The Adorable “Mini” (10 ounce) Frappuccino.

1 - 1  - untitled Kurt's mini pictureStarbucks is testing a “mini” size Frappuccino. This is actually the second round of testing, as there was a very small San Diego test of the mini Frappuccino this past summer. Select Starbucks locations in Houston and Denver offer this new size.

Unlike other Frappuccinos, it appears, as far as I can see, a little less customizable than others. At least the booklet, which introduces customers to this new item, seems to suggest that you have a limited list of flavors/ recipes to choose from. I’d like to hear from others what their experiences have been with this new tiny Frappuccino.

It’s so cute! Yes, I want this test to succeed! There have been many times when I feel like a “tall” size (12 ounces) is too much Frappuccino for me.

I asked readers (via Facebook) to send me their photos of the mini Frappuccino test, and much to my surprise, I received multiple emails.

So what do you think? Would you order a mini Frappuccino?

By the way, this is not the first time that Starbucks has experimented with cold cups that are smaller than 12 ounces. I’ve heard it said that Starbucks Japan has such a demand for small sizes that that market routinely offers a short cold drink cup. Many years ago, the failed Sorbetto test item was served in a 10 ounce Starbucks.

Edit: I’ve seen people ask “why” would Starbucks do this. I think the “why” is fascinating. Let me throw this out there: 1) A 10-ounce Frappuccino responds to customer demand for a smaller size 2) Additional resources are hardly needed – you’re not adding new ingredients, just a size. 3) Creates a beverage at a slightly lower price point. 4) The lower price point potentially creates ‘trial’ – customers order something they wouldn’t normally, and then later think, “Next time I have to order the larger size”! Creates new Frappuccinos customers. 5) Potentially, from a marketing standpoint, this is competitive price point with value menus and similar drinks available at other large chains. 6) Potentially trains customers to order from the menu – since these are less customizable, customers who are introduced to these drinks are lured in by standard recipes. This in turn is a little easier for partners – fewer drink remakes due to customization. 7) Potentially appeals to customers who want a smaller size for children. No more splitting a Venti in two.

It’s pretty brilliant marketing.

image menu1 - 1 - untitled Kurt's frappuccino1 - 1- photo 1 Kelsey's mini Frappuccino1 - 1 - IMAG2229 front of mini booklet1 - 1- IMAG2231 Mini booklet Inside of booklet

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Starbucks to reconsider its dress code & tattoo policy. #SbuxTattoos

IMAG2364 Jason at Pine Street 11 Sept 2014It’s been all over the news that Starbucks is re-evaluating its dress code. This includes Starbucks taking another look at their policy that partners (Starbucks calls their employees ‘partners’) may not have visible tattoos. The current policy requires that tattoos must be covered.

First off, I don’t think this is a straight-forward or easy topic. Anyone who says “everyone should think this way or that way” is simply not able to see that we are not at a place of consensus in this country.

For some people, tattoos do have a negative associations, such a strong association with non-law-abiding behavior. I’m not saying that’s right, but to say that all negative associations with tattoos are gone is just silly.  (The tattoos that show up on ugly tattoos blogs don’t help this perception.)

Another common thing I see is that many partners assume that because nobody confronts them about their tattoos, there’s general acceptance. This too is silly. One cannot assume that silence means approval. In fact, we live in a society highly trained NOT to confront others. I don’t walk up to strangers and say, “wow that blouse is cut too low; or your jeans are too tight; or your blonde highlights look horrible…” We just don’t do this to each other. Likewise, nobody is going to walk up to a barista and say, “your arm looks really weird as a complete green and blue arm.”

We are not at some national place of consensus. I would have to guess that it some more conservative cities, a sleeve of tattoos is more frowned upon than in some more liberal regions of the country.

And above all, there’s the age-old debate, “who can possibly decide what’s offensive?” Probably there’s something to be said about where the tattoo appears. It’s likely that neck and face tattoos are less accepted (generally speaking) than arm tattoos.

I would also say that when Starbucks originally envisioned that tattoos policy, likely they assumed that partners would cover tattoos with clothing: this is the only professional means to do so. It’s true that a band-aid looks horrendous. If Starbucks wanted to revisit the tattoo policy, they could make it stricter: They could say clothing must be used to cover tattoos.

I think there’s still some question whether all the stores would necessarily have the same dress code. Perhaps an Evenings Starbucks should have a different policy than a regular Starbucks?

