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June 16, 2009


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I tried this today, and it was SOOOO difficult to communicate what was going on as a floater to the register partner. Not to say that it won't work... just, I experienced difficulty in doing this my first time. But I don't think we were out of coffee ever... it was just confusing for the register partner to understand what was going on. I recommend that if baristas get a spare chance, they watch the video on the "Broadcast News" section of the Manager Work Station.

Acacia Regular

You mean they wont use the Tupperware and Ladle to fill the coffee makers up anymore? Imagine that, grinding beans in a coffee house.


Why don't they cite me as the source for releasing those documents? Uhhhhhhhhh, plagiarizers. OMFG.

Store Regular

OK, my Starbucks seems to have been doing this for a while. The problem is not freshness of coffee, it is the noise. Starbucks stores are incredibly noisy. The grinders grinding, the clank associated with emptying the grinder (I don't know what is going on here, there is some sort of handle that they flick and drop ... clank clank clank) the music playing, usually too loudly, the blenders blending, the blender noise covers being DROPPED closed, the tapping of blender pitchers against counters to get the frozen product out, the cabinet doors being closed with a foot. BLAM. My suggestion: find a way to get rid of the unnecessary noises in stores. I can't even hear myself think.


so the third place environment is totally lost with this stupid method, people go to relax and study..who the hell wants to read a book or have a convo in the middle of the damn noise, is bad enough we have the damn radio on..now this, and the oven beeps and the safe...and we can say goodbye to speed of service, especially during peak hours. either they increase our pay or im waving the white flag on this stupid corporation..i know i basically reiterated "Store Regular"..but this shit is obnoxious, baristas can barely even concentrate in the workplace this is beyond stupid..oh and let the angry customers pile up in drive-thru and lobby..i hate this!!!!


weird... we grind one grinder full of beans every 1-2 hours, and it only takes about 3-4 minutes to grind three kinds of coffee... I agree if we are to grind fresh with each potful (every 10 minutes in my store) we're gonna need another staff person just to handle coffee grinding and brewing, which with tighter staffing doesn't seem likely to do much but increase everyone's stress levels including the customers... I hope this isn't the case for brewing in Canada!!

!!!Answer me!!!

Wow. All that noise of 3 seconds of grinding coffee every 8 minutes for 6.5 hours during the morning. It's SO hard to concentrate.

!!!Answer me!!!

Note sarcasm.


I'm currently a manager for a seed store for a drivethrough store. Trust me..it works....as for the noise, I expected it to be a problem at a drive-through, however realistically how long does it take to grind a full batch of coffee....5 seconds? POart of the third place experience is the sounds of the espresso machine, and coffee grinder. Blenders on the other hand... either way....6 months from now grind and brew wo'nt even be discussed anymore :)


Why couldn't they buy new brewers with hoppers onto that grind the coffee fresh for us. I mean they already make a coffee maker like that?

Coffee Soldier

6 months from now there will be some OTHER new way that Stabucks is supposedly on the cutting edge of brewing coffee...and everyone will forget about this..


I hope this isn't coming to Canada :(

We are grinding coffee all the time anyhow. Coffee doesn't sit for long in those tubs!

brown dot

I know this goes against starbucks goal, but we grind enough coffee to get us to 10am or 1030am, which gets us through our rush and then afterwards, we have all coffees freshly scooped and ground. The paperwork does say you can make it into your own, so you do not have to do it word for word. Just a suggestion!


I agree with sbucks that part of the sounds of a coffee house are espresso machines and coffee grinders. Of course, Starbucks is lacking the sound of whap whap or thud thud of knocking grounds out of a portafilter.

Coffeesoldier is right that 6 months from now, there will be a whole new coffee brewing regime!

And there are too many beeping noises. Coffee brewers, safes, heck some baristas use beepers for their 10 minute lobby slides. Once upon a time, Starbucks was a fairly quiet coffee house with soft jazz playing quietly.

The one good possible side effect to this is that the more frequently you grind coffee, the more coffee aroma you bring into the stores. I'm convinced (though it may be my mind playing tricks on me) that Clover Starbucks smell way better than a normal Starbucks, because coffee is constantly ground throughout the day in small intervals. I adore standing next the Clover and smelling the experience. That alone is well worth $1.95 for a tall Sumatra.

