I occasionally wander into a Starbucks, just to see what's going on there these days. There's usually something to surprise me. Today, while waiting in line i saw a 2 (head?) Tru Bru pour-over bar with Melitta plastic cones tucked behind some big square airpots. I asked what they were for and they said that they used them after 6pm when they don't keep coffee brewed. I asked if i could have one and they obliged. I asked for "pike's place blend" as there were advertisements for it everywhere. They said that that's what they were brewing as house coffee so i should have it. I asked what they recommended in the pour-over and they said "italian roast".
1:30 later (i know...), a custom "short" cup of italian roast is handed to me. It was roasted quite dark. Tasted carcinogenic, powdery & bitter. There was a strange astringency that left me feeling thirsty. I'm not surprised by not liking the coffee, i never do. But i'm fascinated by the fact that they have a pour-over bar at a low key, suburban Starbucks. With fresh coffee thats reasonably roasted, there's potential for this to actually be a drinkable product.

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I had a guy in the shop who worked for SBUX. I made him a chemex. He never heard of it and knew nothing of technique for pour-overs. He said that they just measure, grind, and pour.
He was even more surprised to hear that independent shops have been using this brewing method for years now.
It was actually kind of sad how upset he got when he realized how little he knew about coffee after working for them for .... 10yrs!
That's how my pour over went. Dry paper filter, grind & add coffee, measure water, pour all at once, wait. There were no specific techniques in play.

Starbucks isn't an establishment that fosters genuine interest (let alone vehement passion) in it's product. Once you learn their method, you're set. So there's no need for growth, with the exception of learning new recipe's and getting to know new equipment.

That said, some of the better barista's in the country started out at Starbucks, realized that they were getting serous about coffee, and moved to an indie shop who's focus was quality. I have to thank Starbucks for generally raising the bar for accessibility of coffee. If they hadn't introduced so many people to it, we wouldn't have 1/2 our customers.

Jeremiah Perrine said:
I had a guy in the shop who worked for SBUX. I made him a chemex. He never heard of it and knew nothing of technique for pour-overs. He said that they just measure, grind, and pour.
He was even more surprised to hear that independent shops have been using this brewing method for years now.
It was actually kind of sad how upset he got when he realized how little he knew about coffee after working for them for .... 10yrs!

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