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Starbucks Pet Peeve

I rarely patronize Starbucks, but when I do, I go for the simple coffees. Lately there has been a disturbing trend when I go in at 7 am to a grande coffee. They run out of the one that I want, and sometimes they will top it off with another flavor. Remember now they have three types of coffee.. light medium and dark. Mixing especially the dark with the medium (which has happened on more than one occasion) significantly changes the flavor of the coffee. Has anyone else run into this? I usually am so annoyed that even when I have been asked if I want to wait for another batch to be brewed I tell them to mix or top off. Are they brewing smaller batches now that they have three? I am seriously tempted to just give up on this chain completely, (and thankfully Doylestown, PA has several independent coffee shops to consider, though not as convenient as the starbucks.).

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  1. I think their coffee tastes like cigarette ash... not that I've eaten cigarette ash. Anyway, it's gross. I say venture out into the unknown.

    6 Replies
    1. re: LN2008

      Haha, not to defend starbucks, but it DOES NOT taste like cigarette ash, TRUST ME!

      1. re: gmk1322

        to each his own, it's still disgusting.

        1. re: gmk1322

          I think cigarette ash is a perfect description, myself.

          1. re: coll

            I agree 100%. Add me to the cigarette ash contingent.

          1. re: LN2008

            Such an apt description! I have always said their coffee tastes like burnt paper.
            I'm from the east coast though, so what do I know about coffee anyway?

          2. Starbucks operates like any other corporate quick serve business. Procedures are set in place, tested, retested then training is given from the top down and verified and documented. If the management or crew at any individual store decide they are not going to follow procedure then the product suffers and the customer gets the substandard result. Happens everyday everywhere in this great nation of ours.

            1. Have you tried commenting to the store manager or corporate customer service? I've always gotten good results doing that.

              1. Vote with your feet! Find another coffee purveyor! This is what competition is all about -- I wouldn't even contact the manager unless you absolutely want to stay with SBux and want this sorted out. I'd just go down the road and meet my local small businessperson.
                Now, having gone to Sbux across from my workplace for a while off and on, I've found that this is pretty common. I think there is an underestimation with respect to coffee consumption and they don't put more on fast enough, meaning you either get half or 2/3 of a cup or it is topped off with another roast (unless you want to wait for a fresh brew). This doesn't really bug me as I'm not that into coffee (just the caffeine LOL) but I can see how it would be annoying if you have a strong preference for one roast over another.

                1. DEFINITELY tell the manager. They should never do this unless they ask you; the choice should be "Do you want me to top this off with another coffee, or do you want to wait for a new batch? It'll be about 5 minutes." The other option that every Starbucks should offer you is a "pour over" -- they'll make you a fresh cup of any coffee in the house.

                  1. So. On multiple occasions, you have been offered to wait for a fresh batch to be brewed and you instead tell them to mix/top off and now are complaining about the flavor of that mixed batch.

                    What would you like them to do? They have offered to give you exactly what you want.

                    1. Is the Saxby's there still open? We like it much better than Sbux, and are sad that the one in Horsham closed.

                      Sbux may not taste like cigarette ash, but it definitely tastes burnt.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Velvet Elvis

                        Yes Saxby's (formerly Bucks County Coffee) is still open and almost right next door to the Starbucks in Doylestown. We also have Zen Den and Nonno's (the successor to coffee and cream). I usually go to a starbucks further north on main street that is in the former KFC.

                        My biggest peeve is when they mix and do not ask. Also since they now have three types of coffee it seems more frequent that they are out of a batch. I certainly could ask them not to mix, but especially in the morning I do not have an extra five minutes to wait. I was curious if others had noticed this trend. And yes I do have choices.. and will exercise the power of my pocket book.

                      2. Okay, one time Starbucks employee here.

                        First and foremost you never top off one coffee with a different one. You can ask the customer if they don't mind. My experience was, people didn't usually mind. If you do, wait or move on.

                        You need to take this up with the manager. If you get no satisfaction, you send a nastigram to Starbucks. (www.starbucks.com) They are very vigilant in protecting their image.

                        If you still get no satisfaction, stop going.

                        There's a store in Huntsville that we never go to any more. EVERY trip they'd screw up one of our coffees or take way too long to make it. Mine's a long Americano. How hard is that??

                        Anyway, it's your money and your coffee. Find where the two fit the best.


                        1. That Starbucks is in an awesome old historic building in the heart of Doylestown and close to the courthouse. They probably don't wish to lose all the attorneys, judges and secretaries as patrons. Sounds like they are being penny wise and pound foolish.
                          They do have plenty of competition nearby. I miss The house of cheese. Warm croissants baked right there and good coffee only one size available. I think I asked for a Grande there once.
                          I like Nonno's when I remember to bring cash. Zen Den has coffee? I will have to check it out. I try to be careful around Zen Den because of Todd. :) Everyone knows Todd he is the mascot of downtown Doylestown. If you have any more problems at that Starbucks, Todd will surely sort them out.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: givemecarbs

                            There are actually three SBs in Doylestown. One by the movie theatre on 611, the centrally located one, and one north on Main street which years ago used to be a KFC. I have experienced the mixing without asking at all three. The other thing I have noticed is that they only brew the medium roast after about 2pm. So you only get choice in the morning.......

                            Zen Den actually does great coffee. They use La Colombe coffee. And they make a mean expresso or macchiato. FWIW Saxby's closed last week, and the latest buzz is the Doylestown Saxby's will not be returning.

                            My biggest issue with the two independent houses of coffee is parking. Its not convenient and its almost impossible during the day.

                          2. As a SB barista, you only use 1 machine to brew, so with 3 types it does take longer to get all done. At 7pm they are mid closing (starts at 3 or 4pm) and with probably 2 people working the whole night, batches will expire. They should ask you what you prefer but they might remember what you told them the last time so assumed it would be ok. I would suggest to the manager that they reinforce asking the customer in future.

                            Edit: Misread the OP, but the main point stands, it's not necessarily mismanagement when you run out of coffee before you can physically brew more. The way most stores run is according to how corporate tells us to.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: devilishlyj

                              7 AM.... and they really shouldn't be running out of coffee at that time. Poor management.

                            2. There's a reason the chain is referred to as "Charbucks." Your post begs the question -- if Doylestown has several independent coffee places to choose from, why not just travel a bit further and not go to Starbucks at all? Doylestown isn't that big a town after all.

                              1. My complaint about Starbucks is simple. Just a plain, regular cup of black coffee seems to have the lowest priority on their menus. It is usually in small print at the bottom. It's like they are really in the business of selling whipped cream, caramel sauce, milk and everything except coffee.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Tripeler

                                  That's because it's the only way to make Starbucks coffee palatable - load it up with sugar, cream and flavorings until you can no longer taste how dreadful and burnt their basic coffee is. I'm generally a black coffee drinker and I simply cannot drink Starbucks that way.

                                  1. re: sockii

                                    I hate that they don't offer any condiments(ketchup,salsa whatever) with their breakfast sandwiches,which are very good BTW..don't like their reg coffee so much.