Founds this interesting blog post and thread up on the Starbucks Gossip blog.

According to the action item: Baristas are no longer required to pull shots into shot glasses where the quality of the shot can be seen. We are now allowed to pull the directly into the cup. If the timing of the shot is correct, then the customer gets what they get. If the timing of the shot is NOT correct, the cup and the syrups and any other pre-prepped items go into the trash.

Why the change?

According to the action item, Starbucks labor scheduling system added 5 seconds labor for each drink to use the shot glasses. Apparently that five seconds per drink is just too expensive for the company and they will now withdraw the five seconds labor and allow baristas to drop shots directly into the cup. Most baristas know a quality shot of espresso is more than just proper timing.

Possible effects of this decision: Bad drinks from bad shots, substantial increase in product waste from pulling improperly timed shots, and longer wait times with reduced labor (especially at busy stores).

If this is true, then it’s astounding.

Arizona Coffee

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  1. hb

    Another great reason to stop buying in starbucks, support your local coffee shop.
    No wonder their stock is down, I guess is quantity over quality.

  2. Brandon

    Since when was there EVER a good shot from a “char”bucks??

  3. So, pulling directly in the cup sounds good to me – better even. On the outside, this may be one of their better decisions they have made in a while. The end result should be better crema in the cup and a “nicer” end product.

    However, here is where I agree with the title of this post: Will the group be able to manage and train their employees to trash bad drinks?

    Most shops do not use shot glasses when preparing drinks for customers. This is great when the barista cares enough to trash the drink if it comes out bad.

    I hope that Starbucks and the people that work there will grow a heart for the end product and be ok with with taking the extra time to get it right.

    If they are upset with the added 5 seconds to pour espresso from shot glass to cup, how are they going to feel with an extra 30 seconds when the shot is bad? bold

  4. One thing: most Starbucks use superautos. If the espresso shot is not perfect, their employee may not be qualified enough to open up a machine and adjust grinders, water temperatures or water levels (especially if there is a line of people) in order to get a “desirable” espresso shot and we all know that coffee may change from batch to batch creating the need to adjust a grinder. So, I know that the easy thing will be to continue pulling shots instead of telling a customer that the machine is out of order. If they already seem not to care for the quality of the drink when there is a long line, how are they expecting to enforce the 23 second shot rule in a superauto? It doesn’t matter if they pull into a shot glass or directly into a cup the drinks may taste the same if we are talking latte, mocha or cap.

    However, if you are looking to enjoy the purest and most delicious espresso find a local coffee shop that roast its own coffee beans, perhaps one that constantly sampling new coffees, one that uses a medium roast profile (agtron 45-55) for it’s espresso. I know for a fact that this coffeehouse has trained baristas using a stop watch to aim for the perfect brew time in order to get amazing dark caramel color crema. They will even sell you a espresso for less than a dollar because they want you to know that they are famous for the espresso that they serve.

    Now you have found a place that cares about coffee and you may have a chance to truly enjoy this little drink that keeps so many of us talking way too much about it. Right?

  5. I can pretty much guarantee this will not make Starbucks drinks worse. The most likely result will be getting your drink 2 seconds faster, and all of two or three extra cups getting thrown away each day.
    (Which you can help with by bringing your own mug)
    (Which hopefully you can’t help with, because you don’t buy from Starbucks)

  6. How many Starbucks actually get pegged during morning rush? On those rare occasions I use them, there’s rarely anyone else in there and almost never a line. I walk up to the counter. The employee or employees come to attention, I order a latte, and about five seconds later, I have a super-quickly made burned latte, and the employee and I share an awkward moment. Maybe their decisions make sense for most _sales_… but in light of the mass store closings, vast numbers of stores, and empty stores I keep encountering, their decisions don’t seem to make sense for most stores.

    I’ve written in the past in defense of Starbucks. Mom and pop coffee shops often demonstrate profound amateurishness. It’s happened a few times I’ve been in one of these places and the lady behind the counter walked out with a can of Raid and started hosing the place down with me sitting there, or been yelled at for using the power without permission. But with the new generation of Starbucks zombie employees who can’t not scorch the milk even when you try to bribe them and family with screaming kids soaking up calories by the thousand and going hyperactive, who wants to sit in there and work, or play chess? I’d rather go to Check E Cheese where at least they have video games. Yup, venting. Sorry =)


  7. I do have to say that it’ll save water washing up the shot glasses. Has anyone ever seen a green apron pitch a shot? Ever even see on look to see if the shot is any good? Ever ask one if they would be able to tell if it was any good or not? If they know what they’re looking at?
    Whatever the official line is, what they’re actually saying is, “No one looks at the damned things anyways, and no one is sinking shots because no one is looking at them. Let’s cut out the rigamarole and just drop whatever comes out of the super into the cups and get them away from the counter already.”
    On the other hand, le’sgo steal all the shot glasses before they become collector’s items!

  8. I will admit that i use the *$ drive thru after lunch in order to get an americano. I would support a mom and pop operation if there was one nearby.

    However, I have noticed that the current greeting at the drive though at *$ is “welcome to starbucks how are you today?”

    Shouldnt the greeting be “welcome to starbucks what can I get you?”???

    Why do I have to sit through an extra round of questions in order to get my drink?

    On top of that there seems to be an increasing level of joking when you try to order from the drive thru. I asked for an iced grande americano and the girl’s response was “maybe”

    I am using the drive thru because i dont have time to lollygag in the actual building. I have an extra round of questions before i can order, and then the idiot inside wants to play games by telling me “maybe” when i ask for a drink.

    To top it off they got my drink wrong when i got to the window.

    maybe the closest mom and pop operation isnt to far away after all when you consider the quality of service and product (or lack there of)

  9. Truly, I am not surprised. Starbucks baristas have already been doing this for years during peak rushes. Managers usually got caught in the middle, because while they were told to uphold one standard, they were also told to perform.

    And what made it worse? Ridiculous success. For years, demand throbbed and stocks leaped. Investor expectations soared and Sbux, unfortunately, responded. They added super-automatics, drive-thrus, stand-alone drive-thrus — anything that would increase speed and meet demand. They’re the equivalent of a bicyclist pedaling down a hill as fast as they can in 1st gear. The road is too bumpy and they’re going too fast to safely change gears. Before you know it, they’re toast.

    This is a good lesson to everyone that the hard path of principle trumps the easy path of quick money.

  10. RJD

    I have been to Starbucks a few times in the past couple of weeks. I hadn’t visited previous to this in about 6 months. I have noticed the shot glass change and the fact that the employees seem MUCH nicer and more polite than ever.

    There is always a chance you take when you go to a local place for the first time. When you find a place that really takes pride in their product and the customer’s overall experience, it is like finding a buried treasure, in my opinion.