Let Us Know What You Think: Starbucks Overhauls the Customer Surveys

Screenshot_2014-10-20-09-29-38-1 My Starbucks Rewards StartStarbucks has switched to emailed surveys for you to rate your store visit. If selected to complete a survey, you’ll now get an email that says “We’d Like to Know What You Think.

There are no more in-store Starbucks paper receipts with survey invitations.

This summer, the in-store survey invitations changed to be a survey with no incentive to do it all. (Customers noticed the missing survey incentive, and asked for the incentive back on MyStarbucksIdea.com) In 2012, Starbucks switched to in-store receipts that offered one dollar off your next purchase. Before that, your survey receipt was worth one free tall hand-crafted beverage. And long before that, your survey receipt allowed you to enter into giveaways for money prizes. All the old invitations-on-in-store-receipts are a thing of the past now.

The new e-mailed surveys are major overhaul from what the old invitations-on-receipts ones were like: You now get a one “star” for doing the survey. If you’re part of My Starbucks Rewards, the “star” will be credited to your account within three days of doing the survey.

There are far fewer questions. There are no demographic questions asking about income, age bracket, or even how many times a month you go to Starbucks. There are fewer questions about what your experience was. There’s no area on the survey for a free form, opened ended response. You answer the questions on a scale of one to seven.

The new surveys are very mobile phone responsive! You can easily do the survey within a couple of minutes from your phone. I’m so happy to be able to easily do the survey on my phone now! You couldn’t do that with the old version of the surveys.

Here’s what it looks like.

Screenshot_2014-10-20-09-29-54 Survey IntroScreenshot_2014-10-20-09-30-14 Do you recall visiting StarbucksScreenshot_2014-10-20-09-30-22 Likely to returnScreenshot_2014-10-20-09-30-51-1 Start of surveyScreenshot_2014-10-20-09-31-30 Survey questionsScreenshot_2014-10-20-09-31-36 Thank YouI can think of lots of pros and cons of this new survey system.

On the plus side, it’s likely that many more people will take the time to fill them out, since they’re now shorter and more convenient to do, since you can easily do it on your phone.  This is huge! And it’s nice that there’s now at least some incentive again for doing the survey. Lots of retailers offer some small incentive for doing a survey. Having a “star” as a reward, reinforces the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.

On the downside, there is no way to give any open-ended feedback on the store. There’s no blank box for you to write what you like: I’m a firm believer that open ended feedback is still a good thing. I also wonder how Starbucks collects demographic data without the survey questions. It is possible that some people will ignore the survey in their inbox (or it will go to their junk mail folder), as some people might assume that it’s spam. Since the surveys are now tied to My Starbucks Rewards, it seems like only My Starbucks Rewards members are doing surveys now. That seems like a skewed audience sample.

I think the new e-mailed surveys are a good move by Starbucks. More people will do the surveys since they’re shorter and easier to do! The difference in length in dramatic. Like before, only randomly selected individuals will receive surveys about their store visits.

As an aside, I’d like to see Starbucks make more of a commitment to having the “Share Your Thoughts” pamphlets in every store (filled out with the district manager’s name on the pamphlet). Feedback is extremely valuable, regardless of how it’s collected. I’ve met many people in retail who think everything is fine if no customer has confronted him or her about something. It’s a false sense of security to assume that silence means approvalSome research suggests that half of unhappy customers stay quiet and say nothing. Other research is much more dramatic, suggesting that about 80% of those with an unhappy experience will say nothing at all.  Hopefully, if Starbucks has many doors open to feedback (i.e.,surveys and “Share Your Thoughts” pamphlets) they’ll hear great feedback. But my only point here is the more feedback, the better.

Interestingly, I’ve heard partners tell me that now they can do surveys for their own store. The new e-mail survey system can randomly select a store employee now!

Have you gotten one of the new surveys? What do you think?

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Coffee Education: Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia; Reserve Colombia El Penol; Geish La Ines; Anniversary Blend.

Yesterday, (10-18-14) I participated in a coffee tasting bonanza. It’s funny because it wasn’t totally planned as such but ended up being an amazing day of coffee tastings! I tried the following:

  1. Tasting Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia in a compare/contrast tasting with the Starbucks Reserve Geisha La Ines.
  2. Starbucks Reserve Colombia El Penol paired with food.
  3.  Anniversary Blend with rosemary smoked truffle salt popcorn.

