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Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - Page updated at 04:58 PM

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Starbucks closing 3 hours Tuesday afternoon for barista training

The Associated Press

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PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Peter Mitchell, a public relations and advertising executive, sits outside a Starbucks Coffee shop in Washington, DC without his typical evening coffee, but where he can still access the wireless internet signal through Starbucks' closed the doors.

SEATTLE — Starbucks is closing the doors at its 7,100 stores across America for a brief barista re-education.

CEO Howard Schultz announced the 3-hour closure starting at 5:30 p.m. local time Tuesday to energize 135,000 employees.

He wants baristas to share their passion for making espresso, or as he says, "to pull the perfect shot, steam milk to order and customize their favorite beverage."

Schultz says it's part of his refocusing on the coffee customer experience.

Since the chairman returned as CEO in January he has been making changes to revive Starbucks' growth.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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