I think it was timing.

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Jordan, I dont think anybody was discrediting Starbucks for bringing "speciality coffee" to a more national level... but with almost every Starbucks discussion, you are going to have the haters. Hell, I'm one of em.
Why am I concerned with what Starbucks is doing? Because having to explain that macchiatto is not Italian for "caramel" (you have no idea how many times I've heard this recently) is starting to get really f'in old.
Is it Starbucks' fault that people (and American's, in particular) wont get on Wikipedia and find out what macchiatto really means? No. And I know (and hope) that Starbucks as a whole doesn't tell people that it means caramel, but I swear to Buddha, its been happening a helluva lot.

... just for an example.
Lance, I probably don't like Starbucks as much as you, but for different reasons it appears. I don't like them because I don't think they serve a very good product. But I don't see the problem in explaining to a costumer what a mach, really is. These explanations are a perfect opportunity to distinguish what your doing differently than Starbucks. In my experience I often find that the customer ordering a mach. really does want a caramel latte. What's the problem with that? Isn't a baristas job to make drinks as well as educate their clientele.

The intent of my comment was merely to make a general observation about the kinds of comments I've seen on this site in regards to Starbucks, not necessarily this particular thread.
A Starbucks Caramel Macchiato isn't a caramel latte.

It's a vanilla latte macchiato topped with caramel sauce.
Jordan,
I do understand what you're saying, and yes, it is my duty as a barista to inform and educate customers. When its multiple times a day, every single day, that I have to explain that mach isn't italian for caramel, and people want a caramel latte for the mach price, it does start to get old. Truth be told, I have turned people from caramel lattes to regular lattes, and its definately a start.
I respect Starbucks in that they did bring coffee to a higher level than what was previous. I think we both agree on that. I *sorta* respect Starbucks in that they saw a certain demographic that wanted sugary, caffinated drinks, and built of that, as well. Serving what the customer wants is usual great business practice. I know my example isn't the same across the board. And it is an extreme example, at that. And really, without Starbucks, Peets, et al, I wouldn't be doing what I am today, which is slingin sweet spro love.
Science Made Starbucks Successful They Had And Still Have A System, Personally I Think Bill Gates Gave Howard Some Insight And Said If You Want To Be Successful, This Is What You Have 2 Do.But Seriously If we want to be technical, logical, rational, and all those other als....Their System Made Them Successful Period..Without it Timing, Marketing None Of It Would Have Relevance.....Who Am I...Your Barista On Duty....Who Wan Test Me!?!
McDonalds brought the hamburger to a wider audience in America: got to respect them for that. Without them, there would just be a bunch of Greek diners and backyard grillers cooking up burgers.

Specialty coffee was going to happen. Just like awareness of wine, high-end spirits, artisan cheeses, etc. Giving sbux credit for 3w coffee seems a little silly to me. Think places like Stumptown, Intelli, Counter Culture, 49th Parallel wouldn't have happened without some fastfood-modelled pecurser? Weird.

Specialty coffee would probably be in a more favorable position without having to refer to "you know who" all the time.

GODBOD said:
Science Made Starbucks Successful They Had And Still Have A System, Personally I Think Bill Gates Gave Howard Some Insight And Said If You Want To Be Successful, This Is What You Have 2 Do.But Seriously If we want to be technical, logical, rational, and all those other als....Their System Made Them Successful Period..Without it Timing, Marketing None Of It Would Have Relevance.....Who Am I...Your Barista On Duty....Who Wan Test Me!?!
Starbucks was successful because of a variety of factors ranging from a visionary who pushed to see his vision fulfilled to providing a great and consistent atmosphere to providing a coffee that is both fashionable and superior in quality to the Maxwell House and freeze-dried coffees that had dominated the market since World War II to developing a brand that had value in the eyes of the consumer, and by developing a company culture that welcomed customers in a clean and friendly environment - not to mention being there at the right time and buying up all the right places.

People ask me all the time what I think about Starbucks. Many of them expect me to hate on Starbucks, but I don't. Starbucks is a great company that exploited the potential of the specialty coffee market at the right time. It brought the idea and awareness of specialty coffee to the masses. It made coffee for $3.75 commonplace. It is THE company delivering better quality coffee to the masses.

How does that differ from what I (and my company) do? Starbucks is easily the McDonald's (or Red Robin) of the coffee industry. They offer a product designed to satisfy a large segment of the market in a branded and approachable format. What we do ("we" meaning me and my company) is deliver a product that's more thoughtfully sourced and carefully produced than Starbucks to a much narrower audience. We're serving an audience that appreciates quality higher than that of Starbucks. We're offering higher quality at an appropriate price. We're not offering a Starbucks clone like so many shops out there.

Friends in the business are obsessed with both hating, following and emulating Starbucks and I don't understand why. They're different. We don't desire to be like Starbucks as we can offer something that Starbucks can't. While my friends busy themselves with visiting local Starbucks retail outlets on a regular basis to "see what they're doing." I'm busy learning new flavors, new techniques and finding new ways to apply those to our craft and what we do. We're interested in exploring the frontiers of our craft on the vanguard of our industry.

This in and of itself means that we cannot be Starbucks or model ourselves after what they do. Our size grants us extreme leeway in trying things that Starbucks simply cannot, or will not. We can explore something like hydrocolloids in a manner that can enhance and impact our offerings and customer experience while a company like Starbucks will explore hydrocolloids as a method to improving their Frappuccino mixes. We're two different companies, worlds apart.

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