Having said all of the above, my own personal views on tattoos has really evolved and changed over time. I’ve met plenty of kind-hearted, generous, and wonderful partners who are heavily tattooed. I will be the first to say it: If you give me a choice between picking between (1) a kind, sincere, warm, friendly barista with tattoos or (2) an easily-angered, just-in-it-for-the-paycheck barista with NO tattoos, every single time, I’m going to want the kind and gentle person with tattoos.

It is, without a doubt, meeting the sweet partners with great hearts that has led me to believe that the tattoo policy should strongly be revisited. I’m not bold enough to even think that I know the right answer for a sixteen-billion dollar Fortune 500 company. This would be one of those situations where the more I know, the less I know. Speaking only for myself, I do strongly think there’s a lot of room to relax that tattoo policy and allow for visible arm tattoos – but again, figuring out how to do it is super tricky. I don’t have the answers!

Thank you partner Jason for volunteering your arm for this article!

It’s your turn to weigh in. Comments written to be nasty or attacking others will be deleted. It’s okay to have strong opinions, but always remember reasonable minds may differ. Please civil in the comments. I know this is a hot topic.

IMAG2363 Jason at Pine Street 11 Sept 2014

 

 

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A look at Starbucks Reserve coffees from Panama.

PhotoGrid_1410323123826 copyTonight (September 9, 2014)  I attended a coffee seminar presented by Starbucks coffee headquarters partner Leslie Wolford.

We compared and contrasted three coffees from Panama, all sourced from different farms. All three coffees come from the Volcán growing region of Panama.

IMAG2351 All 3 Panama Coffees

 

 

Leslie Wolford is 24-year Starbucks partner who is part of a small team of people at the Starbucks headquarters who selects new coffees as Reserves and develops blend recipes as well.  The now-famous “Starbucks Micro Blend 11” was Leslie’s creation. (Scroll down for a picture of that Reserve coffee bag – I didn’t know until this tasting that it’s called number 11 because it was her eleventh iteration of beans to get the perfect blend that she wanted).

This was an incredible opportunity to hear Leslie speak. I wish you could have been there. She is incredibly knowledgeable and radiates her passion for coffee. And as a 24-year partner, she can talk about anything Starbucks.  It was inspiring to have this opportunity. At one point, we chatted about what Starbucks was like 24 years ago, and she commented that when she began in the stores, there were only three syrups: Almond, Vanilla, and Hazelnut and essentially customers could only buy coffee, lattes, or espresso.

All three Panamas are roasted to the lighter end of a Starbucks roast profile (think anywhere from a blonde roast to, at the darkest, Breakfast Blend), and all are washed-processed coffees. We tried all the coffees made by a French press.

Panama Los Cantares Screen CapWe began the coffee seminar with the Panama Los Cantares Reserve Coffee. This coffee is sourced from the a farm owned by Jackie Mercer Vallarino, who as a grower as won numerous awards for the Geisha  category coffees. This farmer has interesting practices when it comes to coffee cherry picking. The Nobe –Bugle are an indigenous people (native to this remove area of Panama) who live in the mountains and come down to harvest coffee. Jackie has created a system to house and look after the tribal families that pick coffee – including looking after the education and healthcare of the tribal member’s children.  And of course, they’re paid for their work.

The Panama Los Cantares Reserve had a lot of aroma – you could get the citrus notes even in the aroma. The acidity of the orange flavor notes hit upfront and then left you with a clean cup of coffee. It has a chocolatey mouth feel and soft flavors. What a great cup of coffee.

The coffees grown on this farm are influences by the microclimates created by a river that runs through this farm. It’s grown at about 4,500 feet to 5,000 feet. What a great example of how coffee is a farm product and the magic of the land influences the flavors.

Untitled-2 Starbucks Panama Carmen EstateNext we tried the Panama Carmen Estate coffee, grown at 6,000 feet. This coffee farmed is named after the woman who founded it in the 1960s, who was the grandmother of the current family farming this land.

This is the same varietals as the Panama Los Cantares coffee yet produces a completely different cup of coffee. Another perfect example of how the magic of the microclimates of a farm and the processing method will affect the coffee.

Our group noticed that this coffee has a lot less aroma than the Panama Los Cantares but was full of flavor. It has a praline sweetness to it and a lemony acidity.

The farm uses a high pressure washing method instead of the full fermentation step to wash his coffees.  (In a washed processed coffee, most go through a full immersion soaking, instead these coffee cherries are subject to high pressure water). The high pressure water is reclaimed and can be used for irrigation and the farmers find that they use less water in the washing of the coffee,  a sustainable practice.

