Starbucks Slashes 600 Jobs


In trying to keep the focus on the consumer..... and on the bottom line, Starbucks under their new again CEO Howard Schultz, is slashing 600 jobs in non-retail support roles; some through attrition and some through a pink slip. Recall that next week, all baristas are reporting for re-training in an effort to boost the quality of the product, and most likely the experience of their shops.

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February 19, 2008

Rooibos Tea - Red Espresso

redespressocup.jpgPeople are rediscovering Red Espresso in this country, and I have seen a few published reports on it lately. I wrote about it a while back when some shops in South Africa started making Red Espresso shots - pulling a shot of Rooibos Tea through an espresso machine that allows you to get a fruity highly flavorful red drink that can be a great alternative to an espresso. To be clear, it does NOT taste like coffee. I even went so far as to pull shots of a Celestial Seasonings Rooibos tea; not bad.

Read (a little more) at Seattle Post

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February 18, 2008

Starbucks ESE Pods

StarbucksESEPods.jpgA lot of people may have been introduced to espresso drinks through Starbucks, and as a result have developed their taste for that signature flavor. After getting a machine home that brews espresso with ESE pods, they might just want that taste you can find in the stores. Well, you can to some extent by picking up Starbucks ESE Pods - 7 grams of espresso ground and pre-packaged to work easily in your ESE compatible espresso machine. I liked them when I reviewed them a while back and I continue to work them into my usual rotation when using my ESE pod machines, like the Cuisinart EM-200 that I am using right now.

Starbucks ESE Pods are available in Decaf and Regular, at Amazon and at most full sized Starbucks cafes.

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February 15, 2008

Starbucks Testing the Clover

According to a recent Boomberg article, it sounds like Starbucks is looking to the $11,000 Clover brewing machine to help lift sales in its stores after founder Howard Schultz came back to the CEO post to help fix the sagging coffee giant.

In its hometown Seattle, Starbucks is testing a 12-ounce (360-milliliter) cup of ``fresh-pressed'' coffee at $2.50 each. The price is $2.25 in a Boston trial. Starbucks charges $1.55 for a regular brew. McDonald's Corp. has been stealing customers with $1.39 coffee and is challenging Starbucks by adding espresso counters.
- Bloomberg

Well, we'll try to find out more since it's being tested in our own back yard.

Check out our story on the Clover, The Ultimate Single Serve Coffee Machine?, and a Trip Report on the Clover over at our Sister Site,

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February 14, 2008

Colombia Coffee Growing

Roast magazine is a well regarded industry magazine that this month takes a look into Colombia. I've enjoyed a cup or two of Colombian coffee and I enjoyed reading up on some of the different growing areas. With a half a million coffee farmers growing 10 to 25 bags of coffee each, things really add up.

Coffee farming in Colombia is, to put it quite simply, woven into the fabric of everyday life. People farm the land, producing most of the food and raising the animals that they eat. Money from coffee farming provides cash to improve homes, buy clothes, maintain cars, motorcycles and equipment and buy necessities for their children—and they always have children! Without the extra income that coffee provides, these farmers would be subsistence farmers. It is for this very reason that Colombian coffee farmers are so willing to try and please coffee buyers from North America. It is not uncommon to find a wet-mill architecturally integrated into a coffee farmer’s home.

[From Roast Magazine]
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February 13, 2008

Calling All Baristas ... for Training

Starbucks has been under pressure recently for not growing sales, and as a result the company brought Howard Schultz back as acting CEO. Next stop, a big back to basics for the baristas. I know the airport Starbucks aren't the best examples of their art, but I had a terrible latte the other day, and had to bring it back. The next latte was better but not excellent so if that's any indication they could use some re-training work.

Apparently all 7100 stores will shut down for 3 hours starting at 5:30PM on February 26th, to retrain baristas and hopefully improve quality.

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February 11, 2008

Nutella Espresso Mocha Mash-up

nutella400_250.jpg I stumbled across this recipe this past weekend, and since I love both Nutella AND Espresso, I had to give it a try. Not bad. If it's cold, like around here in the wintertime, a quick, and I mean quick trip to the microwave means the tablespoon of Nutella melts a bit easier into the espresso. Do it before mixing into the Espresso. I found mixing the Nutella and Espresso in a large coffee mug then pouring in the milk made things (and clean-up) easier.

Nutella Mocha

1. Two - Three shots very hot espresso
2. One heaping teaspoon of Nutella
3. Half cup of low fat milk

Make fresh espresso. Stir in Nutella, smashing it against the sides of the cup to ensure it is mostly melted and dissolved into the coffee.

Add milk to mixture, stir and enjoy.

Via Arizona Coffee

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February 6, 2008

Valentine's Day Special - FrancisFrancis X5 Deal

Illy is running a Valentine's Day special - order now for on-time delivery. They are sellig the Francis!Francis! X5 an all metal pump driven machine that is a pretty sight and a pretty good deal right now.

It features an angular, sloping body, the X5 was designed by Italian architect Luca Trazzi for Francis Francis to take up less counter-space. This state-of-the-art machine features:

  • All metal, pump-driven machine with brass boiler
  • Professional-diameter brass handles which can be used with either ground coffee or E.S.E. pods
  • 48 oz. capacity water tank
  • Side steam arm for frothing milk and making cappuccino
  • 8-9 bars of dynamic pressure, 18 bars of static pressure
  • Contemporary clock on machine face
  • Measures 8.3"w x 10.5"d x 11.5"h.

    With this deal you also get 2 cans of Illy ESE Espresso pods and two espresso cups. If you like this machine, not a bd time to buy.

    At Illy - FrancisFrancis! X5

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  • January 31, 2008

    Starbucks Slowing Growth - Closing 100 Stores

    Starbucks is slowing its growth by lowering the number of stores it plans on opening, while actually going to far as to close a few along the way. Closing the underperforming stores is expected to boost sales at other stores - assume these are close enough that people want to make the detour. In the end, the move seems symbolic, as the coffee giant is still planning on opening over 2,000 stores this year.

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    January 30, 2008

    Great Deal on Espresso Machines

    If you are interested in some great deals on espresso machines, you should take a look at the WholelatteLove Outlet store. They always have a bunch of espresso machines for sale there that are always a good amount below retail. The units are usually returns or open box items, and are upwards to 20% off retail prices for some pretty nice machines.

    WholeLatteLove says:

    Before a machine can be offered through the Outlet, our technical staff carefully inspects it to ensure it is in perfect working order, so you can always be sure you’re getting the best in quality and performance. Each refurbished machine comes complete with all components that are necessary for proper use.

    Go check them out at WholeLatteLove Outlet Store

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