Starbux Coffees

Hi All!

Just a little note. I do not make great coffees at home. I buy from local coffee shops. I plan on opening a coffee cart in the late summer.

My question (not knowing any better) is why does Starbux have such fluxuating quality? Chain and all that, I thought they were highly trained? We have three Starbux opened in our area in the last year, and not only does each location vary, but different shifts vary as well. I get espresso drinks (always the same ones) of varing quality and was wondering (besides the obvious training issues) if this is nation wide? The quality varies extremely widely!! (From VERY good to almost POOR!)

Any comments and observations appreciated!

Cheryl Ann
 

CCCRoaster

New member
Apr 16, 2007
19
0
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Cheryl,
Figuring out why there is such a difference between starbucks is really central to your success as a cart owner. Understanding what a great shot of espresso is and how that impacts your drink quality is so importiant. Drink quality and consistency is curcial to a shop. Do your homework take some classes and use quality and consistency to diferentiate yourself from the competition.
 

Fresh Roaster

New member
Jun 30, 2006
162
0
We've studied it a little bit and for what it's worth this is what we found and it applies to any chain and potentially even a single small roaster/supplier in certain situations.

First, getting drinks from different locations means you've got different folks preparing your beverages. Enter the human element. Skill in making the beverage is a huge factor. Do the super automatics really deliver exact consistency? I've been told not. So, there's your first big variable.

Second is supply. I've been told that Starbucks in particular has a problem with consistency in the crops just based on their enormous volume and need for green coffee. There's no endless supply, or at least enough for them, to get the consistency they'd probably like to have. So compromises have to be made. Not much you can do about that but it says something about how important green coffee acquisition becomes right down to the actual final cupping.

Third is production variables and this is where it applies to all roasters as well. Put a human in front of the roaster or depend entirely on a time and temperature formula and every once and a while it's just not going to come out the same. A little more moisture in the green, a change in the roasting environment, ambient temperature, storage practices, etc. and voila, the final result is a different product because it just is not going to roast the same.

Last is freshness. Moving as much coffee as Starbucks does you have to wonder how fresh the coffee is. It also matters where you're located. Is the coffee four days old or four weeks old?

Just my $.02. :D
 

jdandtracy

New member
Sep 24, 2006
46
0
Colorado
Starbucks used to be awesome. Now they might as well ask if you would like fries with that???
My wife was a manager for Starbucks for 11 years, and I worked there in 95-97 timeframe. I can compare their quality at store #297 (yes, they had less than 300 stores when I worked there) to the quality today. It is horrific what has happened, although, they have no choice with the volume they do.

My wife was able to experience the changes first hand over 11 years. Not only did their product quality go down, but so did their coffee shop experience. She worked in stores doing $30,000 per week. You can't maintain an intimate coffee house experience when you are moving people through with cattle prods (ie, super automatics and drive thrus).

Starbucks is an amazing company and they have single handedly introduced the coffee culture to the masses and made it mainstream. Now that their quality has gone down through massive product distribution logistics, as well as having some great employees, and some that just got fired from McDonalds last week, it opens the doors for people like us. We opened our shop almost 3 months ago, and we are doing great. There are people out there who are still looking for a great quality coffee, and the friendly, intimate, coffee shop experience. Starbucks has lost that capability, except in stores where they just happen to have an awesome staff/manager who drives the 'community' interaction.

I love Starbucks for what they did with the coffee industry, but I hate having to get a drink there anymore (ie on vacation).

