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October 18, 2011

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Northwest

Once again.......boring.

Waltie

Um... of course it was reported here first. That's because you encourage Starbucks partners to leak confidential company information.

Yep

here we go...

I'll take a tall blonde...

DC

Dude, veranda was THE weakest cup of coffee I've ever tried. Remember blackberry Hint water? Its like that, water with a hint of coffee.

So I understand it's to capture the light roast crowd, but anyone else remember LiteNote Blend? It obviously didn't sell enough to stick around, I wonder what made them think we need to try super mild again.

TheRootinator

Because super mild coffees can be freaking amazeballs when they're done correctly. I've heard Willow kicks Veranda out of the park in a taste comparison.

Plus, it might seem weak to you. I'm sure other people might disagree.

Ian

Perhaps this is going to be the type of coffee that you would put coffee creamer in, in order to only taste the creamer? I don't know.

adoubleshotofclarity

Jim, let us know where to send the get well soon card. I wish you a speedy recovery from excessively patting yourself on the back.

baristamclane

Finally! A coffee from the Starbucks lineup that is so mild that it just might appeal to the canned coffee enthusiasts...

me

Starbucks customers are retarded.

"Mild coffee=for pussies", "Only *real* coffee enthusiasts can appreciate a cup of french roast."

It's bullshit. Starbucks coffee is OVER ROASTED sludge. Go to a proper coffee shop. Drink their coffee and realize that there is something beyond what you believe is "coffee taste"

Waltie

I'm a coffee drinker. I love coffee. I drink it black. I take it seriously, am very knowledgeable, and love the flavor of a strong, dark cup.

HOWEVER

Coffee snobs embarrass me. If some people like super light coffee, that's fine. If some people like McDonald's coffee, that's fine. If some people like Folger's, that's fine. I don't, but that doesn't mean I have a more refined palate, that I'm more sophisticated, or any of the other stupid things you'll hear people say. It simply means they like the taste of whatever it is they drink.

Not liking strong coffee -- or preferring coffee that some others might consider bland -- doesn't say anything about your intelligence, sophistication, or worth as a human being. However, if you judge people based on what they drink, it definitely says a whole lot about you.

So bring on the Blonde. Starbucks is putting it out because they think some people will enjoy it and start buying it. How people think they can twist that into a bad thing is beyond me.

frapatte

Agreed waltie. Coffee snobs are as terrible as music snobs. Science has already long-ago determined that we as humans have slight chemical differences in our senses which lead us to interpret taste or sound or so on differently. So if you like this coffee and he likes that coffee, who gives a crap? If people ram into Starbucks everyday then you can't complain that Starbucks is "overroasted crap", it's something people enjoy. If people crowd drivethrus for MxDonalds coffee everyday then you can't complain about the crowd that likes "brown water", it tastes good to them and so that's what they drink. Really this never-ending argument over the best/right way to roast and drink a friggin bean is a silly reflection on humanity in general.

Jim Romenesko

>>>>Jim, let us know where to send the get well soon card. I wish you a speedy recovery from excessively patting yourself on the back.

No need; I'm doing just fine -- and working on another GREAT Sbux story. (I've previously said that this site is for sale; if Sbux want to buy it, they can post their propaganda here. Until then, it's business as usual, including advance notice of official announcements.)

SoCalSbuxBarBeasta

Hey was there any thing on the portal informing partners of the Blonde roast before Starbucks announced it to the public? Normally my SM will post a barista need to know FAQ sheet but I didn't see any thing about it until they announced it

Tired of This

I generally never fully agree with Waltie. However, I agree with Waltie, Starbucks wouldn't introduce this product if they didn't think there was a certain level of demand for it.

Tired of This

Jim,

I for one appreciate this site since I feel that the corporate communication often falls short. I learn more about the upcoming programs from this site than from the company.

slaw275

@SoCal,
Generally a need to know would be put out a little closer to the launch date of January 10th, but we actually do have one at my store. I think the company realized that we need a lot of time to get all of the partners aware so they really gave us a lot of advance notice =)

baristamclane

I'm not implying that mild roasts are for whimps, although Starbucks did spend many years implying that grocery store brands were not only inferior in flavor, but in quality as well. So if you call me a coffee snob, just keep in mind I learned it from the Siren.

Starbucks has also been trying to expand it's customer base by tapping into other coffee drinking demographics, hence VIA and flavor infused coffee. My in-laws live off of Maxwell House, and the biggest complaint I heard from them about Starbucks beans was that they were "too strong." I imagine this resonates with other canned coffee drinkers, and it seems to be a sensible business move to try attracting these customers by offering a milder roast. Do I think it will be successful? I have my doubts. But then again, I'm a bit resentful (and therefore biased) because these new coffees are taking the place of two of my preferred beans.

