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February 12, 2009


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Kyle Maxwell

I want to cry now.

Naptown Barista

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse that Pike Place Roast...


Good move!


Jesus Christ. Are they serious? This is sad. Very sad. Ugh.

Lemarac Otaiccam

The Starbucks 3rd Place Experience.... just add water!


I think that I am just speechless! Thank God I was released from this mess when I was. First Value Meals and now this?! I bet this is what that the super secret March training is all about!

ex-ssc R U 4 Real?

I'm waiting for the S.M.R.E.s


Oh crap I hope Category isn't reading this. :-0



maybe its good...


The news of Via has just made me glad I quit after more than a decade with Starbucks this last year. I once was in Howard's office to introduce a new RMT to Howard and he spoke of losing the Safeco sponsorship to Tully's. Howard said they were greedy and was clearly angry about losing the advertising, etc... It's so sad that he is choosing greed in the marketplace and trying to be everything for all consumers. What happened to Starbucks being only quality and the customers would decide it's worth the money for a great product?


what. the hell.


Okay, company over. Everyone go home...


o.o ookkk the only way that this even sounds right if its for our troops oversea's that can't have a cup of good starbucks coffee...


Every soldier can have Starbucks in his K-ration meal!

Mary Mocha

Premium Purveyor. . . . .


I am so glad I am no longer with Starbucks and, as of last week, out of the stock. Even if this announcement drives the shares up, I want nothing to do with this company.

Arch Stanton

Ha ha ha ha lets turn the company around! How? Lets turn to instant coffee! Ha ha ha



There are no words.


Hey Arch,

Maybe it will be ...

An instant turnaround



Starbucks, I have no words left for you. I bet the innovative, romantic, original Italian cafe's where young Schultzy got the idea for 'bux never packaged nor sold instant coffee. Consider this my two weeks.


Maybe we should wait before we judge. This was a quest of Howard's many years ago and if this coffee is as good as I have heard it is then this is a good thing. As a climber I would be psyched to have a great tasting 'soluble' coffee to take with me

Jim C

The price point on this product is very high. It is DOA.

Stay tuned for my next company announcement.

* I also survived this round of "layoffs", and had more people added to my team.


Further down the road of ruin!

If you're a stockholder you can still voice your dissent by using your proxy vote to VOTE no to proposed changes.


The Fast Food industry profits by selling four elemental things craved for by the public. Those items are Fat, Salt, Sugar and Caffeine. The most cynical Fast Food companies (Yum Brands {KFC, TacoBell}, Tim Hortons, Dunkin) will put anything legal in their food to enhance their margin. To the big-food lapdog FDA, that means anything that won’t kill you in 10 minutes. McDonalds “cones” are not called Ice Cream because it is not ice cream so it will keep forever in the machine. Recognizing the “fix” that fat gives people Tim Hortons coffee cream is over 35% fat. What Fast Food companies call “taste” is to be thought of the same way as the “taste” in a cigarette. The food and drink they sell is a vehicle for the four elemental vices just as cigarettes are a vehicle for nicotine.

At one time Sbux was not in the same cynical league as the companies mentioned above. They freshly ground their drip, they pulled real espresso shots, their original pastries (while not quite baked by the Amish) – contained a few dozen less chemicals in the ingredients lists. Sbux was once the Subway Subs of Fast Food…an ok product that you could make reasonably healthy by choosing the right items and avoiding others. No longer.

That Sbux is even considering coffee or milk concentrate confirms that they are as cynical as Yum Brands and their ilk. When you are a public company it is hard not to slide down the slope to lowest common denominator food processes.

BTW – coffee concentrate is not new. Large institutions like Vegas Casinos and hospitals serve coffee that is concentrated in bottles wherein the machine mixes hot water with the concentrate. They have been doing this for decades. If Sbux is serious about this initiative then marketing it as something progressive and creative is complete and utter nonsense – as well a complete turn-off to anyone with any sense of good taste.

expired shot

I will have an open mind while "cupping" and comparing with house, and a competitors instant coffee the first time...but I must thank Starbucks Gossip for informing me before I hear of this in the stores. I fear 3 weeks isn't enough time to practice my genuine enthusiasm over this product. I will practice in a mirror every morning, "It's affordable, and better than Foldgers!" (Cheeky full smile) If I have learned to say "I love my career!" with enthusiasm every day, I certainly can handle anything you throw at me Starbucks. I will prove that "Fake it til you make it" works.


I love the use of "soluble" versus "instant". "purveyor"="buyer" "sampling vessel"="paper cup" "signature hot chocolate"="chantico"

Just Another Shift

Hey, I for one want to thank Jim C for his recent posts. Thanks to you, Jim, my wife and I were ready for her lay-off yesterday (as ready as we could be) and I plan on taking anything you say into consideration as I navigate my remaining days as a shift (for purely insurance-and-trickle-of-cash-flow purposes, I assure you.) Don't let them catch on to you, and thanks for your good work.


Will they make it in the Clovers?



Maybe it has some magical flavor crystals in it! It's so good you'll want a second cup!

There has got to be someone at the SSC shaking their head at these moves which force the brand downmarket. I know, here’s an idea: Howard can segment the brand and have a coffee shop where baristas are encouraged to learn all about the coffees, and you get the best handcrafted espresso and you can sample the finest freshly roasted coffee beans. We can call it Starbucks1992. Fine diners can go to Canlis and have their cup of Starbucks coffee, and ask the waiter, "Is this instant?".

