
Together at Starbucks, we can get back on top. Not by cutting corners but by taking the risky road of giving partners the tools they need to succeed. We cannot look just to next week for our success but instead years ahead and what customers will continue to come into Starbucks for years.



Customer: "I want something to drink, but I don't like coffee. Do you have anything I might like?"

Me: "We have these five great new tea drinks and juice drinks you might enjoy."

As baristas, how many times have we heard the first part of that conversation? In a couple of weeks, we get to follow up the question with a new answer. My sister and her kids love to come visit me at Starbucks, but my sister loathes coffee. Now, she has another reason to visit and to visit more often.

Let's not look at this as a step away from coffee but as a step to bring in new customers. That's Starbucks problem right now. Not enough customers! So, let's embrace these new drinks, so we can get back the things (like labor) that we are missing.

FLA SM: I'm confused. Are you at a Cafe-only store? How is it that your store is even still open if you only have about 5 people working per day. I would have thought your store would have been closed down by now. How many people did you have working per day before the changes in labor? Also, if melon syrup is so hugely popular at your store, wouldn't that mean your store is pretty busy? I think you should clarify, or I'm going to have to call B.S. on anything that you say from now on.

First of all, Starbucks actually brews ALL their teas wrong. In training they like to tell you that 200 degrees is the perfect temperature, but it isn't. Freshly boiled for black teas and five minutes, 180 for green teas and three minutes, and then for herbals it depends on what it is exactly, some tolerate higher or lower temperatures. Silk teabags are better because they impart no flavour to the tea when brewing, while paper does actually change the taste of the finished tea.

I am so glad I don't work there anymore. My manager basically forced me out through scheduling, and has turned over anyone who had any knowledge of or passion for coffee. I can only imagine how awful the store must be running now with reduced labour and incompetent staff.


Are you serious? Now I have to have a green tea steaming pitcher, along with allllll the other small pitchers for nonfat and 2% AND Signature hot chocolate, AND apple juice, AND BREVE AND SOY....jesus!!!!!! Enough already!!!


@ milkfarm: But the eggnogg pitcher will be gone! :-)


You people who keep harping on about 'getting back to our basics' need to realize we are starbucks coffee and tea. spices is in there somewhere, too, but god help us if they start having me sell spices!


Don't forget your protein pitcher... :)


"Would you like your London Fog the way you used to, as a vanilla-earl-grey-tea-misto, or rather as our new london fog latte?"


Well, to answer the blank look on their face we now can use the five seconds we save without the shotglasses.
Or we just assume it is the latte version of it and charge more and get into arguments about the price, as we do now often enough as well.
By the way, wasn't London Fog trademarked? Are we officially allowed to use this term now at starbucks?

But the good thing is, it will definitely spark conversations!


To the anonymous suit supporter: Starbucks probably will love you in the future. You are a well-sharpened, high quality tool in maintaining shareholder value. Forget about being human and demanding the dignity that you deserve, that SBUX hasn't given.

RE: the new products.
SBUX has gone past the point of no return. The constantly changing product lineup, the assembly line process for products, the decreasing quality of product, the labor cuts, are all tactics used by such impersonal, corporate entities as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Jamba Juice, and Carl's Jr., to name a few. Starbucks is just another of one of these, no longer "the premier purveyor of coffee" that it once claimed to be.


Oh, and about this whole "barista" ordeal... A barista at SBUX is not a barista.
A true barista is able to extract a shot of espresso, starting at the grinding of the bean, the preparation of the puck, and the flipping of the "lever" to let high pressure, high temperature water through the puck, thus creating a shot of espresso.
A SBUX barista pushes a button, and all this happens automatically.
A true barista can actually steam milk. She can adjust the pressure that comes out of the steaming wand. Her foam is consistently velvety and perfect. She can feel when the milk is at the perfect temperature.
At SBUX, the barista pushes the button, and it all happens automatically.
Where is that human element. It has been replaced by the machine.
Let us take a moment to mourn the McDonaldization of SBUX and the Whopperfication of the latte.

