Cosmo Catalano explains why the Starbucks on Church Street in Harvard Square sucks while the one on Newbury Street in the Back Bay between Dartmouth and Exeter is just divine. It's all in the baristas they hire.
Theresa has enough of "corporate coffee" and so tries out locally owned shops in Newtonville.
That shutdown yesterday? Starbucks used the time to introduce its workers to its new guarantee (customers who find their coffee less than perfect can return it and a barista "will make it right") and to announce it's going back to its old policy of pouring espresso into shot glasses before pouring that into the paper cups customers get.
Could somebody notify Associated Press that that's all we really needed to know, rather than the the Epic of Gilgamesh it brewed up?
Christina Mallozzy, a pharmaceutical saleswoman, looked miffed when she walked up to a Starbucks on Manhattan's Upper East Side only to find out it was closed. "I'm not furious. My life's not going to end," said Mallozzy, 25. She was, however, annoyed because she had gone to the trouble of snagging a parking space.
I suspect your reaction to Endangered Coffee's report will depend on whether you have a kid:
All in all, the incident ended badly, although it could have been much worse. I had to talk Mrs. EC from running back into the Starbucks with her dark roast and my cappuccino and dumping them on the floor. I had to convince her that there was such a crime as creating a disturbance that could have conceivably led to her, me and [Baby] EC ending up in the slammer. As it was, the incident ended with the Mrs. calling a Starbucks employee a f#@$@%! b%^&$ as we headed out the door and me lugging [Baby] EC behind her, yelling that I was going to let him piss in their cappuccino machine. ...
... [F]emale customers wait an average of 20 seconds longer for their orders than do male customers even when controlling for gender differences in orders.
Author Caitlin Knowles Myers, an assistant professor of economics at Middlebury College, says the wait was even more pronounced in shops with male employees - women workers were less likely to try to hold women customers up. Not only that, but the baristas seem particularly disgusted by ugly customers - they had to wait longer for their orders than the beautiful people.
Myers acknowledged in the study that women customers seemed to be more likely to order "fancy" drinks that would take more time to prepare (75% of women vs. just 55% of men; no discussion of the complexity of orders by ugly people), but said that even when this factor is taken into account, women and ugly people still had to wait longer than pretty boys (although you'd think the reverse would hold: Workers would rush their orders to get them out of their face).
She says possible reasons for the discrimination include male workers trying to get more money out of women customers (the report does not say how); male workers hating women customers (in part because of a conception that they're lousy tippers); or male workers "garnering utility" from female customers (i.e., they want to get to know them better). However, in all cases, it's discrimination against women, she writes.
The report is based on 295 observed customer interactions in visits to eight unnamed coffee shops in "the central Boston area" by a professor and five students this past January; they were selected based on whether they had seating arrangements that let the "enumerators"
spy on observe workers without letting them know somebody had an eye on them. So I'm thinking Dunkin' Donuts was not included, because it'd be hard to not look out of place staring at counter workers at a Dunk's.
Should you wish to verify the results, Myers provides detailed instructions on how to properly conduct such a study:
Jimbo has the (dark roasted) scoop.
On a blog called Boston Food & Whine, you'd expect a good whine from time to time. Tammy unleashes today on the Starbucks out by the Dedham Mall, which puts the "suck" in "Starsucks," apparently:
... Another issue is more often than not, there is residual coffee under the lip of the lid, so that when I grab the cup from the drive-thru window, it inevitably drips all over my clothing. ANNOYING... How hard is it to put a dome lid on a cold cup that is too full???
Next, the staff is horrendous. They are ridiculously slow -- especially when you actually go in. I once waited (I kid you not) FIVE MINUTES for the Barista to even begin making my drink... and I was the only person in there! They were lolling around, talking, wiping the counters, etc. I finally had to say something. You would have though that I actually asked them to do their job or something...
Not only are they slow and incompetent, but they are rude. ...
The Missus gets right to the point:
... What the hell is wrong with you people? ...
Actually, she uses some choicer words to roast them, and provides photographic proof of their suckatude.
The Metropolitan Princess rates four different Starbucks:
... I have squeezed my way into Dartmouth Street, been ignored at Copley, waited for an insane 15 minutes at Boylston, and been run over with a gym bag in Newbury. All in all it was worth it to find the best and ensure a better start to my day. ...
Sure, laugh all you want about brown-tinged swill or 17 sugahs or trans fats or that smirking Joker lookalike known as Rachael Ray, at least I never have to worry about being sneered at by some barista with an overendowed sense of importance who so cows me that I vow to get what he wants me to next time, that is, if I can ever summon up the courage to step foot in his store again.
... "Here's your ICED venti americano," he says, with a look of revulsion. ...
Cognitive dissonance at the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart streets.