This farmer sells his coffee beans lot by lot, with heavy competition to buy their coffee. Many independent coffee businesses are known to buy a lot here and there of this farmer’s green beans. Carlos Aguliera produces some of the world’s most renowned specialty coffees on his award-winning, family estate.

By the way, I loved this coffee tasting. It was amazing to taste the distinct and clear flavor differences in this small batch coffees, all of which retain their origin flavors.

IMAG2355 Panama Geisha coffeeThird we tried the Panama Geisha Auromar coffee, which is not available in stores and sold out online at StarbucksStore.com. This was a floral and complex coffee. Starbucks sourced about 1,000 pounds of this harvest of it, and sent some to Reserve stores in Japan, and sold the remainder on StarbucksStore.com, until gone.  This coffee had lots of tropical flavors and floral flavors. It explodes as a sweet and juicy cup of coffee. The farm offering this produces coffee on about 17 hectares of land, but owns in total about 30 hectares the remainder of which is native forest creating shade and micro growing climates. This farmer is known to pick the coffee cherries just slightly later than many farmers do – in other words, the coffee cherries are slightly over ripened. This creates risk of spoilage but the farmer has been able to create great coffee with wonderful berry notes.

This kind of coffee tasting is sometimes called a “vertical” coffee tastings – tasting and comparing across one growing region.

This was superb for my coffee education. I could have written more. I learned more about the farms, micro climates, and truly was able to appreciate how three coffees all from Panama can all taste totally different from each other.

Thank you Leslie for volunteering your time to walk us through an inspiring and education coffee seminar!

We had a pretty good turn out too:

IMAG2348 Group in attendence - Coffee Seminar 9 Sep 2014

 

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Thank You for Five Years of StarbucksMelody

Every September 9th, I publish a blog post that’s totally different than everything else throughout the year. It was September 9, 2009, that I launched this blog, so every September 9th I do some kind of year-in-review / roundup article. It’s only once a year that I write this kind of article.

The big thing I did this year was that I published a book! It’s intended as a light hearted, fun look at what separates Starbucks from other major corporations. Tales of the Siren: A StarbucksMelody is my true stories and experiences demonstrating Starbucks’ unique way of doing business: Starbucks is in the  “people business serving coffee.” A special thank you to anyone and everyone who has bought a copy of the book.

I’d like to thank the 1,036,965 absolute unique visitors who visited this site between September 9, 2013 and today. That number sounds more impressive than it really is. This year, unlike year’s past, I had wild (and unexpected) spikes in blog traffic surrounding the phrase “Frappuccino Happy Hour” and related to Starbucks and their holiday drinks and offerings. I have no idea why Google suddenly poured people my way in droves during Frappuccino Happy Hour, nor do I really think about it all that much. My  impression was that I had a spike of people who touched the blog to read about Frappuccino Happy Hour but didn’t really read much here or click through much. I say this because my time-on-site analytic dropped and my bounce rate increased during those wild spikes.

I started this blog with the hope that I would have a core, engaged, fun group of regular readers. So if one month’s blog traffic spikes up and then falls again, it’s no reason for worry wrinkles or gray hair. I’m not doing this blog to attain a certain number of “hits” or “clicks.” I don’t sell advertising space.

If it has been a while since you’ve said “hello” to me in the comments – just to let me know you’re reading – please do! Actually, I strongly suggest you subscribe too. There’s a box in the left rail of the blog to do so. That box was missing for a long, long, time making it really difficult to subscribe! You can finally easily do so! Please subscribe!

My blog is finally a little more mobile device responsive, and at about 47% of you browse this site from your phones.

Outside of the wild spike of visitors due to Frappuccino Happy Hour, the most common way that people find this website (meaning via organic search term driven traffic) is by searching on terms that relate to the Starbucks Refill Policy. The fact that that’s one of the most common search terms that bring people to this site tells me one thing: The refill policy causes confusion on both sides of the counter.

I find it amazing that one in five visitors to this site comes from the great state of California. The top three states visiting this site are California, Washington, and Texas. I have readers from all over the world, but most are in the United States or Canada. 77% of my readers are in the U.S. And 8% of my readers are in Canada. I have a trickle of readers in countries spanning from Austria to India to Mexico to Thailand … truly all over the world.

