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December 30, 2008


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Mrs. Tillinghamshackles

Tea is fantastic. I'm so glad that we are going to shine a little bit of the spotlight on it for awhile.


I have a question and though this is not specifically about the tea bags, it is about the recipe for Chai Tea Lattes.

Apparently the recipe calls for H20 to the siren's eye, but that seems like WAY too much water, and I was always taught to just ad the same amount of water as there is chai to just kind of cut it in half... any thoughts?

I personally don't think the recipe should even have water.


Yay for London Fog!! I've already started calling it that at work. I'm such a rebel. Customers who order this drink rejoice when I inform them that it will be called the London Fog in the new year! Hallelujah!

I also LOVE Rooibos. Tahitian vanilla? Sounds ~exotic~. I thought we would just be adding vanilla syrup? Interesting..

AliCat: I totally agree. As a long time Chai drinker, it always sucked when I would get it way too watery. So when I started working here I made sure to add a little less water than usual...and I've had lots of compliments that I make an excellent Chai.

They're taking the water out of the GRTL recipe, so maybe Chai is next?

Has anyone had a customer ask for extra water? I really doubt it...but anything's possible!


I would hope that you tell customers what you are changing about the recipe. Whether or not that's how you like chai, that's how every partner is supposed to make it, and if you change the recipe without telling the customer, then some other partner gets yelled at that they didn't make the drink right when they were merely following the recipe.
Also, I've had people order chai in many ways, no water, light water, extra water, extra pumps of chai, etc.


BCbarista: have you seen the recipe cards yet? Vanilla Rooibos tea latte gets classic syrup. London Fog is the only one getting vanilla syrup.

As far as the level of the siren's eye, are you looking at the cup straight on, eye-level? Because if you're looking down at it on the counter, for example, that will skew your perspective and you'll probably put in too much water.


I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE London Fog Tea Latte! I use Classic instead of vanilla and peppermint whipped cream! SO delicious!! I'm so glad Starbucks is going this route!

I HATE HATE HATE HATE the chai infusions! So disgusting! :(

BCBarista: I had a customer once ask for the chai latte with ONLY water and no milk!! He said at his "home" Starbucks he orders it that way everyday!

Fork me! I'm done!

"Your drink will be ready in 10 minutes, right over there at the hand off area...I'd apologize for having only 2 people on the floor to help you during this rush but schedualing is not my job and corporate is passing the cost of time on down to you...the customer. Please come again and spend 20 minutes for your over-priced drink."

seventysix [76]

I will agree, I hate both of the infusions but the Currant juice by itself is wonderful :)


did anyone watch the tea time training video? LOL.


The whole tea menu situation on the register already drives me nuts. It's too much work just to punch in a tea now. Customers who are used to the old system are getting irritated, too.

I have only tried the Vanilla rooibos tea latte. I found that it tastes like really strong red rose tea. Which is what the Joy tea tastes like, too.


MissingMyMelonSyrup: the mystery of the tazo stone.....*rubs stone*...

Tea Snob

I admit that I only get my tea from Adagio and have somewhere in the neighborhood 50 different teas at any given time. Coffee before 11, tea for the rest of the day. I am pleased to see *$ experiment with real tea (though bags are for newbies).

That said, anyone putting whipped cream on their tea should be mocked, openly and hostilely. Leave it to *$ to take something as simple, pure and elegant and bullocks it up with fat for the US population...


I was trying these drinks with my staff yesterday. The currant juice is yummy on it's own...with chai it tastes like a Glade air freshener. The Vanilla Rooibos was surprisingly tasty. I would probably try it next time without syrup because it was too sweet. One my shifts insisted that everything needed MORE syrup. Ew.

The new tea bags are soooo pretttyyyyyyy!


@ tea snob:
none of the tea drinks at starbucks come with whipped cream on them (but, as always... we will add it if that is what the customer wants)

if you don't like water in your chai, just order it with no water... it's a fairly common request. however i do know many people that like the standard recipe.

