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Starbucks Improvement???

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  • kirkj Mar 19, 2008 06:38 AM
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Has anyone noticed anything different since the great training closure? I haven't. Its the same old latte made sloppily by indifferent people. It seems to me that all they wanted was a lot of free publicity about closing their stores to improve their service and product. Am I too cynical?

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  1. i wish they weren't getting rid of their hot breakfast sandwiches. Seems like a step backwards.

    2 Replies
    1. re: barleywino

      How could you offer breakfast sandwiches and not have salt, pepper, hot sauce, or catsup?

      1. re: kirkj

        now you're talking...they should open up a breakfast sandwich annex in a separate "no coffee" zone so that the smell of bacon/sausage/fried eggs/hot sauce isn't overpowered by their precious coffee aroma (and i'm talking real eggs, not precooked reconstituted egg sliders)

    2. If it's that bad, why do you continue to go?

      I don't know where you're located, but in Portland AND in Seattle, there's a better alternative to Charbucks in nearly every neighborhood. Why support a multinational chain with ownership mostly controlled by institutional investors and pension funds when you can support your local economy?

      12 Replies
      1. re: MichaelG

        I've patronized drive-up espresso shacks in towns too small for a stoplight and every one was better than the best beverage I've ever had from a Starbucks. In the PNW, there's simply no reason to go there.

        At this point, I think you'd have to be deep in the third world for Starbucks to be the best coffee option.

        1. re: terrier

          Actually, sometimes simply stepping out of the NW makes Starbucks the best option. And sometimes even, just heading out to the 'burbs makes Starbucks the best option.

          Starbucks is a reminder of how good we have it.

          1. re: sebetti

            Yep - My wife and I found it truly bizarre that we were unable to find any decent coffee in Berkeley last year and were unexpectedly grateful to find a Starbuck's. Eventually we discovered Tacubaya - the Taqueria of Dona Tomas, where the "Mexican Coffee" was very good, but we were mystified (advance-work next time, for sure), having thought that the Bay area was the seat of alll things hip.

            1. re: mrnelso

              is Cafe Fanny still open in Berkeley? One coffee-lover told me that it was the best coffee she had ever had

            2. re: sebetti

              I'll be in Oregon (central Oregon...Corvallis, the coastal areas and Crater Lake) in the summer on a vacation with friends/family and was wondering about good places for a coffee that aren't Starbucks. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

              1. re: WelcomeBack

                You'll likely have more luck posting this on the Pacific Northwest board.

                1. re: ccbweb

                  Thanks...I just happened to see the references to PNW coffee places....

              2. re: sebetti

                wow, where have you been traveling? i have yet to find myself in a place where starbucks is the best option for good coffee. maybe, "the only option that is open in the middle of the night, aside from the gas station."
                i'd have to agree with terrier on this one.

                1. re: dani_k

                  If you reread the above posts, I don't think you'll see any mention of Starbucks being considered good coffee. There really is worse out there. Much, much worse.

                  And at those drive thrus? After traveling across country, those are the last places I'd go; Most of them are operated by people who don't even know how to operate a Mr. Coffee. For every good drive thru there are 1 million really crappy ones.

                  1. re: sebetti

                    by good i meant drinkable-without-massive-stomach-problems, not good as in taste. sorry.
                    starbucks coffee actually makes me ill. for real. last time i had it, i made it about an hour before wanting to hurl my body from the moving vehicle traveling down the highway. it's that bad. it even happens if someone buys starbucks beans and brews them at home. i know because i've drank it "blind" before and after i wanted to off myself, asked what kind of coffee they made. now i always ask.

                    anyway, the point of my post is, i've had great coffee in out-of-the-way places outside the PNW. and maybe i haven't traveled enough, but i've yet to be in a place where starbucks is the "best option" for coffee. but maybe because starbucks is NEVER an option for coffee for me.

                  2. re: dani_k

                    Come to England. Most people consider instant coffee to be acceptable. Often when dining out, the coffee they serve is instant. Yuck.

                    1. re: nanette

                      gross.

            3. They've ticked me off again. The Seattle TV stations have given them more free publicity tonight by doing a "story" on Starbucks getting back to grinding(some of) its beans in store to create more coffee aroma. Of course they didn't credit anybody else who've always done that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kirkj

                Grinding the beans inside the store. Now that is a great idea!
                -BnF

              2. Actually....I have not "noticed" any difference, but the starbucks in my neighborhood is already GREAT! They go out of their way to make sure your coffee is made right, not sloppily like one poster said. Since this particular Starbucks opened in Freehold Township, NJ....they have improved a great deal. They are always friendly and if my cappucino is "heavier" than I wish it to be, they remake it w/out question (I dont like a lot of milk).

                3 Replies
                1. re: MishyPoo

                  PS...I heard they are getting rid of all the breakfast sandwhiches.

                  1. re: MishyPoo

                    Yes, this is true, but not until the end of the year. Look for some other improvements to come soon!

                    1. re: MishyPoo

                      Starbucks is trying to get back to their roots. Making good, quality coffee. They will be getting away from the breakfast sandwich things. Some comments say it even stinks up the coffee shops. A lot of the clutter (mugs, knick knacks, etc.) may be eliminated in Starbucks too. I wish them luck and do hope they get back to that special coffee shop feel. It will be tough in a market saturated with many superior stores.
                      -BnF

                  2. You're not cynical at all. Expresso drinks are still the same, it all still depends on the barista. The only difference is I now know that if you're not happy with your drink you can ask them to remake it. Although, I don't know if I ever would at a Starbucks in the middle of Manhattan when patrons are lined up out the door.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: mepm231

                      "expresso"?