I know that at times, there are tense or difficult conversations on this blog. But on the whole, I try to bring to you Starbucks stories that let my readers see a perspective on it that they might not normally otherwise see, and that demonstrates what the “Starbucks Experience” means. One can’t ignore the need at times to take an unpopular view or bring up a tough subject that should be discussed, but as I mentioned, I try to keep this site uplifting.

Having said that, two blog articles this year jump out at me. What a privilege to be able to share partner experiences here.  One was an email sent to me called “What Customers Mean to Me,” and the other came from a Twitter conversation (and sharing a personal Facebook status update) called “This is What #ToBeAPartner Means to Me.”

One article that was surprisingly popular this year was something I threw together quickly, and mostly tongue-in-cheek: “26 Signs You’re Hopelessly Addicted to Starbucks.”

Every September 9th, I always re-evaluate whether I want to even continue producing this website. The funny thing is, I haven’t come close to running out of things to write about.

Feel free to say what you like below (assuming it relates to Starbucks or this site).

And thank you for FIVE years of reading StarbucksMelody. That is amazing to me!

Edit:

PS: I sometimes get asked about the effect of Facebook on this blog (or blogs in general). Because Facebook organic reach is tiny (often at 3% of likers), it plays a diminishing role in bringing visitors to this site. Unless you have “notifications” turned on for my blog’s Facebook page, you’ll miss most everything that I post. Facebook is a pay-to-play system now. On the other hand, there are still a lot of conversations that happen on the Facebook side of this blog. By no means has Facebook lost its relevance.

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“This is what #tobeapartner means to me”

I always say, the magic of the Starbucks experience is in the stores. Tonight, I had a Twitter conversation with partner Nicholas as he wanted to share with me:  “This is what is means to be a partner to me.”

Without any more delay, here’s Nicholas Hladuniw’s story, in his own words from his partner experience tonight, September 8, 2014:

Today at the bux was a special day. A customer brought me to tears. Well not balling but welled up for sure.

It was the end of the night and there was a lot of pastries to be gotten rid of. So I asked her if she has any kids at home who would like a cake pop, no charge since I was going to toss em. Which she said sure and I gave her three, one for each kid. She thanked me and proceed to leave.

However, she stops and turns around and comes back and she said the following: I just really want to thank you for doing that. I just came from the hospital visiting my mom who is dying from terminal cancer. I haven’t really seen my children much these days and this will just make their day. So thank you for making today a little bit better it means a lot.

I once again said it was my pleasure and glad that a seemingly small thing could mean so much.

After she left I had to take a moment in the back to collect myself.

It’s things like this that make me love working at Starbucks.

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The Gorgeous & New Bainbridge Island Starbucks

PhotoGrid_1410025496914 Bainbridge Island StarbucksBainbridge Island now has its first company-operated Starbucks. The grand opening was Friday, September 5, 2014. This is truly an incredible store. There are large community tables made with wood reclaimed from Bainbridge Island. There’s a fireplace with comfy seating. The store offers one-of-a-kind for-here ware designed just for this store. You can get a latte with a shot of “Bainbridge Island Blend” coffee.

Look at the fabulous for-here mugs with an image of Commodore William Bainbridge on it:

IMAG2218 Bainbridge Island Mugs 6 Sept 2014Right now, these mugs are just used as for-here ware, but my understanding is that eventually they’ll be for sale.

You can order Clover-brewed Reserve coffee and Starbucks barista Jocelyn will give it to you while making adorable faces at the same time!

IMAG2241 Barista Jocelyn Will Gladly Give You Your Drink in a Bainbridge Island Mug 6Sep14Bainbridge Island Blend, exclusive to this store, is available in half-pound bags or as a shot of espresso for your latte:

IMAG2203 Bainbridge Island Blend Coffee - 6 September 2014Take a look at how beautiful this store is!

IMAG2208 You can get Bainbridge Island blend in your latte 6 Sept 2014IMAG2206 Clover - Reserve area - Bainbridge Island Starbucks 6 Sept 2014IMAG2221 Bainbridge Island Starbucks facing the chill wall 6 Sep 14IMAG2201 Bainbridge Island Starbucks near the fireplace seatingIMAG2197 Bainbridge Island StarbucksIMAG2196 Lights at Bainbridge Island Starbucks 6 Sept 2014IMAG2195 Interior Bainbridge 6Sept2014IMAG2212 Starbucks on Bainbridge Island 6 Sept 2014

 

 

 

 

 

The Bainbridge Island Starbucks is located at 323 High School Road NE, on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The phone number is 206 – 842 – 5463.