Anyone get their chai pump retrofit kits in yet?


I stopped going to Starbucks two weeks ago due to the way I was treated by the barrista. When I tried to explain to her the order she gave me wasn't what I ordered, she said "what I gave you is what you get." Later I told her I wouldn't be coming back and she could tell her manager the reason why, she said "okay." I am a major tea drinker, but I won't be trying any of these.


I just think that we should set up a small fresh fruit and coconut condiment bar. This way when customers order their frappachinos they could add the fresh fruit into the blends. It could be a spinoff of the oatmeals toppings. This way we could just charge 5.95 for all frozen beverages. As for tea, when will we start serving fresh popped corn with toppongs.



Kris Merrells

Marie: If this is the only S'bux on the area, I don't blame you for not returning. However, it does not seem fair to judge an entire company based on a single experience. That being said, you're free to do as you like, and to seek the best service wherever you can find it. Best wishes.

We've already installed the retrofit kit for the chai, and it works much better (no splashing, lol).

As for the chai recipe, keep in mind that because the cup is conical in shape, the Siren's eye, despite being higher than halfway the height of the cup, is still halfway for the cup's volume.

The DVD is bizarre.

And yes - PLEASE tell people when you are deviating from the recipe. It's a bit annoying to get chewed out for making a drink "wrong".


Marie, if you stop going to places where you get a crappy experience, you'll never leave the house, sad to say.
The tea bev's sound great, but they are not going to bring in new business. The tea bags are pretty, but all that silk ends up in the garbage? How much are these tea bag, water, and milk creations?


We already discussed this quite a lot, but so far a chai HAS to have water up to the sirens eye. If not, you don't do your job right. Exception: If the customer asks for a different way.
And again, it is a tea concentrate, or some might call it a syrup. They just take out the water in the factory and we add it again in the store.
If people think their chai is to watery, check the calibration of the chai pump. 2/3 of an ounce is the proper amount. This is more than any other pump!
Oh, and please make sure you don't use the retail chai behind the bar, because the one we are selling to customers is not concentrated and would lead to watered down results behind the bar as well.
Hope that sheds some light to the chai issue.
Besides I haven't had a chance to check out the new teas.


As a shift supervisor, my only advice is that a customer knows their drink better than you as a barista and you should ALWAYS make the drink they way they want it even if it means deviating from the Starbucks recipe.


This promo is DOOMED. No training hours, no Non Coverage to do the set-up? This will be the most slip-shod new drink/promo ever. The only good thing to come out of no training hours is not having to show that ridiculous video to my partners....it's insulting that they would even spend any money on that garbage.

For the record, I think the drinks are pretty decent, however, tea is not an American thing and I don't think it will do particularly well. At least the COGS are cheap ( but who am I kidding, we don't bonus off controllables anymore anyhow so who cares? )



Sara, I agree, but no one should ever change a standard recipe just because he or she thinks it tastes better that way. If a customer requests it, yes, if you offer it that way and the customer agrees he would like to try it that way, yes, otherwise, NO.
What would you say if you order a big mac and it came without mayonnaise, because the guy behind the grill can't stand it?


"Anyone get their chai pump retrofit kits in yet?"

Yes, and now our chai pump is fucked up. Don't know how that happened.


...how is starbucks comunicating to the customer that the green tea latte is going to be differant ...
when a customer orders a green tea latte on jan. 5th does the barista have to explain that the beverage is made differantly now and will taste differant ...to every customer that orders one .. for like a week ... a month .. a year .... or when I they order it will they just assume i wont know any better .?? would really like some educated feed back ...ty


The Chai Infusions are just plain nasty. The Tea Lattes are weak in flavor. It's a cup full of steamed milk with a hint of tea taste. Adding syrup just makes it taste like sugar milk.