Herman M.

I know, Starbucks could develop a method of grinding and packaging enough coffee for one batch in an oxygen free environment. That would allow us to completely remove the grinding labor from the store. And due to our super duper fancy schmancy process, the ground coffee would be fresh for months!


We could have the roasting plant in space?


My store has been doing this for a few months. I work at a remote store (and also the highest volume store in my district) and we have no problems with this system. As stated, it only takes five or so seconds to grind a batch, and comparatively, blenders are way more noisy. The beeping of so many times can get annoying at times. That's really the only inconvenience.


Get over it


We started doing this yesterday in my store. Once all of the kinks are worked out, I really think that this system will eliminate any time that we are truly "out" of coffee because it is brewing. Sure, it is going off every 8 min..but the stress of watching an angry customer leave or wait for coffee will be virtually eliminated.


How about re-invigorating the coffee experience by, you know, being a coffee shop...

Venti Urnex Latte

The other problem with noise is that all the grinding, clanking, blending and beeping goes on in a space that is comprised entirely of hard surfaces. The new store decor in my region has backsplashes of tile squares, which is the harshest possible wallcovering. Our big plush chairs were taken away long ago. The terrible acoustic quality of the room amplifies the noise and makes a loud store louder.

Our grinders are all a decade old and have never been sharpened! So they are noisy and inefficient too!


I so wish I could have a Clover Starbucks store near me, and don't get me wrong, but due to the fact that I live in the Los Angeles area, there should be at least 1 store where there is a Clover. Well, there is NONE, ohhh of course... There are other independent coffee houses here which have them, but to read about Melody's Clover experiences makes me want one just the same. It must be wonderful to wait for a cup of Clover brewed Sumatra, and we have you, Melody, to confirm this, not to imagine the first sip of your cup, must be a dream! Intelligentsia Coffee in Silverlake has two Clovers and i've had two coffee cups from the Clover, but of course it was from their own special blends, they were wonderful of course, not to mention the experience of seeing the barista work through the process. I am just so eager to try a cup but using Starbucks coffee choices.

Store Regular

"Wow. All that noise of 3 seconds of grinding coffee every 8 minutes for 6.5 hours during the morning. It's SO hard to concentrate.

Posted by: !!!Answer me!!! | June 16, 2009 at 05:49 PM

Note sarcasm."

If that were the only unnecessary sound in a Starbucks I would be so happy. The place is so full of unnecessary noises. I didn't even list the dang beeping safe. Clang, bang, whirr, smack, bang, click, tap, beep, beep, clunk... over and over! Get rid of that crap and forget about the myth that coffee grinded seconds before brewing is that noticeable to 99 percent of your customers.

Store Regular


At the store I go to there is some handle or something on the grinder that they clang over and over. I guess this is used to completely empty it? I don't work there, but I hear it, over and over again.


Hmmm....if we worked in a library, I could see the noise problem. We work in a busy coffee shop with machinery that blends, grinds, brews.....
If we could come up with silent motors on this machinery, we would all be rich!

Starbucks Employee

So....are the people who are implementing these new standards, have they actually ever WORKED IN A STORE? This is going to be real fun come holiday. Oh wait......they will probably change it by then because speed of service will be affected! Like pulling shots of espresso into cups and not into shot glasses now!

Uncle Howie...ever hear of the law of diminishing returns? I challenge you to actually work in one of your stores again and try not to develop OCD!


how the hell is this supposed to be done with only 3 or even 2 people on the floor, as is the case in so many stores due to all the labor cuts...

Pat Nerr

haaaa... loving the comments on how inconvenient grinding COD will be. It's a wonder how the company was so successful in the past when they did the right thing for the coffee and the customers... how silly of them...


You can't have it both ways. Tons of people, in the past, have complained when Starbucks shipped pre-ground brew-ready coffee packages. Then they complained when stores ground huge batches in-store for the day.

This seems like it's a good thing for employees and customers. It gets Starbucks somewhat closer to where it started. I know I enjoy freshly ground brewed coffee versus pre-packs or old ground coffee.

How is this bad again?