2 - 1 - PhotoGrid_1413658726682 Hacienda2 - 1 - IMAG3229 pouring the Hacienda coffee2 - 1 - IMAG3218 Hacienda smell2 - 1 - IMAG3241 Geisha2 - 1 - IMAG3244 Geisha side by side with Hacienda coffeeHACIENDA ALSACIA and GEISHA LA INES:

Jocelyn (a friend and current partner) and I met up at the Bainbridge Island Starbucks. As we sat, several other partners dropped by where we were sitting to say hello and connect. There’s no better means of connecting than tasting coffee!

One partner brought us his personal bag of Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee. This is a near-impossible coffee to come by. Starbucks owns a farm in Costa Rica called Hacienda Alsacia. This is a new venture for Starbucks. This Hacienda Alsacia coffee bag held the first crop ever sourced and produced from the Starbucks-owned farm. I couldn’t believe his generosity in leaving us his bag of it! He knew we’d love it, but still! This coffee was only distributed to Starbucks District Managers and above at the recent “Starbucks District Manager Leadership Conference” held in Seattle last week.

Later on in the day, a partner produced a bag of the Geisha La Ines coffee, which seemed to come out of nowhere. You may recall, I went to the roasting of the Geisha La Ines, in August this year. Being able to side by side compare these two coffees was fantastic. They’re both grown in Costa Rica but obviously are two different varietals and even their roast profiles were different.

I was getting over a head cold, so my own tasting felt a little off. I thought that the Hacienda Alsacia was pretty complex for being a non-blend coffee. I picked up a little spiciness in the Hacienda Alsacia. Jocelyn’s tasting notes were as follows:We did a side by side comparison with the Geisha La Ines. If you’ve tasted the Geisha, you would know that coffee is sweet, but in an exotic fruit type of way. This coffee could be a cousin.. Sweet, but with this beautiful floral aroma. Sparkling acidity with a hint of citrus.”


2 - 1 - IMAG3201 Brooke holding up the Colombia coffee2 - 1 - IMAG3204 Colombia with pocky2 - 1 - Untitled screen cap of colombia el penol 19 Oct 14The Colombia El Penol coffee is a new Reserve coffee, which will be available in Starbucks stores beginning October 21, 2014, and is already available on StarbucksStore.com.

Jocelyn mentioned that she gets a lot of cranberry and cranberry juice flavors out of this coffee. StarbucksStore.com describes it as “black current and bittersweet chocolate mousse.”

She paired this coffee with the Berry Carnival flavor Pocky sticks, something that is easily found at Seattle’s iconic Uwajimaya grocery stores. (I realize that this is sort of a very local Seattle thing: Uwajimaya is kind of a Seattle institution and it seems like everyone who is a long-term Seattle resident has been shopping there and knows about it.)

This was a surprisingly great pairing. The Pocky treat is like a hard, unsalted pretzel stick, with a candy coating. The candy part of the treat has a rich flavor and helped make the “currant” flavor in the coffee come out more. I felt like the chocolatyness of the coffee went well with the pretzel-like part of the Pocky treat. I realize this is a really unusual pairing, but definitely well thought out!

I found the Pocky treats on Amazon.com, in case you really want to order a box.


2 - 1 - IMAG3198 Jocelyn popcorn I had so much fun yesterday that I forgot to take a lot of pictures! We paired Anniversary Blend with Jocelyn’s home-smoked rosemary, truffle salted popcorn.

I should have taken a photo of the bag of Anniversary Blend, but somehow neglected to in all the fun. Hopefully all of my readers here have tried and/or seen Anniversary Blend before. It’s a bold, spicy coffee that was originally introduced in 1996 to celebrate Starbucks’ 25th anniversary.

Popcorn and Anniversary Blend is a classic pairing option. This was an especially fabulous pairing as the smoked popcorn brought out the roastyness to Anniversary Blend. In general, Anniversary Blend will pair nicely with many savory food options. A buttery popcorn is perfect with Anniversary Blend.

I noticed that Anniversary Blend is now gone from StarbucksStore.com, but you can still find a bag or two of it here and there at your local Starbucks stores.