If they are going to make us stock this berry concentrate crap (hooray! 1 more box in an already overflowing fridge), they should have at least come up with a Frappucino recipe that uses it. Currently I'm thinking about using it as a milk substitute in a Vivanno -- hmmmmmmmmmmmm...

6 months and this stuff will be gone.....for once it will be a nice change to see a drink depart. I'm so tired of having 5 new drinks added to the menu every other month. It only makes training that much more difficult, too. In the meantime, I guess I'll still have drive-thru customers asking whether or not we still have Vanilla Bean Frappucinos because they got bumped off the menu in favor of some flavor-of-the-month crap.


trisha -

since i found out a few weeks ago that the recipe for the green tea latte was changing i informed every customer that ordered one. it usually goes along the lines of, "has anyone told you that the melon syrup has been discontinued? we have some in this store still, but if within the next few weeks your green tea latte starts tasting different, that's why. be sure to let us know if you don't like it so we can fix it."

i would guess that you'll hear about it at least for a few weeks. possibly longer, especially if you encounter thorough baristas. :)


To the "Tea Menu" Complainters: You will get used to it in a week. If customers are complaining it takes an extra button stroke to punch in their drink, which you should know the price of already, it's more of a *you* problem, to be quite honest. I thought it was dumb until about 5 iced tea orders later when I said "It takes longer to complain than to ring it up" that's for sure.

Also, changing the recipe without telling a customer is just so wrong. It's like adding extra Vanilla Bean because it's just so much sweeter, for you. Chai's get water because it's a tea. Tea's have water in it...

Edgar Estima

My biggest complaint is the price. If my memory serves me right, a tall London Fog Tea Latte costs $2.85 in my market, whereas a tall vanilla Earl Gray tea misto costs somewhere around $2.15. With the milk and the syrup, the subtleties between full-leaf tea and the standard tea are essentially lost, so why should I bother paying extra?

I was quite impressed with the Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte. I'm not a fan of the African Red Bush, but I like the vanilla-rooibos combination.

I was not happy with the Black Tea Latte. It tastes like Lipton tea and milk.

The Apple Chai Infusion is far too sweet. The aronia Berry Chai Infusion is interesting and deserves at least one try. I enjoyed it, but I don't think I'd be able to drink anything larger than a tall.

The video was terrible. It was a waste of time. The first part, except for when they show us the ingredients for the teas, was silly. The second part was canned and patronizing.

The retail is mediocre.

I haven't tried Bella Vista, but I am excited for the return of Guatemala Casi Cielo, which is my absolute favorite coffee.

The part of Winter '09 I don't have an opinion about is the Green Tea Latte. I don't know which way I like better.

Is anyone working in a store where both their SM and ASMs always take major holidays off? On Christmas Day and New Years Day, both of my ASMs and my SM took it off. I think this is bad for a few reasons

1) It doesn't show solidarity with the other partners. It comes off as "we get to spend these major holidays with our friends and family while you guys stay in the store and deal with the insane business and labor shortages"

2) It increases labor cost because they have to pay baristas and shift supervisors OT to work those days. Instead of cutting our hours, they should be forced to work every other holiday with at least 1 sm/asm always present.

3 Part 2 of labor: Since SMs/ASMs get an extra paid day off for every holiday, regardless of whether they worked the holiday or not, it costs the company even more money. They should change the rule that you only get the extra paid day off if you actually work the holiday, so that SMs/ASMs feel there is an incentive to work since they dont get OT pay


In my area the ASM is not allowed to work holidays because he would get paid too much per hour. Since we have a 150 % rule in my market.
But this is only reasonable for the hourly ASMs. SMs are salaried so they can work whenever they want. It wouldn't effect the costs. And my SM does work most holidays. Not all of them, but no one would really expect him to do so anyway.
Apparently your problem is a store problem and not a company issue. Sorry to hear, though.

There are hourly ASM's?!?! I've never heard of that.


gmreat... I'm a partner, not a customer, and I hate chai.

