HomeRoast Digest

Topic: New low for Starbucks (17 msgs / 378 lines)
1) From: Andy Conn
Say what you will about Starbucks being the "McDonald's" of coffee.  I for
one, until today, have appreciated their seriousness about espresso.  Ok,
the're not Italian Barristas, but I would frequently watch them toss out up
to 7 shots before getting the timing down and handing over the espresso.
Starbucks has sunken to a new low.  They have replaced their Barristas with
a fully-automated espresso machine.  I tried it today and I can
confidentally say my Saeco Vienna (also a full-automatic) makes at least as
good espresso.  At least before Starbucks had a good kick to it.  No more.
Hey, still looking for more comments on how 2 week old roast tastes best.
- Andy
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2) From: John - W5JSA
	Does it have a coin slot?  Gosh, just like my corner gas station!
	You probably won't get many responses to 2 week old coffee - I don't ever
roast enough that far ahead. I work on 48 to 72 hour coffee most of the
time.  I got really carried away once and roasted 32 ounces - which my
ex-friends and family felt compelled to help me drink up - and it only
lasted 4 days.

3) From: Michael Allen Smith
No.  The Barrista still performs the frothing and drink assembly.  The
machine grinds, packs, and pours.  I disagree with Andy on the quality.
I've had several shots from locations here in San Diego that use the machine
and have been happy with every single drink.  These machines are not the
el-cheapo machines you've seen some cafes.
Just like a regular espresso machine, if it not maintained it will start
pouring bad shots.
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4) From: Henry C. Davis
mine also usually does not last more than a maximum of four days except the
occasional bit not large enough for a pot, which tends to get combined with
other leftovers to try out blends. I guess if I had a bigger roaster or more
time I might get stuck with some more than a week old, but for now the HWP
is just keeping up.

5) From: EuropaChris
I hate to say it, but in some cases, it might even be an improvement.  The issue at hand is that while it may be a super-auto, at least it is consistent and takes an incompetant barista out of the equation.  Judging by some of the dreck I've had, even after the barista tossed 5 shots until the timing was down, I'll welcome anything to give me a fighting chance at a 'decent' espresso.
In addition, my buddy Gonzo, who part times at a local roastery, says he gets maybe half a dozen requests a *week* for straight espresso.  The other  hundreds of shots are all capps, lattes, mochas, etc.  He takes great pride in pulling awesome shots, and they are easily the best in the area and on par with what we pull from our Silvias.  But, it's really wasted when you dump it into a tall latte' mocha carmel half skinny half drain cleaner concoction.  Might as well push a button on a super auto.
As offensive as I find the super automatic machine in it's typical American style of ease over quality, it makes sense from a business point of view.  It cleans itself at the initiation of the operator, and takes little training.  It will even tell *you* what's wrong.
my $.02
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6) From: John - W5JSA
I've had a bunch of good shots from a combined machine down here in Texico.
But I go to Moonbeams because Luis is VERY aware of his grind.   And.. you
have to admit that everything tastes good in San Diego (except the local
machine grinds, packs, and pours.  I disagree with Andy on the quality.
I've had several shots from locations here in San Diego that use the machine
and have been happy with every single drink.  These machines are not the
el-cheapo machines you've seen some cafes.
pouring bad shots.
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7) From: Robert Allan
Being that I have never ordered an expresso, how does starbucks serve it?
In a big disposable cup?
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8) From: Andy Conn
Usually, unless you tell them otherwise in which they will put it a ceramic
cup to drink in the shop itself.