                      I got a doppio at Starbucks yesterday, and it sucked ass. Horrible, 10-second pull,

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        ...and you didn't complain or ask for another one?

                        They thought they did it to your liking and won't learn they are doing it incorrectly.

                        Nobody's fault but yours.

                        1. re: Cathy

                          Yeah, that's right Cathy, it was "my" fault. Because most people love underextracted espresso.

                          1. re: John Manzo

                            Point was, as mentioned above, they have signs posted that if you are not happy, they will re- do it. They have always wanted you to be satisfied. You always could ask for a re-do if you did not like what you got.

                            All you did was complain -here- not there.

                            1. re: Cathy

                              I didn't complain per se but I did comment on it- "I thought your machines were reprogrammed for 18-second pulls" and she looked at me like I was from Mars. I don't see what complaining would do.

                              At a place that's standardised every drink should be acceptable. I didn't see anything but normal, poor operating procedure, and that included the horrid overstretched milk on the "latte" for the person ahead of me.

                              In Canada, it looks like nothing has changed.

                              1. re: John Manzo

                                the machines are not calibrated to automatically pull any length of espresso ( not eSpresso) shots. They still are supposed to be timed every hour to maintain the consistancy of quality. If you dont like the way your drink tastes you are encouraged to bring it back and have one made to your standards.

                                1. re: momof3

                                  sorry tried to correct the spelling from eXpresso to eSpresso

                                  1. re: momof3

                                    The machines at buck's are supposed to be calibrated regularly and when I worked there they rarely were due to untrained employees. Most of the time they would just continue to run the machine until the service guy came in about once a month and then tell him so he could calibrate it.

                            2. re: Cathy

                              Nah, no way. They made a defective product (bad service).

                          2. re: mepm231

                            Wow. I never knew they served "Expresso". I always order an Espresso :)

                          3. A new starbucks just opened near me and the employees there are excellent. They are very willing to help and re-make drinks, suggest items, etc. I think the newer staff are being trained the "classic" starbucks way that we all love and remember. Maybe those that were trained within the last two years just dont get it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sunkissedbabe43

                              Spinach and cheddar scone, or bacon.cheddar and egg on a non Thomas english muffin..Grande save room for the half and half...

                              Three times a week, and i'm happy 'VERY HAPPY"

                            2. I too read about the "back to basics" moves...they mentioned free drip refills, 2 hrs of free wi-fi, new espresso machines and latte upgrades. Has anyone gotten any of these things yet? I couldn't believe that they don't grind their own beans and how automated the machines are!! I worked at SBux in Boston during college, I guess it was the good ole days.

                              1. today they were giving away free drip coffee. I had one, it was lukewarm. oh well it was free. I still think their sandwiches are bloody awful.

                                1. Their ridiculous switch this week to no dark roast drip available after 12 noon is far from an improvement. The Pike Place Roast that is now their only afternoon offering is weak and unpleasant, and the Starbucks next door to my work has lost at least one daily customer due to their decision to no longer offer a choice. Guess I'll have to start brewing my own!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Vaya Con Carne

                                    No dark roast after noon? That truly is asinine. If they're trying to copy Dunkin Donuts and serve weak coffee why don't they just go all out and change their logo to an orange and purple color palate and add stale pastries? That actually might work here in New England.

                                  2. Shortly after the "training" the SB in my (big corporate office) building started handing you little tri-fold cards if you used a starbucks card to pay, which talk about the "benefits" of registering your card, such as a free tall coffee with purchase of a pound of beans and free refills of brewed coffee "while you're in the store." Ever since then, my co-workers and I have been going down in the afternoon with our paper cups from the morning and asking for the free refill, which was handed over with no questions asked.

                                    Today they refused to give me a free refill and wouldn't even do a 50c refill because I wasn't "in the store" when I drank the 1st cup. Ours is a huge office building and the starbucks is just an extended couple of counters in the corner in the lobby. They have a few tables out in front of the counters but it's not exactly a good place to hang out because the building lobby is huge and marble and you have to shout to be heard, not to mention there are always people coming and going right next to you in and out of line for coffee, so we always just take ours up to our floor. Getting in an elevator and riding up to my floor and drinking my coffee there apparently makes me "not in the store" AND despite the fact that I am a regular customer with an always filled and registered starbucks card, all I got was a "we didn't explain the policy right" when I pushed back about getting my free refill.

                                    WTFBBQ.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                      On their website, the policy states:
                                      Do I have to present my Starbucks Card in order to get a free refill?
                                      Yes. You will have to present your Card to the barista. Brewed coffee refills are for customers who are spending time in our stores.

                                      Sounds like you got a bunch of free coffee....cool. But if you were getting coffee in the morning and then going back down from your office in the afternoon, that sounds a bit much to me. Doesn't seem so reasonable to pay $1.50 and expect coffee for the whole day.

                                    2. I understand that it's very fashionable to bash Starbucks these days, however, that being said, since they did their re-training I have found the shots to be much stronger in my lattes, almost as strong as when they were using the hand press gadget to make all of the shots (before the automated machines took over). On the other hand, their cappaccinos are pretty bad.