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Jan 17, 2007 03:38 PM

How can I get a good cup of coffee at Starbucks?

After years of not going anywhere near Starbucks I've become a regular visitor. Not because I love the coffee but because it is the only place in my neighborhood where I can sit and work with a cup of coffee. The problem is that whatever I do, I can't stand the coffee. The regular coffees are hot watery, a regular latte tastes like warm milk, a double latte tastes like nothing on earth, that cappucino is undrinkable, I am totally challenged when it comes to the other complicated orders that people around me seem to delight in ordering ("Cinnamon Dolce Creme Latte," well, I say what?). I made the mistake of switching to the chai tea latte and got a cup full of sugary water. The only thing worth drinking is the chai tea bag tea.

I don't care what I get, I just want it to be drinkable. Any suggestions?

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  1. Can't be done. Starbucks stopped using good coffee when they expanded out of Seattle. You may as well ask how you can get a good cup of coffee out of Yuban.

    1. Ask them where the local coffee shop is and go there!

      when I have to go to's a regular house coffee - make sure it's fresh and very hot...little room for cream and it usually works.

      1. I think Starbucks' espresso is much better than their coffee. Order an americano with extra room so that it won't be too watery.

        11 Replies
        1. re: melon

          Agreed - the americanos are much better than their regular coffees. This is probably the way for gumnaam to go.

          1. re: LulusMom

            This is exactly what I was going to suggest.

            By and large, I go for an Americano whenever I'm ordering a coffee anywhere ... the flavor is just superior to whatever "medium coffee" they are brewing.

            If nothing else, an Americano is brewed fresh, it hasn't been sitting in a coffee pot for hours.

            My preference is an Americano black or an Americano with a splash of soy (just to cool it off a bit).

            1. re: PaulF

              The drip coffee is replaced every 20 or 30 minutes.

              1. re: a_and_w

                At Starbucks ... but I was referencing the "anywhere" part of my post.

                1. re: a_and_w

                  Actually there is a timer on every pot of daily coffee ( bold, regulr and decaf) and after one hour, if it is not gone, it is replaced.

                  1. re: Cathy

                    I stopped ordering drip coffee at all of my local Starbucks because the people who work there are so lazy, they just let the coffee sit until a customer comes in, then they check it and tell you you have to wait 4 to 5 minutes for a fresh pot, this after having to stand in a long line. I know they're SUPPOSED to change it regularly, but it's been my experience that they seldom do and the coffee is revolting.

                    1. re: Fuser

                      I have a friend who is deaf and her tastebuds are far more refined/sensitive than mine are- you know, lose one sense and the others make up for it-. She takes back poorly made frapps, capps, and coffees and they will re-make and usually give her a coupon for next one free. They do want you to be happy. Don't be afraid to complain if it is made badly.

                      1. re: Fuser

                        Fuser - this sounds like a management issue at one particular location. If the manager is anywhere near reasonable and wishes to keep their job (unless it's a Sodexho-hosted store at the airport, grocery store, bookstore or university), they will deal with the problem ASAP. Believe it or not, there are fairly rigorous quality-control measures in place to ensure this does not happen on a regular basis. Before the automated-machine days for pulling espresso, grind was to be checked every hour and shots timed (although in my experience, this did not happen). I do not know, however, what the policy is on the new machines.

                2. re: LulusMom

                  I have to strenuously disagree re the Americanos being better than the regular coffee. My experience is you have to get several shots in your Americano to make it taste as strong as a similarly-sized cup of regular coffee.

                  If the drip isn't doing it for you, consider getting a double or triple "short" (it's not listed on the menu but they still carry it) cappucinno.

                  1. re: a_and_w

                    I also vote for the americano. It's the only thing I drink.

                    1. re: a_and_w

                      and ask them to steam the milk fresh.

                3. Given that you don't like the coffee at a coffee establishment, I would think you're abit out of luck, regardless of what "suggestions" people offer. From what I've seen, people either 'drink Starbucks' or 'don't drink Starbucks.' If you don't like their coffees, lattes, teas, and cappucinnos, what's left? Sandwiches?

                  My suggestion - find a Mud truck.

                  1. Thanks guys. Rocknrope, I just want to know how to order a good cup of coffee. As I said in my post, I do like their chai tea in a tea bag, but it took a lot of trial and error to discover that there was such a thing. If you've ever visited a Starbucks, you'll notice that the choices are many and complex, daunting to a newby like me, and some help in complexity reduction is what I am looking for. Something similar to Viennese coffee would be great, as also would a good espresso (unfortunately, they don't serve espresso in espresso cups though you can get regular sizes in a cup if you ask). I guess what I am asking for is help in translating Starbucks lingo into regular coffee language.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: gumnaam

                      No worries, sorry if I came off snarky, I realized that after I read what I wrote.

                      1. re: gumnaam

                        Yes, most of the Starbucks (at least in the Phoenix or Seattle area) do serve espresso in espresso cups. You just need to tell them that the espresso or doppio espresso is "for here". You may need to repeat it to the server since most of the 'buck drones are indoctrinated to serve coffee in “to go” cups. Coffee (especially an espresso shot) is meant to be served in a porcelain cup.