Amid customer complaints that the Seattle-based coffee chain has reduced the fine art of coffee making to a mechanized process with all the romance of an assembly line, Starbucks baristas are being told to stop making multiple drinks at the same time and focus instead on no more than two drinks at a time—starting a second one while finishing the first, according to company documents reviewed recently by The Wall Street Journal.
Baristas are also supposed to steam milk for each drink rather than steaming an entire pitcher to be used for several beverages. Other instructions include rinsing pitchers after each use; staying at the espresso bar instead of moving around; and using only one espresso machine instead of two, according to the documents.
Of course if you are in line on the way to work waiting for your latte, these changes might make you a little steamed yourself.
The new methods have “doubled the amount of time it takes to make drinks in some cases,” according to Erik Forman, a Starbucks barista in Bloomington, Minn., who says his store began making drinks under the new guidelines last week. Longer lines have resulted, says Mr. Forman, who is a member of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union.
The Journal is running a poll, asking readers what they think of the new rule. A large percentage are saying “It will slow things down to much”.
I was at a Starbucks last month (don’t ask), and decided that, though all good baristas have a tough job, at Starbucks, they should qualify for sainthood. Listening to people ordering bordered on comical. I’m sure I’d get fired the first day for raising one eyebrow and pointing out the idiocy.
“I’d like a 1/2 decaf, 1/2 caf, extra foam, dry latte”. Huh?
From a very large woman, “a Venti (extra large) low-fat, hazelnut-pumpkin latte, with two Equal’s and extra whipped-cream”. (conspiratorial whisper – “I’m trying to be good!”) So she’s got low-fat milk with a ton of sweeteners, two additional artificial sweeteners, and a whole bunch of fat to top it off – on top of low-fat milk.
Saints I tell you, Saints!