2 IMAG3207 bainbridge island blendLast but not least, we also tried Bainbridge Island blend with the La Boulange Pecan Tart. That’s a perfect option of Bainbridge Island Blend! I just didn’t get enough pictures.

Hope you enjoyed these coffee tasting adventures! We spent hours at the store, just trying one coffee after another. I know I said it already, but it was an incredible day!

I’m always interested in hearing about your coffee tasting adventures. Please feel free to tell me about fun coffee events you’ve been to at Starbucks, or anything Starbucks coffee related.

If you like reading about coffee tastings, I recommend browsing past articles in this category. In particular, I thought this coffee event for the Panama Reserve coffees was fabulous.

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News: Bonus Stars at Target Starbucks Oct 17-19/ You Can Now Redeem Rewards at Target Stores

image001 Target bonus starsMyStarbucksRewards at TargetBeginning October 16th, Target Starbucks locations now have the ability to redeem your “Lucky Dozen” or free “Birthday” rewards that you receive when you’re a part of MyStarbucksRewards.

October 17 – 19th, you will earn bonus stars for your purchases at Target store Starbucks! Each time you use your registered Starbucks card at Target Starbucks, October 17 – 19, you’re earning two stars!

One important thing to note, I was able to confirm with an official Starbucks spokesperson that “MSR offers (1:1) emails are not redeemable at Target Café stores.” Let me explain what that means: Starbucks uses “one to one” marketing. This means that you might receive promotional emails that are different than what your friends receive. Starbucks may email MyStarbucksRewards promotions such as “bonus stars for ordering Oprah Chai” or “Get one breakfast sandwhich and get a second half off”. Those are examples of the one to one MSR offers. Target Starbucks are not honoring these MyStarbucksRewards special promotions.

It’s still very big news that you can redeem rewards at Target Starbucks now!

About a year ago, I wrote an article that had a short summary of MyStarbucksRewards. It’s still a helpful article, though you should absolutely check out Starbucks.com for all the details and latest information on MyStarbucksRewards:


Last but not least, always check back with Starbucks.com for the latest reward information. The MyStarbucksRewards program is subject to change as Starbucks is always re-assessing what program offerings will work best.

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New Starbucks Barista Dress Code: Yes to Tattoos. Yes to Black Jeans. Begins 10/20.

making an appearance-New 20October2014Starting October 20, 2014, you might notice that your local Starbucks barista (at company-operated locations in the U.S.) has a new look. Starbucks has made its first official overhaul of the dress code in a long time. Some big changes include the following:

  • Tattoos are now permitted, so long as not on the face or throat, however they cannot be lewd or hateful.
  • Black denim jeans are now acceptable for your barista to wear.
  • A small nose stud is now okay.
  • Shirts no longer have to be tucked in.

There’s much more, but those are some of the major changes. The changes officially go into effect on Monday, October 20, 2014.

Just my two cents, but I suspect that we might still see very isolated, rare exceptions that will not follow this new dress code. I’m guessing that it’s possible that high-profile concept stores such as the Roastery or stores that have a unique partnership with other businesses (such as the Downtown Disney Starbucks) may set their own elevated dress code. Again, I’m making a wild guess (and could be wrong), and would still assume that the dress code as described above will cover 99.99% of the stores you visit in the U.S.

About one month ago, major news sites reported that Starbucks was re-evaluating their dress code. Now we have the official Starbucks new dress code. Let me know what you think! Please feel free to weigh in. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Starbucks news and updates roundup: Latte Art, House Blend and More.

Starbucks is constantly in the news! I think there will be many, many things to write about soon but here’s a roundup of a few current Starbucks news stories that caught my eye:

Is Latte Art Coming Soon To A Starbucks Near You? That’s question asked by the well-known coffee blog, Sprudge.com. I would have to say “yes”! I’ve said for a long time that Starbucks partners want to do latte art. About a year ago, I wrote an article just casually mentioning partners who I knew who enjoyed latte art. This is a subject where for years, I’ve listened to partners tell me that they enjoy latte art and want to get better at it. Months ago, I heard that Starbucks was going to start encouraging latte art in their stores. I’d say that Sprudge.com got it right! Partners, want me to feature your latte art? Email photos my way. Tell me a little bit about the pictures you send too and/or information about yourself. What store are you at? When did you create the latte art? How long have you been a partner? Do you like the shift towards doing latte art at Starbucks?

