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Starbuck's question.

Is it even possible to get a nice, hot cafe au lait at a Starbucks? Everything is so...lukewarm and foamy there.

I asked for a double espresso with hot milk, no foam, please. The resulting drink was still full of air, and hot as tapwater.

Is it an engineering problem? Legal?

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  1. Double espresso with hot milk is technically a latte, something I get there about once a week. I've never found it too foamy or lukewarm, though you can ask for it extra-hot.
    Maybe the location you are going to has a problem with their machine, or the barista isn't properly trained.

    1. "Hot as tapwater" is certainly not a company-wide standard. Is this a regular occurrence or are you basing this on a single visit?

      1. I also find the lattes at Starbucks to typically be warm, rather than really steaming hot.... I have found this in multiple stores in at two different states (and in airports). Ive been known to microwave them if possible.

        I have always found the staff to be very accomodating with amount of foam desired.

        1. If what you really want is a cafe au lait, order a cafe misto. That's drip coffee and hot milk and I've never had one that didn't need to cool off a bit before I could drink it. Most baristas would know a cafe au lait or cafe con leche is the same as a misto, but misto is what it's called on their menu.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jeri L

            All the Starbucks around me dropped the Misto from its official menu boards years ago. I still order them often,and I've never had a barista not know what I meant. And they're quite hot and I let them cool a bit (or remove the lid--how do people drink with those things on?).

            1. re: pine time

              That is quite true. Starbucks has a "secret" menu too. What the secret part is, is that they'll brew anything for you, all you have to do is ask. Don't like Pike's Place and would prefer a Cafe Verona? Prefer your coffee french pressed? Just ask.

              I've never experienced lukewarm coffe, or frankly, lukewarm anything at Starbucks. In fact, they've got pretty specific temperature standards for all their products, including the steamed milk that is used in all their coffee/milk drinks.

              To the OP, next time you get a cafe au lait or latte and you think it's not hot enough, go back and tell them. Chances are good they'll remake it for you.

            2. re: Jeri L

              I love their cafe misto. I usually order a tall in a grande cup, and splash in some cold milk to cool it off a little.

              Haven't had one in forever

            3. I've always wondered why Starbucks doesn't have microwaves.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                They do, for the breakfast sandwiches. They are nuked to order. But they supposedly are not allowed to heat beverages in them, only the sandwiches and pastries.

                1. re: boogiebaby


                  I thought the sandwiches and pastries were heated (or reheated) in a toaster oven.

                  1. re: boogiebaby

                    It's not a microwave nor a toaster oven. It's a Turbochef combination oven. www.turbochef.com

                2. Starbucks will also french press any of their coffees on request.

                  1. What part of that would not be "legal?"

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Samalicious

                      Remember the lawsuit against McDonalds by a customer who was burned by coffee she claimed was too hot?

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        My impression was the OP was complaining about the drink being lukewarm, not dangerously hot.

                        1. re: Samalicious

                          That was why he was asking, were they erring on the side of caution to avoid being too hot?

                        2. re: carolinadawg

                          That coffee was too hot. Without looking up the pertinent details, I think they were serving coffee at near boiling temperatures. I believe it actually melted right through the cup and into her lap.

                          1. re: Violatp

                            We're moving a bit far afield, but that's not what happened at McDonald's. They were holding their coffee at nearly 190 degrees, which is fine for brewing but not for serving. They were balancing customers' requests for coffee that stayed hotter on their commute against hundreds of complaints from people who were not expecting coffee to be served at such an unreasonably high temperature. McDonald's corporate epresentative testified that he would not attempt to drink their coffee without letting it cool to a safer temperature first. So they knew it was too hot for safe consumption, they were aware of hundreds of customer complaints of injury but did not lower the serving temperature.

                            1. re: ferret

                              I agree (on your statement and on moving too far afield) but that's pretty much what I said. 190 degrees is near boiling point.

                            2. re: Violatp

                              Yes, I got that...thus my use of the term "too hot". I'm not sure what's confusing about my post. If company A gets sued for injuring a customer by serving coffee too hot, then it naturally follows that company B might choose to serve its coffee at a lower temperature.

                              And in the McDonalds incident, the customer placed the cup of coffee between her knees and spilled it on herself while taking the lid off the cup, resulting in third degree burns.

                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                To clarify: yeah, I think they err on the side of caution. I'd estimate they average around 130F.

                                Maybe this is the ideal temperature for sucking through a plastic hole?

                        3. The coffee (and espresso drinks) I get from Starbucks are typically too hot to be sipped without some serious tongue-scalding going on for at least ten minutes or so. I've never gotten anything approaching 'lukewarm'. You can ask for things extra-hot or send them back for a free do-over.

                          1. Just an idea: I find the drinks are hotter if I ask for a "real", aka ceramic, cup. I hate the paper/plastic go cups. Ick.

                            1. I order chai lattes once in awhile, and I always ask for 'extra hot', because sometimes my drink wouldn't seem hot enough. That seems to solve the problem. And I've done this everywhere, NY, San Francisco, Dallas, DC, Toronto, etc with no push-back.

                              1. what do you all think is different about french press? i never knew starbuck's would do this, or brew some alternative blend.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: alkapal

                                  It used to not be on the menu board then was on the board for about a year (right above or under the Coffee Traveler) , but they took it off at the end of summer. $3.50 and is about 3 tall cups. You tell them which flavor and they'll make it and bring it to you with 'for here' cups. Just nice to be able to sit down with a friend and have a fresh pot of coffee. Good way to try out a bean that's not currently being brewed.

                                  1. re: Cathy

                                    fabulous! thank you. i often wish they had a different blend.

                                    anybody tried any of these "off menu" starbuck's drinks? http://indulgy.com/post/bMCz1uuHM1/aw...

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      I've had the "poor mans chai latte." I prefer it, as its real tea not a pre made mix

                                  2. re: alkapal

                                    Once I asked if they had a French Roast coffee, by which I meant the roast, not brew, but anyway the barista opened a cabinet and brought out the french press and brewed me a nice cup of coffee.

                                  3. You can specify the exact temperature of your drink. When I want something REALLY hot, I go for 200F. They sometimes balk at that because supposedly something will go wrong with the milk, but it tastes just fine to me. I think the "regular" temp is around something like 160. Kids is 120.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                      I always order "extra hot", even though some people claim it scorches the milk. I prefer the taste of the "overheated" milk once it has cooled a bit.

                                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                                        In Puerto Rico people want their milk HOT. They always preheat their milk before adding it to coffee. My friends were pretty insistent.

                                    2. I've never had an issue at my regular Starbucks locations in Toronto or, elsewhere (in other countries). As prior posts suggest, simply ask for your drink to be made "extra-hot". I believe read somewhere that this will get you a drink made at 170°F. In my experience, Starbucks mgt is very receptive to feedback.

                                      1. Thank you Jeri L. Misto works.