I go by what I'm told by other people - they hate the chai with so much water or water at all.


And about the chai... even though it's a concentrate, the chai to water ratio seems way off.

Just to clarify before twenty people jump me on this board (figuratively), I make drinks to recipe. I'm just asking a question...


@ MissingMyMelonSyrup: Yes! And it's so great. I pray to God that Starbucks starts making their videos more like these. I found it interesting how much you can tell the difference between the Tazo directed videos, and the Starbucks directed videos. Starbucks seems to want to "pull our heart strings" with stories of a rainy day and sharing a 200 calorie drink with handcrafted steamed milk and foam..." The Tazo guys were so funny.


@Edgar Estima: The Bella Vista is very good! I love the packaging. It truly is a "beautiful view". At first I smelled pine.... but then definitely started smelling and tasting the tang, like breakfast blend, but not as light bodied. it almost is like orange juice. it's such a nice coffee.


ASMs pay is quoted in salary terms, this is on the assumption (and expectation) that they are working 40 hours per week. However, they are paid on an hourly basis. This means when an ASM works 43 hours in a week, they are paid those hours. Whereas a SMs pay is salary only and paid out in such way- they do not punch in or out as this will not effect their pay. When a SM works 43 hours, they will only be paid their usual salary check which is based on a 40 hour work week. It is in a SMs contract (usually) that they are required to work Stat holidays- as their pay is not effected by time and a half. I would think a DM would notice that the SM isnt working Stat holidays and enforce it. Christmas is kind of a special Holiday though, as its not mandatory for a store to be open in most cases. The decision for a store to be made open is made by the DM/RDO and thus not the managers direct decision and therefore not made to work it (that would be seriously Grinch!) as staffing is done a voluntary bases only.


A question off-topic for you all ....
Does anyone know what the name and artist is of the 'Jungle Song'? It is a song with conga drums, and birds chirping, monkeys making monkey noises .... it sounds like a jungle! In any case, if anyone knows, let me know!

Also, regarding the GTL, what do you all think about now steaming the matcha with the milk???? One more pitcher to clean.......?


I just love it when someone posts about pay. It depends on what state you work in. I am an SM if I work 43 hours I get 40 hrs regular time and 3 hours OT. It varies, so don't make blanket statements about pay. It isn't one size fits all.


Yes, it all depends on what state you work in. In California, all partners--including ASMs and SMs are in all certain terms considered hourly, even though ASMs and SMs have a "salary" rate, anything over 40 hours in a work week they are paid for as well because that is California labor law.

yum yum!!

Try a orange manago vivanno, but sub berry currant instead of milk! OMG!

Iced Venti White Mocha Americano

The tea lattes are going to be a big hit in my store, because we do have a lot of tea drinkers.I am a little disappointed with the price, I always get Joy tea mistos with Classic and a packet of honey and it costs 2 dollars and change. The new tea lattes are three dollars and change, and the button for tea misto's is gone. My regular London Fogger people are going to be pissed, becuase their drink just went up by a dollar and change.

BTW< Chai tea infusions SUCK!!!!!But the people who like Chai in their Steamed apple juice are going to love them.

I have a partner in my store that only puts about an ounce of milk in coffee misto's and chai lattes. He swears that is the way they are made. No wonder consistency is an issue at our store.