Consumer Reports singles out Starbucks House Blend as the best tasting pre-ground coffee in your grocery stores. This Today Show news story puts a spotlight on Starbucks House Blend as your tastiest pre-ground grocery store coffee offering. I knew I always loved House Blend! :) StarbucksStore.com says that this coffee has been around since the very beginning: 1971. Very old Starbucks Coffee Master training materials would describe House Blend as follows: “Starbucks signature blend and our most popular coffee.  With a little tartness and toasted nut flavor, this is a straightforward, balanced, simply wonderful coffee.” And House Blend was described as “Mild and Bright.”

Starbucks Donates Nearly $2 Million from Teavana Oprah Chai Sales to Benefit Young Leaders. I was pretty sure that all the many iced Oprah Chai beverages that I had on hot Seattle summer days were adding up to something good. Click through to read more on the Starbucks donation.

I’m sure I’ll have many more Starbucks news announcements very, very soon. Stay tuned!

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Giveaway: A Child-Size Starbucks Green Apron & Gift Card

2 - 1 - IMAG2964 Child's Green ApronI’m doing a quick giveaway! I was at the Starbucks Coffee Gear Store  recently and noticed this cute child-size green apron. I thought that would be especially cute as part of a Halloween costume! Of course, there might be kids who would wear it any time of the year!

This is going to be a quick giveaway. You have to post your comment to enter before Friday, October 17th at 3:00 PM PST. I’ll stop counting at 200 entries (I don’t think there will be nearly that many but I am putting that cap on it). You may only enter once. (One entry per person – multiple comments by the same person will be deleted.) Your odds of winning depend upon the number of valid entries (up to the max of 200). I’ll put all the names on little cards, and ask someone to pull a name out of a Starbucks bag. Winner chosen at random.

You are entering to win one Starbucks child-size green apron and a Starbucks Gift Card loaded with $15.00 on it.

Here’s what you need to do to enter: You must have an address within the United States or Canada. You must be over age 18 to enter. You must leave a comment below on the blog. Tell me what your favorite past article on this site was. I realize that there are now well over 1,000 published articles on this blog. I’d like to know what resonates with you. I find it interesting, for example, that articles on Coffee Education Seminars usually get few comments but when I meet people and talk about the blog or get emails, lots of people tell me how much they enjoy reading those articles. I thoroughly enjoy Starbucks history lessons articles, such as the story behind Breakfast Blend, the story of the Eggnog Latte, or articles like this that tell some of the stories of the current whole bean coffee packaging. The articles that get the most comments tend to be those that stir up disagreement and strong feelings. I suppose if I really wanted to always inspire lots of comments, I’d make sure to post plenty of controversial topics. But I try to keep those to a minimum. Maybe your favorite articles are about Teavana? I know that there are many people who read this site for information about products and/or beverages in the testing phase. Maybe it is the giveaways that you especially like seeing on this site?

I would encourage you to use a real email address to enter: this will make it much easier for me to reach you if you’re a winner. I would also encourage you to use more than one single first name if you have a common first name. Sometimes it’s confusing to have multiple entries by “Michelle” or “John” – You can be Michelle S. or Michelle 3 or whatever you like. This is not required, but is recommended. And lastly, I’d encourage you to put your email address in the left side column and subscribe to future updates.

Your comment must be posted before Friday the 17th at 3:00 PM PST. I would note, it’s very common for people to send me an email or post on Facebook thinking that’s an entry. You do have to write a comment on the actual blog. And please be specific about what past article(s) you especially liked. I won’t approve a comment that’s just “Love this blog.” I appreciate that very much, but it’s not what I contemplated with this giveaway! Thank you for being great readers! Your comments are great feedback to help me guide what I’ll write about in the future.

Thanks! Enjoy!

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The World’s Largest Private Collection of Starbucks Collectibles.