Ryan (SS)

Melody, if you think Melon was good in a PTL (which it was!), you should remember valencia =(. I loved valencia, and then they took it away from me! Now they're doing it again with melon!


"I think you should clarify, or I'm going to have to call B.S. on anything that you say from now on."

I would prefer not to give out any more details than necessary as it could pinpoint who I am to my DM or RDO. For a while, I thought the anonymous kool-aid drinker was my DM posing as an SM. However, feel free to call B.S. on whatever you want. But just because a syrup is popular at my store does not mean that I'm pretty busy. It just means that a lot of my customers like it. My store is generally not busy. Why is that so hard to believe?


i'm glad we're finally getting some teas! i guess those red and black tea lattes on the test menu proved themselves. i love tea with cream, i hope people like these beverages. i can't wait to try them. i'm not looking forward to tearing down the christmas stuff however.


Didn't we have revolting black and red tea lattes that got discontinued due to their general revoltingness less than two years ago? I remember learning how to make them when I trained, and that was about the last week we had them.


LOL all this stuff about labor cutting DUH..did anyone actually think it was going to go on forever. Perhaps its to weed out the people that are not truly passionate about this company and what we do? im sorry poor college kids that are loosing their jobs and hours but frankly I as a barista get tired of "re coaching" you every week because you only work 6 hours a week because you are only available a few select days. have a very limited scheduale and stand around and watch us work when you do come to work because you have NO idea whats goin on in your store. yes you will be required to work harder your manager will be required to be creative in scheduling. Business is Business. obviously the ones that are all up tight about the fact that they are loosing hours are the ones that well frankly should be loosing their hours. Promote yourself to customer and move on be done with it. I watch on a daily basis partners stand around and wait and wait for customers. while the store manager sit on his stool in the backroom if we are lucky enough to see them in the store even. while dishes need to be done, stocking needs to be redone.

Hopefully many managers will not meet or exceed their goals and will be seperated so that people that are creative, genuine and hardworking can progress with the company. and FYI all you ASM's prepare to be returned to a shift/barista/ because you all are the next to GO. and I am happy for that. HUGE waste of Money HUGE!

This is Business!


Hey, are we all actually getting a new POS system in jan, as has been mentioned in the comments?

Or is this just a minor update to the old POS?


Hahahaha - whopperficiation? I'm gonna use that one. P.s. the AWESOME new POS system won't be out for a while. We're probably looking at early 2010. It's going to select test markets this year, though


A coffee tasting would be wonderful! I would really like to attend one. I love coffee but I have only been exposed to what is on the grocery store shelf until SBX came along. I got a passport and wanted to complete it but my local SBX only brews House Blend. (My local SBX are licensed) They only brew Christmas Blend till 2pm. Thanksgiving Blend only lasted a week and it too stopped brewing at 2pm. It is expensive and sometimes wasteful to buy a whole pound, if I don't like it I hate to throw it out. I have passed it off to friends or taken it to work to share. A coffee tasting would be something I would very much like to experience.


"Oh please, NO ONE is going to miss melon."

Except the people who...I Dunno....will miss melon? I make 20 some Green Latte-esque drinks a shift. Do you know how many people were outraged over the disappearance over Honey Latte? Seriously, HONEY!


ahh. i am amused by the commentary that has been spurred on by my "improper calling of a beverage."

not sure if anyone actually thinks i work at starbucks or something? sorry guys, not a day in my life. sorry i didn't call it right. in 6 years no one has corrected me. i am just the lowly customer. the lowly customer who spends $300/mo and insists that her green tea latte tastes exactly the way her favorite barista (sarra) makes it.

now that it has been confirmed that the matcha isn't changing it is obvious how to "properly" call my drink so there is no deviation from the current standard. and, of course, i can choose to order it "stirred rapidly" (the old way) rather than steamed with the soy if i truly prefer zero deviation from my current drink.

i <3 starbucks... even more than that, i <3 my baristas. happy holidays!

