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Feb 15, 2008 05:37 AM

Starbuck's "Ghetto Latte" "Poor Man's Latte" "Fake Latte"?

hounds, what are your thoughts? i normally just get a venti drip and add half and half. i think this bucky's barista would be ok with that......

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    1. As a star-partner, I really don't care about those "create-your-own-lattes". People like to adjust their coffees, thats why the condiment bar is there. They aren't cheating me personally. What bothers me is rude, entilted customers, who think just because we wear a green apron, we are idiots and speak to us accordingly.
      We do have a "just say yes" policy so when someone orders something like that....guess what we say?

      3 Replies
      1. re: momof3

        I used to always order a Venti drip and then pour out about a third so that I can fit my milk. Then I overheard a lady one day order a grande in a venti cup, I never knew we were allowed to do that. I hope the baristas don't think I'm being cheap. It was the perfect fix to my problem, I don't waste coffee and have room for my milk.

        1. re: moymoy

          while i don't use that much half and half, i heard others ask the server to "leave room" for the half and half -- so no coffee will be dumped, then, one day the server suggested getting the grande in a venti cup,

          1. re: moymoy

            i used to do that all the time when i biked to work because that was the only way it would not spill off while i biked.

        2. I hardly think that Starbucks is hurting when a customer uses a dime's worth of half and half in their drink. If you apply the logic used in the article - that people should "pay" for extras like cream and sugar - shouldn't the people who drink their coffee black get some kind of refund?

          No restaurant I've even been to restricts the amount of condiments you can use - heck, I'd have gotten kicked out of Chick Fil A long before now if that was the case, since I'm a complete ketchup addict when it comes to their waffle fries. If the establishment can't afford heavy usage, and yes, in some cases a degree of abuse, then perhaps they shouldn't have a self-serve condiment bar available.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Suzy Q

            >>No restaurant I've even been to restricts the amount of condiments you can use <<

            The one that seems to restrict cream is Tim Horton's in Canada where they won't give you creamers but do it "for you".

            1. re: jlawrence01

              Tim's doesn't have creamers or sugar for the taking, but they don't restrict the amount you can get. However, knowing how much cream and sugar to ask for is tricky if you aren't a regular customer. They use 18% cream.

              1. re: embee

                But how do you describe how much you want. My l"a little bit of cream" may not equal yours ...

                1. re: jlawrence01

                  There's a numeric code. It lacks the pretension and complexity of the Starbuck's language (for which they printed a dictionary a couple of years ago), but a code it is nonetheless:-) You state how many shots of cream and sugar you want.

                  The base is called a "double double", which is (as you'd suspect) two shots of cream and two shots of sugar.

                  The most common order is a "large double double" which, by US standards, is a small, light coffee with two heaping teaspoons of sugar.

                  So you discover, through trial and error, how much cream and sugar you want in a given size cup. I might order a medium (very small by US standards), 3 cream (I'm not a Tim's fan and drink it only lacking an alternative), no sugar.

                  Since, at least in Toronto, English is not spoken or understood well, at most Tim's locations, the concept of "a little bit of cream" definitely wouldn't work. I assume one could order milk (probably 2%), but I've never heard this done.

                  1. re: embee

                    Geez, another code that I have to learn.

                    1. re: embee

                      What, no mention of how you all immediately thought of In-N-Out when you saw "double double" even though it's a thread about coffee? ;-)

                      1. re: embee

                        I don't see why you would say that the "base is called a double double". Base, it would seem, is black coffee and people then get what they want in it.

                        And at Tim Hortons, if you are buying several coffees to go, they will just give you a separate cup of cream and a bunch of sugar so people can add their own. And yes, they have milk, they have sweetener, etc. It's a real coffee shop... I get coffee there daily, and hear a wide variety of orders, not just the stupied "double double" steroetype that people who don't freqent the place think is the only way to drink TH coffee.

                        1. re: Dan G

                          I'm not being facetious, nor am I stereotyping. In my experience, almost everyone lined up at a Tim's (and the lines are often very long) who orders a hot coffee asks for a large double double. I suppose it depends on the specific location, but that has been my experience, at many locations, since forever.

                          While I don't love Tim's coffee, I'll risk my CH reputation to state that their food is much better than the food sold at Starbuck's.

                          1. re: embee

                            I've never set foot inside a Tim Horton's, but that's a sucker bet - ANYBODY'S food is better than the food at Starbucks!

