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Starbucks dreams up a new method for making the morning stop even more of a hassle:

If long lines at Starbucks are already one of the more annoying parts of your morning, well, you may want to reconsider where you get your coffee. Starbucks has rolled out new guidelines for its baristas that slow down the drink making process, leading to longer waits and longer lines.

Among the changes include a mandate to only make one drink a time; to only steam milk for one drink at a time, instead of one larger pitcher used for multiple drinks; more thoroughly cleaning pitchers and cups after each use; and remaining at a bar while making a drink, rather than moving elsewhere to work on other tasks or begin a new drink while waiting for a blender or espresso machine.

The reasons for the changes are multifaceted. One reason are complaints that the area behind a busy Starbucks bar is more akin to a factory floor than a coffee house, with endless lines of cups, constantly whirring machines, and ruthless speed and efficiency by the baristas. Starbucks believes the new method will result in more accurate, better tasting, and hotter drinks, and believes that once baristas are more comfortable, the new process will actually hasten how fast drinks come out.

Feh.  Who, exactly, is complaining about the “ruthless speed and efficiency” of the baristas? I’d have said, “More, please!”

The new procedures went into effect at my own coffee hole yesterday and the result was to turn the already small area where people stand around waiting for their drinks into a positive mosh pit of fuming impatience.  You want complaints?  I heard plenty of them.  And it wasn’t because of “endless lines of cups” or “constantly whirring machines” either.  FWIW, the baristas themselves were extremely frustrated and apologetic.

I already feel somewhat guilty over the amount of money I throw down the rat hole on lattes each week.  This added aggrevation may be enough for me just to go back to the Mr. Coffee I keep at my desk.


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October 2010