The official grand opening celebration day is Saturday the 13th from 8:00 AM to about 2:00 PM. I’m not totally sure what the festivities will include, but I’ll be there in the morning. Hope to see you there!

Hope you enjoy your visit to this store!

In the past, I’ve mentioned things you must do when visiting Seattle. This is one of them. A list of Starbucks in Seattle vacation ideas is here.

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An Exclusive Reserve: Starbucks Costa Rica La Ines Geisha Coffee available 9/8/2014. (Roasted at the Starbucks Pilot Plant)

StarbucksStore.com will offer the most exclusive and small-batch Reserve Geisha coffee yet, beginning Monday, September 8, 2014.

This is a really exciting coffee to talk about. I went to its roasting, and literally watched Starbucks Master Roaster Brian Hayes roast the coffee that will be offered beginning on the 8th.  What an incredible opportunity!

I got a special invitation from a Starbucks corporate partner inviting me to the SSC.  So on a beautiful day in August, I headed to the Starbucks headquarters:

Starbucks headquarters - SSCThe Starbucks corporate partner whom I was with escorted me to the “Pilot Plant” inside the SSC. This is a small area of roasting operations inside the headquarters.

You might wonder what gets roasted at the Pilot Plant? I asked the same question! Green coffee comes to the SSC and they work to calibrate the best roast profile for that coffee – they calibrate the recipes for their blends, explore new possible coffee offerings, and develop all potential blend recipes, including deciding on the coffee recipes for all seasonal favorites such as Anniversary Blend and Christmas Blend.  Currently, some of the Reserve coffee offerings are roasted at the Pilot Plant, though rumor has it that the Reserve roasting operations will eventually happen at the future Starbucks Roastery at the corner of Pike and Minor, near downtown Seattle.  (If you scroll down to the bottom of this article, I talk about the Roastery a little more.)

We made our way to the Pilot Plant (which felt as if it was in the basement level of the SSC, though I’m not positive which floor I was on) and I saw a small coffee roaster:

IMAG1613 Pilot Plant Roasting operations

Coffee Roasting Master Brian Hayes explained that this Probat roaster can roast up to about 100 pounds of green coffee at one time, though that may only produce about 80 pounds of roasted coffee beans.

The  special Starbucks Reserve Coffee which I had the opportunity to see being roasted is the rare heirloom varietal “Geisha”. Starbucks was only able to secure about 150 pounds of this coffee from the La Ines farm in Costa Rica. Starbucks agronomist Carlos Mario Rodriguez worked with the farm to develop and secure this Geisha. It’s a washed-processed coffee, for those who are curious.Because there’s so little of this coffee, I imagine it will sell out fast on Monday!

The first thing that Coffee Roaster Brian Hayes did was do a roasting of a test batch to ensure that everything was calibrated correctly. Then he roasted the coffee that you will be able to purchase on September 8th.

The coffee sack from the test batch was very beautiful!

1 - Burlap Coffee Sack

As Brian roasted the Geisha, I could watch the beans progress from lighter to darker, via a small window on the front of the roaster:

2  - 1  Coffee Roasting Event 11 August 2014

IMAG1636 geisha roastingAnd Brian Hayes periodically checked the progress of the roasting of the beans too:

IMAG1646 Brian checks the coffeeBrian H - 11Aug2014 - 2The Costa Rica Geisha came to Starbucks in these burlap sacks:

IMAG1680 Geisha sack

Here’s the coffee before it was roasted. This is all they had of the unroasted beans!

Geisha before it was roasted2

We listened to the second “pop” of the coffee beans, and then the coffee was poured out of the roaster into a cooling tray just beneath it:

IMAG1654 Coffee roastingI know that I’ll go online on the 8th and order a bag of this Costa Rica Geisha. This coffee is so precious that no bags of it were passed out to those who were lucky enough to attend this roasting.

There you have it. Hope you get a chance to enjoy this coffee and also enjoyed the inside view of one small aspect of Starbucks coffee roasting operations.

EDIT on September 8, 2014:

This coffee is now available online (for a limited time, until supplies are gone). It’s being offered in numbered bags!

http://store.starbucks.com/starbucks-reserve-costa-rica-geisha-la-ines/011043704,default,pd.html?&srule=Featured&start=0&sz=16&cgid=starbucks-reserve-coffee

Untitled-1 copy

 

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A Trip to the Starbucks Coffee Gear Store and More.