I'm disappointed. It might bring in money but I think it's the wrong direction for the brand, as many of you guys think too.

As an aside, Peet’s FINALLY has a location in the downtown Seattle core now! It’s at about 3rd & Marion (or 3rd & Madison?). It’s been open about a month so I was told, but I just now discovered it.

Barista Ben

We'll... I don't know how to react to this. After sorbetto I am somewhat jaded with these new products..


Oh my goodness it's going to be served IN STORES? I thought this was something that would be on shelves in grocery stores? I don't know if my cookies didn't update, but I *just* now saw that email from Vivek Varma. Wow. It suddenly makes sense. I'd heard gossip in the stores that there was a new product coming that would be tested in Seattle and New York. Isn't this sort of the opposite extreme direction of the Clover?


I hope no one actually believes that Starbucks has been working on this for 20 years. It is just one more spin to try to make you believe that it is good. Sure, it may be great for climbers, military, etc... but it is not and never has been part of what is described as the "finest coffee in the world". There are markets that Starbucks should never tap and this is one of them. Why would partners collectively spend hours and hours learning and teaching about preparing coffee the best way and then come up with something so much farther than the origin of coffee preparation? Those dancing goats are pissed...


There is something to be said about inovation but that will not make a company. Being the best in your segment is what made Starbucks. Not being the best is its downfall. When was the last time In & Out Burgers added to their menu. (I believe 1994. Dr. Pepper)
The only savior is commitment to the product, place, and customer from the top down!


Hopefully for you it will be classified as BOLD!
OMG can it get worse?
I have one serious question,
what is the hold time for a pitcher of hot instant coffee?


"The instant coffee market is a $17 billion global market..." it's all about the $$$


Sorry to ramble on about this but it is bewildering. If Starbucks were listening to their customers, they'd know that they don't go to a coffeehouse for instant coffee. The number one thread at mystarbucksidea.com is still, "it's the coffee."

And you would think that Starbucks knows that they have to re-emphasize coffee: They've just updated starbucks.com to be much more coffee-centric in content.

**[quote]Sure, it may be great for climbers, military, etc... but it is not and never has been part of what is described as the "finest coffee in the world"[/quote]**
If Starbucks insists on doing instant coffee, then maybe it should only be available at places like REI or the Northface. Partner up your premium brand with other premium brands! ??


This is going to completely undermine the Starbucks brand, which is the company's greatest asset. You can have a premium brand that charges premium prices and makes premium profits, or you can have the sort of brand that people associate with instant coffee and Dollar Menus (which is not a market that Starbucks is well positioned to win). What an idiotic move.


this is very sad...i try to suck it up and love my job at starbucks but this is embarrasing . instant coffee???? part of the reason i wanted this job is because i thought it was different from other hourly positions but now i might as well work for burger king


I'd like a Via Vivano with power and energy added! If this doesn't boost the stock price before the shareholders' meeting nothing will.Unless howie skydives out of the jet above Seattle!


(Time to short sell SBUX!)

Dunkin Dough Nut

Does anyone else think the letters to 'Partners' sound more like they are geared to shareholders?

coffee man

Reflecting your right the goats are dancing and pissed but this is a valley do not worry we will once again be on top we will look back at this time and wonder was it all worth it

Marketing Professional

Dear Starbucks

Pls. go read the case study of New Coke.

Pls. go hire some outside Brand Integrity consultants.

Pls. find a way to not make me embarrased to walk around with a Starbucks-branded go mug.

Your former fan.


Mocha Powder, Beverage Base, Coffee Base, you add water to a good portion of your drinks already. Just sayin... Why is this a shock?

All Done Now

3 little words

Jump the Shark


Via is a great idea for the Foodservice side of the business. The only way it should be in stores as a free give away for trial. ? Does it come in decaf?

heard you

Well I guess this puts an end to you guys complaining about customers having to wait 3 min. while you brew fresh coffee.

Thsnk you Howard and the powers that be for listening and acting on the concerns of the partners.


That big flushing sound you heard is Starbucks going down the toilet.

Coffee Soldier

I'm sure they are sending us samples to test and pass out and really get behind just like when Java Chip ice cream launched and we all got t-shirts and had a fun little day of passing out mini cartons of ice cream. I don't think we will be brewing this in the store...I bet we will be selling it though...let's give it a chance...If partners are behind a product customers will buy it...if not then we can sabotage our own brand. It is our jobs is the stores (like it or not) to sell the products handed down to us from above...even if they aren't good like honey lattes for example! We still needed to attempt to meet our goals! Plus think of all the potential customers who like instant coffee. I know my Grandparents love it...I've tried to give them my markout hundreds of times over the years but they won't give up their Folgers...now I will have something new for them to try.


Of course, I get it now...let's replace all of our whole bean offerings with instant coffee. That way we can cut the labor that's being given to us for every pound of coffee we currently sell.

Marketing Professional

And on the PR front, let's review this announcement timeline...

Announce Layoffs have begun
Announce Value Meals
Announce Instant Coffee

all in the same week.

Forget the New Coke case study. You've just become your own case study in how to devalue a brand in...what...4 days?

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