Starbucks is giving its iPhone-toting patrons a new option for visiting their stores…they can use an app to order and pay for their drink before they’ve even arrived at the store. When they show up, it’s ready (or close to ready)…no more standing in what can be a very long line at times. This is being offered in Portland, Oregon, only right now as a beta test, but Starbucks plans to roll it out on a city by city basis throughout 2015 (and eventually, add the feature to its Android app). It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves…it’s a pretty big change in the fast food retail experience.
Read more over at Wired.
File this one under ‘more than I ever wanted to know about Starbucks.’ They may be widely credited with popularizing the gourmet coffee industry, but I still believe their product is just ‘good’ and better coffee can be found at specialty, mom and pop shops. Of course, despite their 16,000+ locations and more than 137,000 employees, there are still around twice as many McDonald’s on this planet, so they have a ways to go. More facts below.
Continue reading The Scale of Starbucks
Well I’m sure by now you’ve seen Starbucks advertising their new blonde roast coffee. They’ve been pushing this hard, samples in the stores, etc. So how is it? If you’re a regular Starbucks drinker, you’ll certainly find it different. If you’re one of those people who jokingly refer to Starbucks as “Starburnt” in reference to their dark roasted coffees, you’ll probably love this new blonde roast. It’s a really, really light roast and if that’s your thing, it’s worth giving a try.
After a slow rollout earlier this year of their new instant coffee, Starbucks has made a big push lately to really get this product out. Most stores are offering a free taste test, Via versus brewed, for which you’ll receive a free cup of brewed coffee for participating. I’ve tried the Via myself, and while it’s not as good as a good cup of brewed coffee, I found it better than most restaurant coffee. Despite being an obsessed coffee lover who grows and roasts his own coffee, I still see a place for Via in my life…I found that it’s perfect for camping or backpacking, if you’re trying to pack light you just can’t beat it. The packets are incredibly small, and there’s no need to bring your brewing equipment along, or to deal with coffee that had been ground days before (let’s face it, bringing coffee grinder camping is really, really wrong!). Starbucks Via is available in grocery stores as well as Starbucks of course, though I’ve also found good prices on this over at Amazon.
Speaking of camping though, if you’re not convinced that Via is the way to go, then I recommend either a plastic french press, or an AeroPress. The AeroPress is great if there’s only one coffee drinker in the group, otherwise a large french press would be better. Time has a nice write up on Via if you’d like to learn more.
While I truly expect Starbucks’ instant coffee to be worse than fresh brewed, I admit I’m willing to give it a try, especially when they’re giving away free samples! You can get your own sample here.
I just learned today about a ‘secret’, off-menu drink you can order at Starbucks – a short cappuccino. This is an 8oz cappucino compared with the smallest advertised size, the tall (at 12oz). It has the same amount of espresso as the 12oz, but is closer to being the ‘proper’ ratio of coffee to milk (with results in approximately a 5-6oz beverage). You can read more about it in this article at Slate.