JD
 

ivo

New member
Jul 18, 2007
3
0
good espresso? maybe... but

I always used to wonder how they sell coffee. Starbux doesn''t even know what a medium roast is...add to that, the strength their coffee is brewed. It may be an [i:]espresso[/i:] drinkers place- but in my opinion, Starbux has never been a [u:]coffee[/u:] drinker''s place. Theirs is an experience, and people believe what they are told in there... Starbux has a great business model, a [u:]GREAT[/u:] business model- becuase their coffee is horrible<sorry>, but people keep coming back. for the experience. Just my opinion...
 

bmusse

New member
Jul 22, 2007
10
0
seattle
a medium roast is brewed each and every day accompaning a dark roast.

i''d think they know what a medium as well as a mild roast is, the roasters after all, did not change when they took out the la marzoccos. on top of this or maybe just an fyi...Peet''s Coffee co-found starbucks leaving roasting them their roasting techniques/methods/theorys/and stuff with starbuck''s when they sold their part later in the 90s.

starbuck''s knows coffee, i don''t know how you could say their shops are not a coffee drinker''s shop. i would go the other way if anything. being that they only put their espresso roast in the espresso machines i would say they are more of a coffee drinker''s shop more than anything, at least they change their roasts on their brewed every week. and they are more than happy to make you a french press of any roast you like provided you have the time for the same price.

if you have not tried all of their coffee how could say its all horrible?

personally i don''t having to go to sbux to get a latte, cappacino, or machiatto, however if i am in a hurry, i am gratefull they are around.
 

bmusse

New member
Jul 22, 2007
10
0
seattle
i don't really see what you are getting at with the article, repoman77. i have previously read that article. how does it relate to the topic, other than it concerns starbucks?

by the way consumer reports ranking mcdonalds over starbucks, is this some kind of joke? seriously who still is left out of the loop of knowing mc'donalds uses starbucks(or seattles best, product of starbucks) coffee? they are the same, the beans come from the same place and are roasted at the same place. i would never trust consumer reports on certain topics such as coffee, food, wine or the like.

i like some of the sbux roasts, i'd much rather go local, being i am fortunate enough to live in a city with so many different local roasters.
 

ivo

New member
Jul 18, 2007
3
0
bmusse said:
i don't really see what you are getting at with the article, repoman77. i have previously read that article. how does it relate to the topic, other than it concerns starbucks?

by the way consumer reports ranking mcdonalds over starbucks, is this some kind of joke? seriously who still is left out of the loop of knowing mc'donalds uses starbucks(or seattles best, product of starbucks) coffee? they are the same, the beans come from the same place and are roasted at the same place. i would never trust consumer reports on certain topics such as coffee, food, wine or the like.

i like some of the sbux roasts, i'd much rather go local, being i am fortunate enough to live in a city with so many different local roasters.

bmusse-
I am not trying to single you out, but where are you coming from? My friends who go to McD's have all said the same thing: McD coffee is good, now. I cannot say I've heard anyone compare their coffee to that of Sbux, sorry. Combine that with McD publicizing their breakfast changes, including their coffee, perhaps it behooves you to test the claim yourself, before condemning the validity of the claim. At the very least, their coffee is much improved, enough so that their customers talk about it in places like these.

Regarding Sbux coffees-
I apologize for not distinquishing what I consider different drinks: brewed coffee, which I call coffee, and espresso drinks, which is pretty much any drink using espresso. I will reiterate my previous claim, as everyone, and I mean, everyone I talk to has said the same thing: Sbux coffee is too strong. While they may call a particular roast 'medium,' most of the rest of the coffee world calls the same roast 'dark,' or at best, a 'full city roast.' And their 'dark' roasts, such as their french, or italian, are amongst the darkest coffees available outside an espresso roast. With Sbux, there is no such thing as a 'cinnamon' roast, or a 'light' roast. All of their coffee is roasted much darker than what most of the rest of the coffee world roasts theirs.

Topping that off, they brew their coffee MUCH stronger than any other coffee retailer. You could dispute this, but there wouldn't be much of a basis in fact in your dispute. Amonst those who enjoy coffee, especially simple black coffee, Sbux usually is not a preferred coffee brewer.

Their store experience is another story. All their baristas are trained to their standard. You can go to any Sbux and count on their consistancy. Their business model is ingenious.

But I will say it again- their coffee(brewed coffee) is horrible. And everything about their brewed coffee bucks the traditional standard.
 

