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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

October 13, 2010 at 10:08 AM

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Starbucks sign goes up, baristas slow down, news here on hiatus

Posted by Melissa Allison

STARB.jpgThe first Starbucks to serve beer and wine and keep its name -- instead of becoming Olive Way Coffee & Tea, a la Starbucks' other experiments named 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea and Roy Street Coffee & Tea -- is coming together at 1600 E. Olive Way on Capitol Hill.

The Hollywood-style sign went up this morning (top photo), and the coffee and wine bar are already being stocked (bottom photo). Staff and media gatherings are planned there almost daily until the opening on Monday.

The Wall Street Journal reports
this morning that Starbucks is asking baristas to slow down when they make drinks. "Customers have indicated that the quality of espresso drinks at Starbucks is 'average' and that the beverages are inconsistently prepared from barista to barista and from store to store," the Journal found in company documents. It quoted two baristas who are members of the Industrial Workers of the World, which has fought numerous battles against Starbucks in recent years.

coffeebar.jpgStarbucks says the changes, which include making no more than two drinks at a time and steaming milk separately for each drink, "will eventually hasten the way drinks are made and lead to fresher, hotter drinks. Steaming milk for individual drinks, for example, 'ensures the quality of the beverage in taste, temperature and appearance,' the company documents state, while focusing on just two drinks at a time 'reduces possibility for errors,'" according to the Journal article.

I'm not going to post much over the next month or so, because of travel and assignments. I'll report on Starbucks' fourth-quarter earnings, which come out Nov. 4.

Meanwhile, check out this hilarious mockumentary about the coffee wars. "I killed a DJ over a pound of French Roast. That was back when you could do that."

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