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Starbucks, A Seattle-Based Chain And The Largest Coffee Company In The World

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Is this really surprising? Caramel = burnt sugar :)

For the record I avoid HFCS and CS almost always. Problem is, you don't always know. But caramel is still just sugar.

Also, I love the Clover machine. Sad that SBUX bought it out. It's still worth it to get a cup, especialy if you can watch the machine in action.

I was a bit surprised by having Corn Syrup as the #1 *and* #2 ingredients; I guess I never really thought about the difference between CS and HFCS before. The #3 ingredient was sugar, and this by definition means there's over twice as much (perhaps *way* over twice as much) corn syrup as sugar, and that's not a surprise.

I love the Clover Machine, too; I just don't care for the beans that go into it. If I recall correctly, Starbucks didn't invent this; they bought out the person who did.

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Oh, no. Starbucks is now pushing soda. Just what we need...

(You can also read about this on the hack-of-a-site usatoday, but I will not link to that purveyor of garbage, masquerading as a news outlet)

I love the Clover Machine, too; I just don't care for the beans that go into it. If I recall correctly, Starbucks didn't invent this; they bought out the person who did.

Regarding the Clover, the story is detailed here.

Starbucks bought The Coffee Equipment Co., which designed and built the Clover machines. To my knowledge, Grape and Bean was the only place in the metro area to have a Clover before Starbucks bought the company.

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I think calling the aforementioned beverages at McDonald's, "coffee," is a bit like calling Velveeta, "cheese." They are so highly processed (homogenized, stabilized and genericized) that they little resemble the natural product.

Curious, would you say the same about Starbucks?

I think drinking a cup of hot, black Starbucks coffee - from just about any bean or roast - is masochism.

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Curious, would you say the same about Starbucks?

I think drinking a cup of hot, black Starbucks coffee - from just about any bean or roast - is masochism.

No, I wouldn't. I think Starbuck's processing isn't fundamentally different from any other coffee roaster, although the execution isn't one most specialty roasters would be boasting about. I don't like over roasted coffee, but I can tolerate it. The problem I have with Starbuck's coffee is how incredibly stale it always taste. But Starbucks isn't really that unique in serving stale coffee, so I think most people don't realize that the defining flavor of the coffee they are drinking is mainly due to denatured proteins and carbonized sugars (all the aromatics and volatile compounds that fresh coffee exhibit are long gone a week or two after roasting).

However, the stuff that McDonalds, Dunkin' Donuts, etc sell is more a coffee product than actual coffee. That's not to say it can't taste good or, at least, enjoyable. It just doesn't taste like real coffee.

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No, I wouldn't. I think Starbuck's processing isn't fundamentally different from any other coffee roaster, although the execution isn't one most specialty roasters would be boasting about. I don't like over roasted coffee, but I can tolerate it. The problem I have with Starbuck's coffee is how incredibly stale it always taste. But Starbucks isn't really that unique in serving stale coffee, so I think most people don't realize that the defining flavor of the coffee they are drinking is mainly due to denatured proteins and carbonized sugars (all the aromatics and volatile compounds that fresh coffee exhibit are long gone a week or two after roasting).

However, the stuff that McDonalds, Dunkin' Donuts, etc sell is more a coffee product than actual coffee. That's not to say it can't taste good or, at least, enjoyable. It just doesn't taste like real coffee.

Boy, it sure does smell and taste stale.

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For those with passion for business, coffee, or both, this may really spark some interest.



We've had a few topics on this website devoted to Starbucks and the threat it may or may not pose to smaller, high-quality, "new wave" independent shops.  Locally, examples of such great independent shops include Arlington's Caffe Aficionado and Northside Social along with The Wydown, The Coffee Bar, Peregrine, Qualla, and Filter in the District.



I've long believed (and most indie pros agree) that better independent shops have carved out the higher end of the market where Starbucks doesn't seriously compete.  Such shops roast smaller batches of more interesting coffees than a multi-billion corporation can.  Such shops know their customers better.  Such small independent shops pay more attention to bean freshness and roast quality.  And, so the thinking goes, such shops also are assumed to be more dedicated to careful drink crafting, whether pulling espresso shots that aren't bitter or fresh-brewing coffees that are balanced and nuanced (though I personally think too many independents are more talk than walk in this respect). 