Pikes h8r

Maybe starbucks is trying to make amends for adopting that god awful pikes place crap as their daily"mild" coffee. I am a mild to medium coffee drinker and loved whatever starbucks served me on a daily basis until they turned to that pikes place crap as their regular brew. Now I avoid starbucks every chance I get and am sadly disappointed when it is my only choice of coffee shop to patronize.

Waltie

"I am a mild to medium coffee drinker and loved whatever starbucks served me on a daily basis until they turned to that pikes place crap as their regular brew. Now I avoid starbucks every chance I get and am sadly disappointed when it is my only choice of coffee shop to patronize."

You know you don't have to order Pike Place, right? You can request a cup of any coffee we have in stock, prepared via pour over or french press. If you love those coffees and can get them all the time, you have no reason to avoid Starbucks. Just a tip.

Shifted

@Waltie - well said! (and you know I usually disagree with you).

My only concern is that to bring out these new roasts, they will reduce the variety of existing roasts that are available. It is a little deceptive for them to say "we're expanding our lineup" when you're also reducing it.

frapatte

Waltie, to be fair, requesting either one of those will result in a longer time spent waiting. And many stores don't have pour-over anymore -- yes yes, it's a company initiative and everyone should technically have it fully available and running, but they don't. Entire districts have canned the program. So then your only option is french press, which of course takes several minutes just to get ready. And that's if you happen to go to a store with employees that actually know how to do a proper press (I've had to re-educate so many people on the basics in just several near-by stores). Starbucks should really be putting more effort into making sure their partners are trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of our coffee...but even the training program has been LEANified and places much more emphasis on "How fast can you get this drink out" versus "How much do you know about how this drink should be made?"

Waltie

Saying Starbucks as a company is bad because some partners don't know how to make a French Press is like saying ABC is a bad channel because some actor who appeared in an episode of Lost was a bad actor. What's your point?

My point is this person has options beyond just ordering something he or she knows they don't like and then going online and complaining about the flavor.

frapatte

You'll notice nothing in my post said that Starbucks was bad for this fact, merely that it seems that they should be making sure that these sorts of errors don't occur on a wide scale as I have seen in my area. My point was that the options you presented to this person may not even be good options for him as the stores around him may not have a pour-over option nor employees knowledgeable enough to do a quality french press. Likewise Starbucks really makes very little effort to point out these options, so really are you so surprised that most people would just rather complain or seek out other companies rather than trying to navigate their way through Starbucks into better coffee?

Waltie

French Press is on the menu, and every store should have the signs up for bold and medium roast coffees from open until close.

I'm offering solutions that, according to company policy, should be provided at every store in the United States. You're saying that because a few stores have poorly trained partners or are under the purview of DMs who don't understand proper policy, there's no point in suggesting anything.

 sbuxchick

~Pour over has not been done away with. That is a load. ~Ever partner is trained in making french presses and has to try all the coffees in this way in very short order. You have not "educated" anyone. Maybe a little less french roast for you buddy.

TheRootinator

Hey, Sbuxchick.

I'm a four-month old partner. I've been in this industry for more than 2 and a half years and I like to think I'm pretty damn knowledgeable when it comes to the products as well as our business. Since being here, I've even ended up showing a partner or two some things they didn't know about their own company (these are multi-year partners, by the way).

Guess what. I haven't been trained to make a french press. Sort of trained to do a pourover. Those computer modules about food temp and the Starbucks experience? Peh. You're kidding, right? My SM avoided putting me through it, and I still have yet to touch it...save for the MyLearning modules I found thanks to some informed partners in districts far away from mine.

Coffee tastings? No.
Beverage repeatable? My store doesn't follow it, but I try to.
Cadence? No. We're just getting there thanks to our new DM.

Waltie's right. Every store is initially set up to accommodate almost any request our customer base can throw at us. It's up to our management teams and retail partners to keep that ball rolling. In my case, that ball seems to have been dropped a good while ago.

So, yeah. You're right. Pourover's still here and Starbucks isn't a bad company. Every partner is *intended* to be trained about presses and *intended* to sample all of our coffees before being put on the floor. Unfortunately, I'm finding that more and more managers are opting out of that in favor of getting new hires on the floor as soon as possible.

Y'know. Why wait? It's all about moving Onward.

James Connolly

The way we make pourover makes for mediocre coffee. I don't like serving it because the majority of the time the customer will end up bringing the cup back.

I'm not opposed to the whole bean realignment, mainly because it'll make things simpler when people are grabbing whole bean. Haven't tried Willow Blend, but Veranda wasn't particularly impressive, even accounting for how blown out my palate is right now.

frapatte

sbuxchick, maybe another cup of coffee will do you so that you can utilize some proper reading comprehension. Oh, and saying "every partner is trained to use a press" doesn't really jive with the fact that many people can tell you otherwise. Keep saying that though, maybe it'll be true if you post it again.

Argentius

@sbuxchick they still serve coffee at SBUX, not koolaid, right?