Tim Jarrett learns that trying to fly out of Logan the week school lets out sucks because of all those leisure travelers. But he reports on an even bigger problem:
... [T]hey have moved the Starbucks out of the United side of Terminal C. And put a Dunkin' Donuts in its place. Now, I'm as Bostonian as the next transplant from Virginia, but if I wanted to drink dishwater flavored with corn syrup and soy powder, I'd order that. Instead, when I order coffee, I want it black and strong. I guess I'll have to wait until I land in Chicago.
Miss Von Schtoop reveals the location of the Boston Starbucks where people go to pretend to work when they can't bear to tell their spouses/SOs that they are no longer gainfully employed:
... I couldn't stop staring. There were deals being made on the sidewalk out front, folks with complicated looking blueteeth contraptions clapped to their ears, job interviews being conducted in comfy chairs, lots of keyboard keys being poked at urgently. ...
... Overheard in Starbucks "It takes too many adjectives to order a drink in here. I'm tired." ...
Deb is outraged that somebody recently got to her site through a search seeking a comparison between Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts coffee, because there simply is no comparison:
They aren't even from the same planet. Starbucks comes from a world full of hostile, hundred-legged aliens who grew warlike from being too damned hot all the time because their planet is too close to its star. Which explains why they favor over-roasted, bitter coffee. ... Dunkin's coffee, OTOH, proves that there is a God and He loves us. ...
Maybe that would explain what the uptight yuppie type was doing this morning at my regula Dunk's (Rte. 9 west in Wellesley - but, hey, that's almost Natick): Seeming to get upset when the staff didn't understand why he kept asking what the strongest coffee they had was and they started reciting all the different types of sugary things they offered (because, come on, this is Dunkin' Donuts, buddy) and he said "No, I'm just looking for the strongest coffee you have" and finally one of the workers got the idea and said "espresso" and that seemed to quiet him down.
In any case, Samara reports that she could barely contain her disgust when she ordered a triple venti non-fat, no-whip sugar free caramel macachiato this morning only to find out at work that she'd been given a venti, non-fat, no-whip, extra hot sugar free vanilla latte.
Jenny discovers that not everybody who buys coffee at the Copley Place Starbucks is an annoying twit.
Because your doing so means people like Gary and I can get in and out that much faster with our Triple Venti Soy Mocha Peppermint No Whip Lattes in tow.
Meanwhile, the folks at Ace of Spades have compiled a list of the choices on the menu boards in that commercial:
Maccinno au Mue
Limon au Deau
Himan Plu Cento
Half Caf Cap
Cafe du Fonce
Espresso Ca Tino
And here are some more I found, because, you know, I care 'n' stuff:
Only in Boston says a pox on both their houses:
... One 20oz bottle of refreshing Mountain Dew, please.
How do you say "latte" in Fritalian?
Because when it's 3 p.m. and all the caffeine-depleted urbanistas are clawing for their fixes, all it takes is one annoying never-satisfied customer to create complete chaos.
... When I first started to go to the Starbucks by my office I thought that the guy behind the counter just thought I was wicked hot...because that's what he called me AND wrote in black sharpie on my cup. But I quickly learned that was not the case, the counter boys are flirts, and they are equal oppotunity flirts. The flirt with everyone, the girl in front of you in line, the older women behind you, the gay guys from the shops down the street. EVERYONE. ...
Stephen Baldwin, meanwhile, complains not of excessive flirtiness, but of the annoying uniform of your basic Starbucks barista:
... In Rome, the serious men who serve espresso wear crisp white shirts, black ties and black trousers, and sweeping linen aprons fastened around their waists. You feel like an adult when ordering from them. And even your poorly pronounced Italian will make more sense than the weird make-believe, mumbling language of Starbucks.
Aaron Margolis likes Starbucks so much, he's willing to ignore its Blue-Stateness and chug down its black gold. And he says its new New England blend is far superior to Dunkin' Donuts swill:
... Having consumed a 20-oz. cup of New England Blend every morning for the past few days, I give it high marks. A very nice cup of coffee indeed. ...
Yeah, tell that to Steve Garfield, who's ecstastic that he got a 49-cent medium coffee at his local Dunkin' Donuts this morning.
Roberto Scalese, meanwhile, can't get enough of the Double-D's new cookies:
Sweet Lord God, they're good.
Colleen Cunningham, a Dunkin' Donuts fan, shocked even herself the other day when she heard the words Grande soy iced cafe latte with a peppermint shot, please come out of her mouth.
I used to hold a tiny smidgen of respect for the "barristas" at Starbucks, because they were actually required to manually make esspressos. Well, it appears the efficiency and cheap labor have won out over quality and flavor. The Starbucks at Central Square now has automatic esspresso machines. ...