One of our area's better shops (and, arguably The Best combining roasting and retailing), Qualla Coffee, is owned by a very focused and talented roaster, Joel Finklestein, who posted this about Starbucks last year:



"From my own experience, we invested and struggled in Petworth for years until the neighborhood reached the point that it could actually sustain a coffee shop, while Starbucks smartly waited for the right moment to move in. Our business picked up significantly about nine months before they opened and you can bet they have all the market data they need to anticipate the right moment. In that sense, [it] is correct that indies are always years ahead of Starbucks, which just means Starbucks can wait until we figure things out then steal all our best ideas."



Starbucks has dabbled in "better" coffee over the years, putting quality Clever brewing equipment into some shops along with some single-origin coffees priced higher than their main money-making commodity coffees.



Now, Starbucks is taking premium coffee one big step further with a plan for 100 new "Reserve" stores in select US cities, including DC, over the next couple of years.  These stores will look and feel different from regular Starbucks shops.  And, they will exclusively brew, pull and sell smaller batch, "rare" coffees, at higher prices, roasted in a brand new, $20 Million Reserve Roastery just opened in Seattle.



I won't express my own opinions on this yet since not sure how much interest here there may be.  For now, if interested, the recent NY Times piece is here.  And, the local coverage of the new, 15,000 square foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery is here.




Finally, for great and detailed coverage of the local DC-area coffee scene and all the shops, please check out the relatively new donrockwell dot com coffee forum here.

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...BTW, the Starbucks there has started offering hand pours. Swear. They just don't get it - it's the beans, stupid: I don't *want* flavor from your coffee beans.

 

Oh, Starbucks "gets it," Don. They absolutely get it. They get profit and how to maximize it. And they even know the difference between mass-market coffee and more carefully sourced and handled beans.  What Starbucks does these days is all very purposeful. Just different goals entirely from smaller independents.

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Starbucks has dabbled in "better" coffee over the years, putting quality Clever brewing equipment into some shops along with some single-origin coffees priced higher than their main money-making commodity coffees.

Now, Starbucks is taking premium coffee one big step further with a plan for 100 new "Reserve" stores in select US cities, including DC, over the next couple of years.  These stores will look and feel different from regular Starbucks shops.  And, they will exclusively brew, pull and sell smaller batch, "rare" coffees, at higher prices, roasted in a brand new, $20 Million Reserve Roastery just opened in Seattle.

I won't express my own opinions on this yet since not sure how much interest here there may be.  For now, if interested, the recent NY Times piece is here.  And, the local coverage of the new, 15,000 square foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery is here.

I just stopped by the newly refurbished Starbucks in the Grand Hyatt at Metro Center one of the new "Reserve" stores in the US. Lest there be any doubt, this is just a regular Starbucks albeit one with slightly nicer and new decor.  There are four Reserve blends available at noticeably higher prices than their standard awful coffee. The barista taking my order seemed genuinely surprised at my Reserve order. They didn't exactly know how to make it - using some sort of industrial pour over contraption and it took ten minutes in a not crowded store to get my misto (I don't like cold milk).  I can't tell you how the Peru blend tastes because what I received was basically warm milk with a splash of coffee in it. Not sure if it is worth risking another crappy cup by trying again since I can walk a couple blocks further and get a far superior product at either RareSweets (La Colombe) or Dolcezza.

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I must agree with darkstar965 that Starbucks knows exactly what they're doing. Their share price, at or near a 52-week high, reflects this. I've had very nice coffees from Starbucks Clover (not "Clever") machines. Not a pour over though. No reason they couldn't do a pour over though. Frankly, it's easily repeatable if you have the dosage and technique down.

I must say I'm surprised a Reserve location would be in a hotel--typically they are licensed and not company owned.

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I must agree with darkstar965 that Starbucks knows exactly what they're doing. Their share price, at or near a 52-week high, reflects this. I've had very nice coffees from Starbucks Clover (not "Clever") machines. Not a pour over though. No reason they couldn't do a pour over though. Frankly, it's easily repeatable if you have the dosage and technique down.