Herman M

green_cup, you are right. Let's do it like we did back when there were a mere 600 stores. We can install bean drawers in all the stores, and grind coffee into reused 1/2# bags every evening so there will be preportioned coffee available in the morning. Of course, that was also in a place and time where there was no blender to be found in Starbucks. And despite the money that has made the company, I often find myself wondering "what if that enterprising manager in Santa Monica had been fired instead of immortalized?"

(and for once there is no sarcasm in a comment I post in a "what Starbucks is doing today" thread)


I don't care about the noise as long as they brew non-Pike all day long! Oh, wait. They aren't going to do that...


i don't think it was Santa Monica, the Frap is from Boston(Coffee Connection) and SBUX just bought it from them


@Store Regular - Yes, I think there is a handle that the baristas pull a couple of time before grinding beans which releases the last little bit of grounds from whoever used the grinder last. This is the clank clank sound you mention.

I have no doubt stores will find a way to make this new brew routine work. Something else will slide. Value walks? Bathrooms?

@HermanM - I've thought that often too. The barista in Santa Monica would surely be fired today and not a hero if the story of birth of the frappuccino were being replayed in 2009.

@the person who wants a Starbucks Clover ... The thing to remember about the Clover is that it is another brew method. Every time you change the brew method of a coffee, you change the flavor. It is NOT the same thing as an ordinary french press. Sure, many customers cannot tell the difference but many can. And many can. What makes it special for me is that it is Starbucks coffee through the Clover. I had bought a pound of Sumatra from Zoka's Coffee house, got it home and compared it to some Starbucks Sumatra already in the house. The beans were noticeably lighter! Not roasted as dark. I guess the Starbucks coffee drinkers would be the Guinness beer drinkers of the beer world.

Melody - reply to Jonas about Frappuccino history

@Jonas - If you read Pour Your Heart Into It you learn that the name comes from a Boston company. ("In June 1994 when we acquired The Coffee Connection in Boston, we inherited one their products called a Frappuccino, a cold slushy drink made from a soft-serve machine. We didn't like the drink but the name was perfect ...")

The drink and the Frappuccino story comes from Santa Monica where a district manager encouraged a store manager & others to experiment with cold blended drinks ... ("Dina Campion managed a district of about 10 Starbucks stores in and around Santa Monica, California. She and her store managers were becoming increasingly frustrated because nearby coffee bars were doing a great business with their granitas - sugary, blended coffee drinks ...") The frappuccino was basically invented in Santa Monica by SM Anne Ewing, and her ASM Greg Rogers.

Mark Graban

I was shocked, as a customer, that Starbucks grinds beans in big morning batches. Even as an amateur coffee aficionado, I would NEVER grind beans in advance at home.

I'm hoping this new process leads to fresher tasting coffee (and of course always having coffee available).

I'm not a "third place" person - I want the best tasting coffee possible to go.

It's tough when you obviously have different customer needs (grab and go vs third placers).


Anti-Cry Baby

As for the noise, you all are ridiculous! So think about a "real" coffeehouse....the tamping and banging of the portafilter on the counter, constant grinding of ESP, etc...on a La Marzocco. Nobody complained then of noise being an issue, and you all are probably the same load of people that think we should get rid of Verisimos! Obviously there are so many people that are so anit-sbux that absolutely nothing is good enough for them...get over it and stop crying about non-issues.

SBUX Alum Bill

I think there's a copy of the WSJ article that can be accessed without a subscription:

Read: At Starbucks, It's Back to the Grind

SBUX Alum Bill

Sorry about the above link. I've just been told that it's not accessible.

Venti Urnex Latte

@Answer Me:

It is not 3 seconds of grinding. Our grinder takes about 30 seconds.

And that noise, "every 8 minutes for 6.5 hours"? Think of all the ear damage the baristas are exposed to. The customers are in and out, for a short time, and are sitting far from the noisy machinery. The baristas are just inches away.

Nancy Luna

FYI: Starbucks appears to be closing this month many of the 200 stores slated for shuttering this year...http://fastfood.freedomblogging.com/2009/06/17/6-starbucks-in-oc-to-close-friday/24615/

Herman M.

No, it was definitely Santa Monica, remember it clearly. The name did come from our purchases in Boston at the same time however. After all, no one outside of New England would know what the heck a "frap" was. ;-)


Perfect!! Now brew bold coffee all day and I will consider returning as a serious customer. Even fresh-ground and brewed Pike is still below mediocre, at best!