2 -1 - IMAG3026 Frappuccino clock2 - 1 - IMAG3059 SleevesI think the world’s largest collection of Starbucks collectibles might belong to Bay Area resident, Sue Fox. And I mean, the largest collection of all things Starbucks outside of what’s inside the Starbucks Support Center or Howard’s personal collection. She has cards galore. She has entire displays from Starbucks. There are clocks, Starbucks playing cards, the series of Starbucks – Doonesbury collectibles, Starbucks snow globes, sleeves, Mazagran, pins, shirts, an entire book of in-store promo materials, and much, much, more. As I looked through her collection, I asked “Sue, about the only thing that seems to be missing here is Joe Magazine. Do you have Joe?” She said, “Oh yes, I have all three issues. They’re still in a box.” The things on display at the Coffee Convention represent a tiny fraction of what she owns in Starbucks collectibles. Starbucks used to do so many really, really unique things. The display that talks about giving a card that “will grow” on them – that was the year that the sleeves that went with the cards had actual seeds in them that one could plant.

Once in a blue moon, I’ll hear people say things like, “there’s so much stuff inside Starbucks.” I always think, that’s a person who had absolutely no idea what the Starbucks era from about 1992 to 2005 was like.

Without further ado, I am posting a few photos of Sue Fox’s collection of Starbucks collectibles. Notice that in her collection, she has the original 1996 psychedelic Starbucks paper cups that were used to celebrate Starbucks’ 25th Anniversary:

2 -1 - Seeds cards display2 -1 - IMAG3067 japan city mugs2 -1 - IMAG3040 pins2 -1 - IMAG3037 ornaments2 -1 - IMAG3028 paul mccartney2 -1 - IMAG3025 1996 Anniversary Blend Paper cups2 - 1- miscellaneous snow globes and more2 - 1 - IMAG3062 paperbags 10 Oct 142 - 1 - IMAG3061 starbucks t-shirts and caps2 - 1 - IMAG3060 Display of Sue's collection

I’ve mentioned it before, but if you want to reach Sue Fox, her email is StarbucksEditor@Yahoo.com. She is the producer of the annual Starbucks Coffee Collector’s Convention.

So I participated with a group of about 50 people, who flew in from all over the world, to enjoy the collector’s convention. People were there to trade Starbucks cards, gain information, enjoy the Starbucks museum display (see above – Sue’s collection), and listen to the guest speakers. There were three guest speakers: myself, Sue Fox, and John Bucks, the founder of BucksCard.com. I had an entire hour to fill up to talk about Starbucks. It was much easier than I thought it would be. Once you get me talking about Starbucks, I can’t stop! I told stories like going to the headquarters Pilot Plant for a special roasting of a Reserve coffee and many more. I meet partners who don’t know about the Pilot Plant all the time. It makes for a good story.

On the Friday of the convention, about 30 people all took a bus tour around. We went to the Coffee Gear Store (which has a cute new Halloween t-shirt available right now), 1912 Pike Place, and University Village to experience Teavana, Evolution Fresh, and an Evenings Starbucks.

Here are a few photos from our adventures out and about:

2 - 1 - IMAG2996 Len smiles at 1912 Pike Place2 - 1 - IMAG2994 Packed at 1912 Pike Place2 - 1 - IMAG2989 going into 1912 Pike Place 10 October 20142 - 1 - IMAG2980 coffee con group in front of the SSC2 - 1 - IMAG2954 Coffee con group at the Coffee Gear Store 10 Oct 142 - 1 - IMG_9788140397844 Megan and Melody in front of the SSC 10 October 20142 - 1 - IMAG2947 halloween shirt at the coffee gear store

During the “trade and sell” part of the convention, I set up a table and sold copies of my book, Tales of the Siren: A StarbucksMelody. The woman who sat at a table adjacent to me sold charms and jewelry made from used Starbucks cards. She runs a business called CoffeeCharms.com. I was entranced by her jewelry! She makes beautiful bracelets, necklaces and more:

2 - 1 - IMAG3091 Card earrings2 - 1 - IMAG3090 The Siren - Charms2 - 1 - IMAG3085 Starbucks card necklaces2 - 1 - IMAG3081 bracelets2 - 1 - IMAG3080 coffee charm jewelry 11 October 2014








Most of the people who came to the convention were avid Starbucks card collectors. This was a group that was incredibly knowledgeable about card and their collectibility! I learned a lot!

I will say that this convention got me thinking about customers and their unique self-created relationships to the brand. Sue Fox is collecting Starbucks stuff in a fantastic kind of way. Winter is on a life-long journey to visit every Starbucks in the world. Some people may recall that Beautiful Existence made the news in 2013 for eating only Starbucks food (or Starbucks food-products from their subsidiary brands such as Teavana or Evolution Fresh). And yep, there’s me. Just a Seattleite reporting on all things Starbucks from their backyard and always hoping for as many great experiences as possible.