And, I enjoy a good coffee press as much as anyone -- it is what I prepare at home -- but I would prefer not to wait the additional seven to ten minutes it takes to prepare.

As for pourover -- whatever the policy is, this does not happen at many stores. At some, it does. Regardless, I have tried Starbucks pourovers a few times and was not impressed with the results. I think the water cooled too much before the process finished.

The reduction in the single-origin coffees is one of my big sighs of disappointment with SBUX, though I do understand it as the company evolves from specialty coffee to "high-end fast food," or whatever you'd like to call the niche also touched by, say, Panera.

I remember being disappointed by Lightnote, too.

I have had some fabulous SBUX coffees. When I can get Brazil Ipanema Bourbon, I am a big fan. Of course, Mocha Java. I had a delicious Panama recently at a Clover store that almost gave me hope -- until I realized that the Clover thing existed in SBUX mostly to keep others from having it.

I really, really like dark-roasted coffee. Not the over-the-top, no body left dark of a French or a Verona, but, the standard two-pop roast that Peet's, Tullys, and Starbucks all do, is pretty good.

It's not the only thing I like. Stumptown's "full city" roast coffees are amazing, I enjoy Seattle's Lighthouse and was a big fan of SF's Ritual last I visited.

So, yeah, I have hope for Blonde. But, I am not holding my breath.

Frasier

I've tried the veranda and personally being a bold-coffee drinker i hated it. I can see though how it is going to attract a new market of people. It just tastes very light and without the citrusy notes that breakfast blend has. Definetely a good replacement for pike which tastes like burned charcoal.

James Connolly

Lightnote was truly one of the worst coffees that the company ever put out, with the exception of, say, the original Fair Trade. When you ground it, it smelled like...potatoes or something. Veranda is better, but not by much. And Argentius' complaint about our pourovers is pretty much my main issue with it. The coffee doesn't come out hot enough.

short drip

About a month ago I posted an inquiry about "Veranda Blend". My husband, former Sbux licensed stores DM recievd a case in the mail for "training purposes". I tasted it and it was disgusting. I have been drinking Sbux Verona and others for about 15 years. This was the worst coffee ever.
I didnt even "gift" the remaining sample pounds of coffee. I didnt even donate it. It was that bad.

I have had "milder dimensions" line up and know all about the other milder coffees. (I am a former director) but this was THE WORST. So sad. what a waste of beans and labor.

I tried to give it away but I could not think of one peron in the world finding this appealing.

Lisa

I am glad to work at a store where we value everything Starbucks does - what it says inside our apron matters and we take it seriously. I know how to make a French press and pourover is always offered - "Just say yes" means just that and we work everyday to the ideals of the Green Apron handbook.

This is all in regards to people doubting Starbucks as of late -I am sure there are stores with less respectibility, but Starbucks is important to all partners at my store. (Well, I should probably say most. You get your lazy people everywhere.)

That being said, I hope this light roast will bring a different demographic of people (as I am sure Starbucks intends). My mother dislikes Starbucks because it is too strong for her so I am excited to get her to try it. Also, lighter roasts have more caffeine because the less intense roasting process leaves more of the caffeine in - for us caffeine junkies, we should rejoice! :)

datedotit

"...Also, lighter roasts have more caffeine because the less intense roasting process leaves more of the caffeine in - for us caffeine junkies, we should rejoice..."

Not really - the difference is marginal.

datedotit

I was part of the original partner focus groups that tasted these coffee's earlier this year. Only one of the blends tasted halfway decent - and one of them had even more acidity than breakfast blend. HEARTBUN CITY!

I would not go out of my way to purchase any of them., not would I recommend them to Folger's drinker's.

That said, every partner in the room had an issue with calling them "blonde". It either reminder us of beer, or some were afraid of the "tall blonde" jokes.

Once again - Starbucks didn't listen to their partners and we have a sub-par product with a silly name on the market.

Way to go dummies in Seattle!!!!

A Natural Blonde

Well said, Waltie:
"I'm a coffee drinker. I love coffee. I drink it black. I take it seriously, am very knowledgeable, and love the flavor of a strong, dark cup.

"HOWEVER

"Coffee snobs embarrass me. If some people like super light coffee, that's fine. If some people like McDonald's coffee, that's fine. If some people like Folger's, that's fine. I don't, but that doesn't mean I have a more refined palate, that I'm more sophisticated, or any of the other stupid things you'll hear people say. It simply means they like the taste of whatever it is they drink.

"Not liking strong coffee -- or preferring coffee that some others might consider bland -- doesn't say anything about your intelligence, sophistication, or worth as a human being. However, if you judge people based on what they drink, it definitely says a whole lot about you.

"So bring on the Blonde. Starbucks is putting it out because they think some people will enjoy it and start buying it. How people think they can twist that into a bad thing is beyond me.


Me too.

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