Canuck Barista

@ Venti Urnex Latte:

The grinders aren't nearly noisy enough to cause ear damage. A diesel truck through a drive-thru headset is worse. Don't be a drama queen.

@ Store Regular:

Don't come into a coffee shop and then complain about the noise of a coffee shop. You want coffee? Beans have to be ground, and that make noise. You want a latte? Milk has to be steamed, and that makes sound too. Do you want change for the $20 bill you just used to pay for your short coffee? Well, we need to open the safe, and that makes noise. Perhaps you are confusing coffee shops with libraries.

As for everyone else - if this is the way we are told to do it, then that's the way we will learn to do it. As with everything else, we will find ways to adapt these new policies to our store needs. Remember guys and gals, at the end of the day - it's just coffee. Let's not get too bent out of shape about things.


Tried this again today with more success! But... I forsee problems. Did I read we're only using one timer for the eight minutes? I see a few potential problems with this:

1. What happens when the urns gets out of sequence... it's going to happen! What's to keep it from containing expired coffee in it?

2. How does this solve the problem of 4 Venti Morning Picks when we're supposed to still brew quarter batches?

Overall, though... I like the system. It keeps things organized. I'm just getting OCD/paranoid that when things get out of sequence chaos will ensue. But its Starbucks. What would Starbucks be without a little chaos? ... :D


The coffee we grind at opening and put in the container does NOT last long at all! It's not like we're grinding coffee and having it sit all day! Because coffee MUST be brewed every 30 minutes minimum, the coffee does not last long at all!


I would be ok with this method if we were given another person to help during the morning rush, but it's not happening! When the register person has long lines of people, as happens from 7am to 9am in my store, it's frustrating for them, and especially the customer who must be told to wait to be helped, while the register partner runs to dump coffee, grind another batch, shuffle coffee urns around, and brew, before we can finally come back and say "How may I help you?". Especially frustrating for a customer who's already been standing in line for a couple minutes, only to be put off while the partner has other duties. This used to only happen once every half hour, or as coffee ran out, but now it must happen every few minutes. That means many more customers told to wait at the register to be helped while the person who is supposed to be taking their order not only has to pay attention to sandwiches in the oven, toast pastries, or set up an oatmeal, but grind and brew every few minutes. This is slowing us down noticeably during rushes.

Like I said, it can work, and does work well when we've slowed down in keeping fresh-brewed coffee. However, if they're not going to compensate by giving us an extra partner in the morning to pay the coffee the constant attention it needs, it's making the experience worse, not better, and making baristas frustrated.


Laceration hazard prompts Starbucks to recall coffee grinders
Posted by Melissa Allison
Starbucks has received three reports of hand lacerations when the product -- sold as Starbucks Barista Blade Grinder and Seattle's Best Coffee Blade Grinder -- turned on unexpectedly during cleaning. The company has received 176 reports altogether of the grinder failing to turn off or turning on unexpectedly.

The coffee chain giant and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the voluntary recall of about 53,000 of the grinders. They were made by Tsann Kuen (Zhangzhou) Enterprise Ltd. of China.

They were sold at Starbucks and Seattle's Best Coffee stores nationwide from March 2002 through March 2009 for about $30.

Consumers should immediately stop using the grinders and contact Starbucks for a free replacement grinder at 866-276-2950 or here, where there's also a list of all the grinder colors and SKU (stockkeeping unit) numbers that were affected.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

Herman M

That just makes me want one even more. Won't ask why they had their fingers in it instead of using a brush, but the added element of dismemberment will make the cup taste all the better.


What's this? Do you spoodle the beans into the grinder or what? Then do you grind into a cup and pour it out onto the filter. If so, its not so bad.

ps: I don't know what's going on. Haha

mr sumatra

As a seed store here are some helpful hints:
assign the cadence to anyone except the reg partner
use an old steaming pitcher to capture grinds dump and go
make sure everyone does the same routine
whatever you are brewing its twin is sitting next to it
use only one sprayhead
assess your batching-this is problem solving-figure out when to ramp up and down-keep at it it makes sense

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