Hope you enjoyed the many photos and I hope to see you at the next Coffee Collectors’ Convention. I heard Sue Fox mention that she’d like to do Anaheim, as she could potentially work in a trip to Disneyland Starbucks. I love that idea! Anaheim is a convenient place for me to visit! Again, if you want information about the Starbucks Collectors’ Convention, email Sue at StarbucksEditor@Yahoo.com.


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A Quick Look at Starbucks Tests: Golden Maple Latte, Dark Barrel Latte and more.

Starbucks has a lot of test items going on right now. I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of these limited test items.

image golden mapleGolden Maple Latte – If you’re in Orlando, Florida or Cleveland, Ohio, you might find the “Golden Maple Latte”. Starbucks has offered Maple Lattes in years gone by, and frequently offers a seasonal Maple Latte in Canada. We’ll have to see how this version of the Maple Latte does!

You can see that the Golden Maple Latte is on the upper right corner of the “daily offerings” board picture.

Dark Barrel Latte – It’s been all over the news that Starbucks is testing a beverage that is a beer-inspired flavor. Sounds odd to me! I’ve heard this drink is available in Jacksonville, Florida.

image-2 signageThe Ice Cream plus Espresso test is currently only available at a tiny number of San Francisco Starbucks locations.

I would love to try this. I might have to take a quick trip to San Francisco soon!

Cane Sugar Cola test- I actually don’t know much about this test, but I believe it’s available in stores with Fizzio machines in Denver and Houston.

Last but not least, whenever I write about tests, I always have to give the caveat that Starbucks tests many more beverages and products than actually make it to a national launch. Don’t hold your breath for any of these tests to come to your neighborhood store. For example, if you go back just a few years ago in time, the Starbucks Pink Lime Frozt actually went through multiple rounds of testing before Starbucks gave it the axe, never to be seen again. You can still make something that resembles a Pink Lime Frozt at Starbucks: Passion Tea, Creme Base, and Lime Refresher mix, all in a blender! No wonder it didn’t make it. ;)

If I had to make wild guesses on what test has a future, I’d say that the Coconut Milk test has promise. But I’ve learn the hard way it’s difficult to second guess Starbucks!

As always, do not re-use images without my express permission. A huge thank you to the many readers who send me emails with images and information!

And you know, one needs a little self-promotion to be successful, so I’ll again suggest you read Tales of the Siren while enjoying your Golden Maple Latte!

Feel free to talk about in Starbucks test item in the comments!


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Starbucks Collectibles – #ThrowBackThursday.

I was just going through a few items that I might talk about during Coffee Con, this Friday and Saturday. My presentation is Saturday the 11th, and I might do a brief show-and-tell.

How many of these objects do you recognize or know the story behind them?

2 - 1 - Starbucks CollectiblesIf you have questions about Coffee Con, email Sue at StarbucksEditor.com. This year’s activities will be held at 16500 Southcenter Pkwy, Seattle, Washington 98188, which is the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, SeaTac/Southcenter.

This is the schedule:

5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Registration open
Starbucks Museum Display
Reception Munchies
Meet & Greet
CARDS AS ART WORKSHOP – w Russ Hagen @ 7:30 PM

6:00 -11:00 Hot Breakfast for Convention Hotel Guests
9:00 – 10:00 AM – Show table set up
10:00 – Show Room Opens to Registered Attendees
11:00 – 1:30 Public Admission to Show Room – $15
1:30 PM – Lunch Break
2:30 Lecture 1 – Melody Overton, Author of Tales of the Siren
3:30 Lecture #2 – Sue Fox
4:30 Show Room re-opens
6:00 Dinner Banquet & Door Prize giveaway
10:00 Convention is concluded
I’ll be sitting in the show room to on Saturday, so feel free to come by and see me from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM. I’ll have a table with my book Tales of the Siren.
If you can’t make it to Coffee Con, the Kindle version of the book will be on sale October 10th and 11th only. Use your Kindle or the Kindle app on your phone to download Tales of the Siren for 99 cents.
This is one book that it’s okay to get a big coffee spill on! ;)
2 - 1 - IMAG2941 talesOf course, if you’re looking for books about Starbucks, I recommend that you buy Onward by Howard Schultz, or The Starbucks Experience by Joseph Michelli. Howard Schultz has a new book called For Love of Country, coming out in November. The Amazon.com link to it is in the side-bar of this blog.
So back to the original question, how many of those collectibles in the first photo above do you know, or know the story behind? :)

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Fall Into Fizzio. What’s your favorite Fizzio customization?