Jon, I don't want to be a walking advertisement for Qualia, but I *thought* I'd had some "okay" coffees from the Clover machine, but that was only in relation to their regular coffee, which is awful. Now, I've seen the light. I don't think darkstar's comment was meant to be at all reflective of any sort of compliment.

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Via ArlNow, Starbucks is opening on Aug. 14, 2015, in the old Eamonn's/TNT/Society Fair space on Columbia Pike.

That could be the death knell for Rappahannock. The parking isn't optimal, but Starbucks will probably do well there.

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Desperate for Starbucks??   Arlington is getting 3 in One Block

Roslyn will shortly have 3 Starbucks, all within a block per this ArlNow story   As with many ArlNow stories its the comments which are most fascinating.  On the interesting side were comments about Starbucks strategy to cluster stores in a tiny area...the easier to drive out competition...and later close one of the stores.  (I didn't know that).

On the "entertaining side"   well you just have to read through the comments.  Quite clever and witty as is often the case in ArlNow.

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The three Starbucks in "one block" are now all open.  Walk up or down the hill around the 1300-1600  blocks on Wilson Boulevard and the new urban Target at 1500 Wilson Blvd recently opened.  Very large Starbucks sign; Virtually across the street the Roslyn SafeWay w/ a big Starbucks sign and an indoor area for seating drinking coffee, buying coffee from Starbucks, and roughly across from both a stand alone Starbucks  on Clarendon Blvd with some parking on site.  That is an overwhelming volume of Starbucks.

Its actually quite an "urban area, in the context of a lot of "highrise" or midrise residential buildings, the office buildings along Wilson, hotels and extended stay high rise hotels.  But its hilly and while not conducive to walking around...all those folks help populate some new restaurants up the hill on Wilson.   But 3 Starbucks on "one" block.  Overkill!!!!

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At around 9 pm, I'm expecting an angry call from my ex-wife asking why our daughter can't get to sleep.

You have some idea where I'm going with this.

My 9 year-old and I dropped by Starbucks for a refreshing beverage after a salty 5 Guys burger. Looking through the cooler, she spots a Starbucks Strawberry Lemonade Refresher. Being the diligent father I am, I read the can looking for any possible caffeine. Nope, product looks clean, right?

image.jpeg.a7d6f7b10099d99a52e3c0c2bd97ff79.jpeg

It's a sparkling juice blend. Or maybe it's lemonade! Could be a flavored juice blend drink, I suppose. Anyway, it's made with coconut water and real fruit juice!

I turn the can to make doubly sure!

image.jpeg.e19aa3c413ad2bceab8b7f6ed1c09b9c.jpeg

Ok, now it's a sparkling strawberry lemonade. I'm confused, but still no caffeine. 

I triple check! Look at that whopping 25% fruit juice. That's good, right?

image.jpeg.ef54bac318eec1024e1a6974a5e32042.jpeg

"Ok sweetie, drink up!"

I get home and just as I'm about to throw it in the recycling bin...

image.jpeg.4dfe88f28539cda4f48cda394ffa8210.jpeg

WTF Starbucks?

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On 2/27/2019 at 7:53 PM, Al Dente said:

At around 9 pm, I'm expecting an angry call from my ex-wife asking why our daughter can't get to sleep.

...

WTF Starbucks?

That's diabolical. My daughter would have jumped at that drink. It may not be much comfort, but at least this post has kept one child away from these drinks!

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26 minutes ago, Keithstg said:

That's diabolical. My daughter would have jumped at that drink. It may not be much comfort, but at least this post has kept one child away from these drinks!

It IS diabolical! That label screams "kid's drink!"

I sent a complaint to Starbucks and got a reply saying that they'd address this with the store. WTF? What is the store going to do about it? This is a labeling issue.

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Oh, and an update on the consequences. Ex-wife didn't call me, so I texted her this morning asking how my daughter slept last night. Yup, she got about 5 hours of sleep. 

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9 hours ago, Al Dente said:

Oh, and an update on the consequences. Ex-wife didn't call me, so I texted her this morning asking how my daughter slept last night. Yup, she got about 5 hours of sleep. 

The good news is that nobody has cancer. :)

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