9) From: Michael Allen Smith
eSpresso, eSpresso. eSpresso.
*$ serves dopio in an 8oz paper cup, although some have ceramic dematisses
if you order it "for here".  They could put it in a smaller cup, but some
patrons will take their espresso over and fill the cup with milk.  Call it a
poor man's latte.  I once saw a lady order a 4 shot espresso in a Venti cup
(20oz) filled with ice.  Then she went to the condiment counter and dumped
maybe 10 packets of sugar in it and then FILLED it with half-and-half.
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10) From: Isabel1130
I don't know about you guys but I can taste the difference between a good 
shot and a bad one even in a cappa.  I drink a Starbucks cappa only in an 
emergency.  Not even close to what I can do at home with the Silvia, the 
Mazzer Mini (and the Freshroast of course.)
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11) From: Spencer W. Thomas
I'm at a conference out in SF.  I had a choice between *$ and Peets (with a
slightly longer walk to Peets).  Guess which I chose!?
Not only did the Peets cappa taste of something other than charcoal, this is
the first time (I think) that I've gotten properly micro-foamed milk.  Ya don't
know what you're missing until you get it right.
Andy Conn wrote:
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12) From: Jonathan W. Ziman
It's frustrating though. One time I went to my local Peets and ended up 
with a luke-warm cappa with re-re-re-heated milk that was just awful. But I 
persevered, and the next time, during a less busy part of the day, the 
barista, get this, pre-warmed the paper cup! He actually paid some 
attention to the dosing and tamping, and I mentally counted as he drew the 
shot and was surprised that it was pretty much right on target. And then, 
as Spencer said, they topped this great espresso with true micro-foamed 
milk, from a fresh box from the fridge (so it hadn't been re-heated 10 
times). I was so happy I almost didn't know what to do.
Then, at the other extreme, we stopped at a *$ yesterday and experienced 
the automaton approach. Not quite the same....
PS Yes, I know, pre-heating a paper cup probably doesn't do a whole lot of 
anything, but it's the thought that counts, and it indicated to me that he 
actually cared about the drink he was making.
PPS I'm *loving* the Nicaragua SHG La Illusion! Anyone else get this yet? 
It just seems to roast really well in my HWP, and comes out delish.
At 03:49 PM 6/15/2001 -0700, Spencer W. Thomas wrote:
Senior Production Specialist,
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13) From: John - W5JSA
	Pete's came to the Bay long after I migrated. So after hearing about Pete's
all these years I cut across the city (as opposed to highway all the way to
the airport) just to try a Pete's.  You can have my share!  The place was
jammed with some pretty cool folks, but the crew behind the counter left a
lot to be desired - like talent and service! I was near Polk, but can't
remember exactly where - but west of Market and south of the city center.
	I guess to be fair, I've been drinking good coffee for a half dozen years
and it takes an exceptional cup to satisfy my taste.

14) From: Jeff Spirer
At 07:51 PM 6/15/01, John  - W5JSA wrote:
I have to agree about Peet's (which is how it should be spelled.)  I find 
it better than Starbucks, but not enough to get excited about.  It's only 
better because the staff turnover is lower, from what I can tell. The best 
espresso I have had in the Bay Area is at Cafe Boroni (probably spelled 
that wrong), in Menlo Park.  They use Lavazzo beans and seem to train staff 
well, and the results are good.  The best coffee is when one of the Boroni 
sisters is making it, with a rich, sweet and slightly bitter cup of 
espresso (which is all I drink, can't comment on the foam.)  Which brings 
up an observation - no chain will ever compete with a committed family 
operation, from what I have seen.
Jeff Spirer
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15) From: Fulton Martin
The *one* time I tried a single shot at my nearest Starbucks (Adams 
Ave. / Marlborough, Michael) I got ~1/2" in one of those shot-sized 
paper cups. (I'm still learning with my Silvia, and was looking for 
something to compare to. Mine was better.)
--On Friday, June 15, 2001 3:54 PM -0400 Andy Conn  
Fulton Martin
San Diego, CA
N32 43.956, W117 05.874
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16) From: Spencer W. Thomas
But wouldn't ya know, the Peets was closed today (it's in the financial district,
so I guess it makes sense).  So I had to make do with *$.  There was only one guy
running the whole place, and he overheated my milk the first time.  To give him
credit, he dumped the whole pitcher and started a new one.
"Jonathan W. Ziman" wrote:
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17) From: Charles Haynes
In message <3B2BA01F.8CDA1355>, "Spencer W. Thomas" writes:
There are a couple of Peet's Downtown. 22 Battery at Market,
and 217 Montgomery. I could well believe both are closed today.
If you can, come on the "F" line up Market to 2257 Market up
near the Castro (and near my house!). I know they're open
On the other hand, there should be one or two decent cafes open
closer to downtown.
And not just "compress" also the Utah Raster Toolkit. Are you still
making beer? I stopped homebrewing when I started being able to get
IPAs with enough dry hopping to make me happy.
Hi old timer. I remember seeing you around when the net was flat.
You busy this evening? Come on over and hang out!
	-- Charles
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