ElPugDiablo

New member
Jul 16, 2004
991
0
Hartford and New Haven, CT
bmusse said:
by the way consumer reports ranking mcdonalds over starbucks, is this some kind of joke? seriously who still is left out of the loop of knowing mc'donalds uses starbucks(or seattles best, product of starbucks) coffee? they are the same, the beans come from the same place and are roasted at the same place. i would never trust consumer reports on certain topics such as coffee, food, wine or the like.
McDonalds in New England use Green Mountain Coffee Roaster. For me at least, it is better than Starbucks.
 

equus007

New member
Apr 4, 2006
315
0
Austin, Tx
starbucks

McD's uses different roasters in different regions of the country. While they certainly have worldly buyng power they are still dealing with perishables.

Starbucks quality varies directly with the management of each store and I believe they understand this perfectly well. The corporate end of starbucks does what it can to get a modicrum of regularity from store to store but pays much more attention to their product than they do to uniformity of retail shops(believe it or not). There are great Starbucks and horrible Starbucks, within the limitations of their product of course.

Personaly I have always felt that Seattle's Best drip was much better than Starbucks while SBux had better shots(yes I know they are the same company). There are many shops in Austin that are much better than either and there are some that are worse.

Also Bmusse you should understand that you live in Starbucks home city. Quality always wanes the further you get from the center. I bet their managers in Seattle are nervous wrecks. Probably well paid nervous wrecks.
 

bmusse

New member
Jul 22, 2007
10
0
seattle
being my location, all i knew is that mcd carries sbc.

"consumer reports" the magazine, when they compared a mcdonalds brewed coffee to a sbux brewed coffee, i assumed seattle's best. my bad.


i do remember reading a post referring to sbux training and consistency and being in the hometown.

i don’t know man, it can really really change between each barista and each store, the machines are simple enough, it’s hard to find someone who genuinely cares about the bev quality though, smiles your guaranteed. here(seattle), each sbux(almost) has a high turn over rate. a lot of ppl go to sbux as a pass time job, i mean the pay isn't too great, as repetitive as it is, they do have excellent benefits though. the training they provide isn't too great. the machines are simple and capable enough of pulling acceptable shots, however its really depends of luck to get a good drink.

seriously, i have talked to some baristas that i know have been with sbux for at least two months, asked them if they adjust the grind or how often, dude, they didn't know how or what the grind adjustment did or was. on the other hand i know some great baristas at different sbux who can make as well as the verismos will permit, bevs.

for what its worth, i prefer 2 tablespoons to every 6 oz of course ground in a french press if i am drinking brewed coffee.

being paid more close to home/center, not so much so. everything "business" applies, location, headcount, numbers, and performance. a store with the same demographic(?) here isn't getting paid any less or more in north carolina or sacramento.

nervous recks, not that i have noticed, with some, that goes with any job. the more business a store has the more asst managers they will have just like a lot of places.

one of the good parts of being in seattle is there are about a dozen really really good coffee houses close or in my neighborhood.



cherylann324,

i think its all going to depend on the barista, how much they care. if you have the time, try and talk to the manager of the poor bev stores. no one wants to "tattle", how else will they improve though? i feel your pain, man. its kind of the same way with sbux in my hood as well.

for example. i order a grande latte at a sbux that is closing just about the time i arrive. barista starts steaming milk(whole milk) with a screaching high pitch sound. i didn't order a no foam latte. i asked, "why didn't you airiate the milk, is this a new sbux thing?" replied, "oh, i can do that", steams the milk at the top to attempt. so i now have an extra hot bad attempt at foam crapolatte. shots get poured into the cup, where they good? nobody knows. i get the latte, it goes in the trash, i go to a different sbux on the way home and they are more than happy to remake it to spec. i shouldn't have to do that, no one should.
 

bmusse

New member
Jul 22, 2007
10
0
seattle
ivo said:
bmusse said:

bmusse-
I am not trying to single you out, but where are you coming from? My friends who go to McD's have all said the same thing: McD coffee is good, now. I cannot say I've heard anyone compare their coffee to that of Sbux, sorry. Combine that with McD publicizing their breakfast changes, including their coffee, perhaps it behooves you to test the claim yourself, before condemning the validity of the claim. At the very least, their coffee is much improved, enough so that their customers talk about it in places like these.