If you don't want to work holidays, then don't work holidays. There are always a ton of partners who WANT to work because they want the time-and-a-half we offer. Pointing the finger at ASMs and SMs though is immature and rude. If you want the perks of being an SM, then work your ass off and earn it. You don't want to be an SM? Then shut up and do your job. I've had several partners who wanted it and have worked hard for it. I took 2 baristas to ASM and have another future star currently in the making. But they will get what they deserve when they EARN it. If you are in high school or college, you haven't earned a damn thing. Get your degree and take your lumps, and somewhere down the road it will pay off for you. For partners who want to earn it and ask for my help, I've always obliged. For those who want to spend all their time whining about it, tough shit. I'll be home on Thanksgiving and Christmas with my wife and daughter, whether you like it or not, whether the company likes it or not. I think SMs are slowly starting to realize Starbucks is just like every other company out there...they'll treat you like gold when the going is good, but you realize all too soon just how expendable you are when the shit hits the fan. There's a fine balance between being dedicated to your job and having a life outside of work. But the right to that balance is earned.
Regarding tea lattes, the tea lattes are amazing, but we could do without the tea infusions ("aromatherapy in a cup!" -- please). Too bad they spent all that money on the DVD (which has been more of joke than anything else in my store -- what are they smoking when they make these things?), barista learning guides, siren's eye set material, and winter workbook when we're not given time to train or do floor set-ups anyway. Yet we still hear the whining about having to save money at the partners' expense. Morons...


The new tea lattes are super easy to make, if you read the recipe cards you'll see that while yes, it requires you to walk over to the tea canisters, at least they don't require their own pitchers...So far I've tried to London Fog...it was pretty good.

The infusions however sound like they will be a pain to make...I really can't fit anymore pitchers on the bar, and I don't have time to sanitize a new one every other drink.

And I wonder how many times a day someone is going to ask me what the hell 'aronia' is...


Oh, and if someone wants an Earl Gray misto (no syrup, not the fancy new silk bags, just the regular Earl Gray misto) how are we supposed to ring it up?

I didn't know what to do, and neither did my ASM, so they got charged for a London Fog, and the new guy on bar didn't know to use the silk bag, so my customer got screwed over...


No Tea Misto button? I didn't notice that yesterday. If that is indeed the case or if you have a regular customer complain about the price going up on them for their tea misto, then charge them for their tea > ADD Dairy > ADD Syrup.

The Berry Infusion reminded me of spiced wine when I tried it yesterday. Anyone else pick up on that? I thought the Apple Chai was okay. I didn't really care for it. I also was able to make the Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte, and I thought that was quite good. The vanilla in the tea was wonderful. I think I'll try it without the classic in the future. I'm a big fan of tea, so I can't wait to try the new teas with just hot water. I'm wondering...if a customer wants just the new tea in water, is there a special price for the silk tea bags or do we charge regular. It seems wrong that we would charge them for just the regular tea bags. I'll have to look into that today.

I hope we can all stand behind these new tea drinks we begin offering on Saturday. The market for tea drinkers and non-coffee drinkers is HUGE! Starbucks is finally realizing what they are missing out on and has begun to offer new tea drinks. I hope that if you or a partner around you is not excited about the new drinks that you or they keep that information private. (One bad apple spoils the bunch.)


Hey now, I said I added a *little* less water than most people (who don't know how to make the drink anyway.) I've never had any complaints, lots of compliments, but no complaints. And I was referring to the description of the ~Tahitian Vanilla~, not vanilla syrup..I guess it's part of the tea infusion. Cool.

Honestly a lot of people I work with add far too much water to chai and I'm adding the correct amount anyway.

If these certain people are on bar when I order my partner drink, I order something really simple like a plain tea, because I know for a fact they will mess it up...happens every time. Doesn't matter if I remind them how many pumps are in a PTL, they always make it taste wrong. I don't know how to nicely tell them they suck at making simple drinks. I just let it go.

Anyone else work with people like this?

Like I said I've drank Chai for years and it has just about never been the same every time.

Also I'm sure somebody answered this before, but are we still making GRTL with the melon, or are we making it the new way and informing everyone it's been changed when they order it?

~Tahitian Vanilla~

So do ASM's outside of CA get overtime or are they exempt? If not, then why are ASM's non-exempt, but SM's aren't? SM spend a great deal of their time on the floor too. It doesn't seem right.

Do exempt SM's edit in their punches? If not, how does this work with ALS reports such as %VTI? Why don't SM's just punch in and out?

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