Ted Smaller

There's a local chain of 15 cafes here in Chicago. They are called Argo Tea. They used to have these kinds of tea drinks (and a whole lot more) for already six years.


I had to break the news to my sister today about melon syrup -- she has a green tea latte every single day, and on the rare occasions when they don't have melon syrup, she doesn't like it. She said when I told her that it's just as well, because now she won't have to go to Starbucks every day anymore.

So I'm sure they did the math and it will balance out as a good decision, but they'll lose some business. Starting with my poor sister, who is already mourning the end of her daily ritual.

One other thing -- I'm just a customer, but I really hate it when I hear a barista correct another about the way the drink was called, unless it actually wasn't clear what was meant. It makes the place feel unfriendly. I generally hate hearing negativity or bickering between employees, so unless you're the rare person who can do it without a HINT of irritation or impatience, I think it's better to address it away from the customers. Just my two cents.


Does anyone else cringe at the redundancy of "Chai Tea Lattes"?

I'm going to miss melon for one, melon was good with tea, and I enjoy the occasional green tea frap.

And I LOL'd at the cleveland steamer. Throw some protein powder in there for extra effect, mix it with the Sig Hot Chocolate without pumping/mixing it. Oh classic.


Hey, I'm back...a hundred posts or so later but...

to the anonymous person who is saddened by the fact that baristas are calling drinks "incorrectly":

Go read the BRM. It also says you're supposed to call it "to go" or "for here", "caffeinated" or "decaffeinated," etc.

So...I hope you're doing that, too.

It doesn't change the fact that what "saddens" you is, as you so correctly stated it, trivial.

As in, insignificant, inconsequential, banal, unimportant, meaningless.

It's things like this that chase off nervous, new customers and baristas alike.


milkfarm -

Don't forget your whole milk pitcher and protein pitcher and the kids hot chocolate pitcher and all the special temps that you have to do...125 degrees, 180 degrees...It's really getting out of hand.


Just can't figure out why we can't be more creative with coffee and with the bases that we already have.



Why would have have a kids hot chocolate pitcher? Wouldn't you just use the regular hot chocolate pitcher and just not steam it as hot?


Yeah, you don't need different pitchers fir different temp milks.

I love the rooibos tea latte! Btw.

Tea makes sense for starbucks... More sense. Than vivanno or protien lattes


i agree. the original starbucks was "starbucks coffee tea spice" so tea is part of who we've been since the beginning. i don't remember energy, smoothies, or oatmeal being on the original sbux sign.

Ryan (SS)

Gord, why even have ANY hot chocolate pitcher? All I use is a 2%, NF, Whole, Soy, Eggnog, Sig. Hot Choc. and a MISC. pitcher that I sanitize each time after use. If you're efficient on bar you shouldn't have a problem with the MISC. pitcher type.

Starbucks Customer

Was the salted caramel signature hot chocolate a temporary drink or is it a permanent menu item?

yeah. we were shipped 800+ pounds of christmas TWO DAYS AGO, but i'm sure people will have a really hard time finding it. you're right.

coffee, TEA, and spices, people. it's part of the starbucks heritage, and what's more, it increases the customer base without branching out into new territory - breakfast sandwhiches, etc. all your regular customers that simply order a grande earl grey right now? think about how much more money and LABOUR you'll be earning if they upgrade to a london fog. the possibilities are dazzling...

speaking of which, though, does anyone have the low-down on the 'london fog' name? i was always told we couldn't say it, as it was trademarked by someone else. we get at least 10-20 people ordering it as a 'london fog' per day, and now it's changing? not looking forward to having the whole 'did you want the london fog or the vanilla earl grey tea misto' conversation with people who haven't managed to learn the term 'vanilla earl grey tea misto' in more than a year of daily ordering...

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