Regarding Sbux coffees-
I apologize for not distinquishing what I consider different drinks: brewed coffee, which I call coffee, and espresso drinks, which is pretty much any drink using espresso. I will reiterate my previous claim, as everyone, and I mean, everyone I talk to has said the same thing: Sbux coffee is too strong. While they may call a particular roast 'medium,' most of the rest of the coffee world calls the same roast 'dark,' or at best, a 'full city roast.' And their 'dark' roasts, such as their french, or italian, are amongst the darkest coffees available outside an espresso roast. With Sbux, there is no such thing as a 'cinnamon' roast, or a 'light' roast. All of their coffee is roasted much darker than what most of the rest of the coffee world roasts theirs.

Topping that off, they brew their coffee MUCH stronger than any other coffee retailer. You could dispute this, but there wouldn't be much of a basis in fact in your dispute. Amonst those who enjoy coffee, especially simple black coffee, Sbux usually is not a preferred coffee brewer.

Their store experience is another story. All their baristas are trained to their standard. You can go to any Sbux and count on their consistancy. Their business model is ingenious.

But I will say it again- their coffee(brewed coffee) is horrible. And everything about their brewed coffee bucks the traditional standard.

hmm, where to start,

for myself, i enjoy coffee, not from a convential brewer though, if i do drink brewed coffee its from a press. nearly every morning at wich ever cafe i am in i will hear some common questions when others are ordering their brew, "whats your dark, roast?" or even "i'll take a 20oz medium roast today". personally, i don't see ppl being or how the can be too picky when ordering from a conventional brewer or one that uses the paper filter.

i'll have a mistro or olay every now and again.

as far as concern of a paper filtered brew though, personally i don't like anything to do with citrus in my hot drinks, iced coffee different, i love love the african or most african roasts iced or citrus roasts iced.

if they brew their coffee too strong, why not just ask to add some water, seriously?

i am not trying to defend or offend anyone or any company.
 

ivo

New member
Jul 18, 2007
3
0
Well, it seems that more than a few of your posts were in defense of Sbux.

No offense taken here.
 
Interesting article off the news wires. In Southeast Asia McD's "McCafes" are doing very well. The ability to operate these totally independently from their traditional stores, has both increased revenue for the company as well as taking a swipe at Starbucks. As I have been forced recenly to spend a lot of time in Singapore, I got to experience some coffee environments I have not tried before, and perhaps if circumstances were different would not have tried- McCafe included. I was actually very surprised that the coffee they were using for EDB's was far better than that I have tried in their more illustrious competitors stores. I think this is a "watch this space" for the mass end of the 'specialty' (but I would not use pemium as in the article below) market

McDonald's (MCD): A Coup De Grace For Starbucks
Crain's Chicago Business has gotten its hands on the game plan for McDonald's (MCD) to conquer the premium coffee world. As the business magazine put it: "In one of its biggest strategic moves ever, McDonald's Corp. plans to sell lattes, cappuccinos and other specialty drinks in all of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants next year. McDonald's predicts the new drinks will add more than $1 billion a year to sales,"

The "biggest ever" part may be a bit of hyperbole, but the core truth is that McDonald's is preparing to match Starbucks (SBUX) product for product. And, the fast food chain is ready to spend considerable sums of money to put the necessary machinery into its stores to make it work.

Howard Shultz, the founder of Starbucks, recently told The New York Times that he could not understand why the market did not like his stock. His reasoning was that the market for premium coffee is much larger than Wall St. understands, and that there is still considerable growth left in the market.

Schultz is right. The problem is that it looks like most of that potential market will not be going to him.

Douglas A. McIntyre
 

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