                            1. re: Suzy Q

                              The Tim Horton's located in Canada are very good. The ones located in the US have terrible food - frozen bagels, donuts, etc.

              2. my niece works pt at starbuck's. she said:
                "Interesting. We do not have this at our store that I know of. I am sure it will catch on here soon enough....How cheap!!!! But hey, you gotta hand it to the frugal folks for paying what the price should be in the first place. I mean...come on...$10 for 5 shots of coffee and some milk. I will have to remember this when I no longer work there and get my drinks for free."

                2 Replies
                1. re: alkapal

                  "Frugal." What a nice spin on it. Frugal, it seems to me, would be making one's own coffee at home where it's far far less expensive.

                  Not sure who is to decide what the price "should" be in the first place. The price at Starbucks, just as with at any retail shop, is what they set the price. These folks have found a way to game the system as it's set up, so apparently more power to them.

                  I don't know about the rest of you, but milk is pretty expensive these days where I buy it (the grocery store). It's certainly less per gallon for a large (huge) operation like Starbucks but lets not pretend its trivial. If you don't like the price Starbucks (or any other coffee shop charges), don't buy the product.

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    From a brief experience in the high end coffee business, I believe it's fair to say that "condiments" cost much more than coffee. However, Starbuck's is selling an "environment" rather than just a straight product, and there is sufficient margin in their pricing to tolerate a very flexible attitude.

                2. I find that whole story annoying. It is entertaining, dont get me wrong, but I just feel bad for the baristas that have to deal with this.
                  I am one of those people that get black coffees and when i have to stand in line behind millions of people ordering non fat extra whip no foam quad whatevers it drives me insane. God bless you guys with patience :)

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: jroxybabe19

                    While I do feel sympathetic to the people behind the counter, Starbuck's overtly - and strongly - encourages this kind of ordering. It's really annoying to me when the person taking my order "corrects" my terminology when repeating the order to the barista. It's undoubtedly also annoying to the employee who must deliver the compulsary correction.

                    I'd like a small dark brewed please will, likely as not, return a comment such as "sir, you mean a short bold". An order for a large tangerine is corrected to something like "a grande tangerine frappucino blended juiced tea beverage". Oy. When I saw their dictionary, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

                    1. re: embee

                      i got one a few years back -- thought it was hilarious!

                      1. re: embee

                        No one has ever corrected me directly and I'd be really annoyed if they did (along the lines of your "sir, you mean. . .") but it's obvious that they have a system for how drinks are described. Yes, it can sound silly and the more complex and customized the drink, the longer and fussier and more mockable the name. But I can see the point of the system. If you say things in the right order it helps to avoid missing something. I can absolutely see how the standardization helps with accuracy and specificity. I'm a regular customer with a regular drink. If you think about it, you can even see the logic in the order, to some extent. (Yes, I may be spending too much time in Starbucks.)

                        Now, if I could just get them to consistently make a latte with the proper proportions of steamed milk and foam, I'd be happy.

                        1. re: marcia2

                          I've never been corrected, either. That would chap me in a major way. We must have a severe lack of snooty baristas around here, because I've always found the Starbucks staff to be very pleasant.

                          1. re: Suzy Q

                            Most of the people working there are very nice. At the Starbuck's I find myself in most often, I can think of only two people (of many on various shifts) who aren't pleasant. I think "nice" may be a hiring criterion (no sarcasm intended). But I have been corrected directly - sometimes with a smile or even a laugh; sometimes very earnestly.

                        2. re: embee

                          No one should be 'correcting' you; however, they have to call the order out to the bar partner or confirm it back to you correctly; by using a standardized terminology, drinks will be made to standard (granted a low standard, perhaps) by any of tens of thousands of partners anywhere in the country.

                          1. re: xanadude

                            They really do correct, almost religiously at some stores. Perhaps there is some regional or local management influence here rather than an all abiding corporate policy.

                            In another vein, I recognize that Starbuck's is a much better employer than many other similar businesses. But do you REALLY feel you are a "partner" rather than a lowly employee? I've generally found that businesses in North America that emphasize their "partners" or "associates" or "team members" feel this small psychological trick somehow compensates for things such as poor salaries and benefits.

                            1. re: embee

                              I know a few Starbucks baristas and they really do love working for the company. Part-time employees get the same benefits as full-time, including stock options.