2 -1 - IMAG2890 blackberry syrup and lemon ale 5 Oct 2014It may be Autumn here in the Pacific Northwest, but in some areas of the country, it’s still blazing hot. Too hot, in fact. As of June this year, Starbucks stores in the sun belt states of the US have carbonated beverages called Fizzio. (And there are a couple of international Starbucks markets that have Fizzio too.)

I was just in Orange County, California, and it was so hot that I thought I’d melt:

Screenshot_2014-10-04-16-50-08 - 96degrees96 degrees out! So, I landed at John Wayne Airport and tried to drink as much Fizzio as possible while visiting Orange County. Some readers may recall that I had the chance to try these drinks when they were still very experimental. I’m still a fan! This is such a refreshing, delicious all-new beverage at Starbucks.

The official Starbucks newsroom now has an image of the Fizzio machine, which is used to make the three official beverages: Spiced Root Beer, Lemon Ale, and Ginger Ale.

ZRBaPMfC-3150-2100One of the first things I did was make my way to a Starbucks in the City of Orange (Main & Town and Country), and ordered a Fizzio Root Beer:

2 - 1 - Fizzio Rootbeer 4Oct14 Main and Town and Country Starbucks Orange CaliforniaI quickly started asking baristas what their favorite Fizzio combination is. While visiting another Starbucks in Orange, a barista mentioned that she really liked Ginger Ale with Peach syrup. Turns out, I was speaking with the store manager of the Orange Plaza Square Starbucks, who recognized my name and quickly figured out I am “StarbucksMelody.”

2 - 1 - IMAG2801 Ginger Ale with Peach syrup Orange Calif 5OCt2014 Orange Daily News StarbucksI’m still not a huge fan of Ginger Ale, but this was indeed a refreshing combination! I might change my mind about Ginger Ale!

I’ve always loved how pretty the old building that the Orange Plaza Starbucks is in. It’s in the historic Orange Circle area, which has lots of cute antique stores, places to eat, and two Starbucks.

2 - 1 - IMAG2797 Orange Daily News Starbucks 5 Oct 2014At one Starbucks, baristas strongly suggested Lemon Ale with just a very light splash of strawberry on top. Apparently the strawberry is so heavy that it quickly falls through the drink, and you only need a tiny splash of it. This was absolutely delicious too. This drink was recommended with “extra fizz” and you end up with a sweet and delicious very fizzy customized beverage:

2 - 1 - IMAG2873 Lemon ale with a splash of strawberry on top 5Oct14 Tustin and Lincoln Starbucks OrangeFinally, I was in Santa Ana, and a register barista (at the Bristol & McArthur Starbucks) suggested Root Beer with Vanilla Syrup. This might have been my favorite of all these combinations. If you worked hard enough at customizing this drink, you could get close to a Root Beer float. ;)

2 - 1 - IMAG2893 Rootbeer with vanilla syrup 5 October 2014I liked the wall art of the coffee growing regions (“the coffee belt”) at this Santa Ana Starbucks:

2 - 1 - IMAG2895 Wall art at the Bristol and MacArthur Starbucks Santa AnaSo what is your favorite Fizzio beverage? And if you don’t have Fizzio in your region, what do you think of carbonated drinks at Starbucks? By the way, in speaking with store partners, it seems as though this is doing quite well… at least in Orange County. Lots of customers like having this option.

On a new topic, on October 10th and 11th, in honor of Coffee Con, the Kindle version of Tales of the Siren will be 99 cents. Make a mental note to get your e-copy of the book then! You can use the Kindle app on your smart phone too! I have it set up now that on the 10th and 11th, you’ll see the Kindle count down clock for the promotion. I have it set up to run for 49 hours, ending at 1:00 AM on the 12th.

Thank you to the many great partners I met in Orange County recently! So many friendly baristas!


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Reporting on all the latest Starbucks news!