My haul at the Starbucks Coffee Gear Store 29 Aug 2014On a number of occasions, I’ve mentioned that there is a physical Starbucks Coffee Gear store. It’s a place where you might find unique Starbucks logo-ed or word-marked items, not offered inside the actual Starbucks stores. The one Coffee Gear Store is on the 8th floor of the Starbucks headquarters building, at 2401 Utah Avenue South. It’s open to the public, and operates standard business hours, Monday through Friday. If you’re a partner (meaning a Starbucks employee), you can order online from the Starbucks Coffee Gear store website.

I dropped by the Coffee Gear store on Friday, August 29th. As you can see, there are pens, pencils, keychains, official Starbucks work shirts, iPhone cases, recycled Starbucks bags and much more. Have a look at some of the stuff you might find at this one-of-a-kind store:

IMAG1920 Starbucks umbrellaIMAG1919 - Barista work shirts 29 August 2014 Starbucks Coffee Gear storeIMAG1916 Soccer bag - Starbucks Coffee Gear store 29August2014IMAG1913 Starbucks wristlets - Coffee Gear StoreIMAG1912 Starbucks SunglassesIMAG1899 Starbucks iPhone cases at the Starbucks Coffee Gear storeIMAG1902 Insulated Lunch CoolerIMAG1910 Wine bottle green apron 29Aug14IMAG1907 Large Starbucks shopping bags - grocery sack size

In fact, I regularly get asked what to do that’s Starbucks-related when visiting Seattle. There really is a lot of see. I’ve done previous articles on this topic, but Starbucks is quick to open new stores and so my list of what to do has changed a little over time. Here are my top Starbucks-vacation ideas:

  1. Visit the Coffee Gear Store. That’s a must-do thing if you’re doing a Starbucks tour of Seattle. Go to 2401 Utah Avenue South in Seattle and head up to the 8th floor. From there, you’ll easily find it off the elevators, to your right.
  2. Visit the Starbucks Roastery – Okay, we’ll you can’t do this yet because it’s under construction right now. It’s on the corner of Pike and Minor, just past the downtown area, into Capitol Hill-First Hill neighborhood in Seattle. My guess is that it will open in late December.
  3. Visit 1912 Pike Place Starbucks – You can visit the store “where it all began.” You’ll find unique merchandise, hand-crafted espresso with a manual espresso machine, and a friendly experience.
  4. Visit Roy Street Coffee and Tea – This is one of the few “experimental” Starbucks stores. Its menu and store design hardly even resemble a Starbucks. There are no blenders. Beer and wine is available. And you’ll get a beautiful shot of espresso from a manual machine. You can pay with your Starbucks card and earn a star but there’s no way to use a reward at Roy Street.
  5. Visit an Evolution Fresh Juice Bar – Starbucks operates several Evolution Fresh juice bars. There’s one on Pine Street downtown as well as one in Seattle’s University Village shopping area. Don’t forget to pick up a collectible Evolution Fresh Starbucks card while you’re there.
  6. Visit a concept shipping container Starbucks – Seattle has two of them. One is the original shipping container store, called the “reclamation” concept store in Tukwila (on the edge of Seattle and Tukwila.) There’s also a shipping container Starbucks in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.
  7. Visit the Teavana concept store in University Village – This store is spacious and has an assortment of food and beverage. You can enjoy a carbonated tea, lunch, and smell lots of wonderful loose leaf teas.
  8. Visit the “skybucks” Starbucks – This Starbucks is located on the 40th floor of the Columbia Tower in downtown Seattle. The Starbucks itself is quite normal, however it’s on the only Starbucks in Seattle where you can enjoy your latte and spectacular views of the city from the 40th floor of Seattle’s tallest building. The views make it fantastic – and it’s open to the public!
  9. Visit East Olive Way Starbucks – This large store has a fireplace, one of a kind design, beer, wine, small plates, and offers regular coffee seminar events every other Monday evening (call ahead to confirm their schedule). You’ll find this store at the corner of East Olive Way and Summit, in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Here it is on the Starbucks store locator.
  10. Visit the University Village III Starbucks – This is a very beautiful store and is worth visiting just for that reason alone!
  11. Take a ferry from Seattle to visit the new Bainbridge Island Starbucks, on High School Road at the Island Village Shopping Center.

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Fall is here at Starbucks: New mugs and merchandise

PhotoGrid from the University Village 3 Starbucks 2 Sept 2014Fall has arrived in Starbucks stores everywhere. Anniversary Blend is back, and is available for the Verismo, as a whole bean coffee (in either half or whole pound bags), and is available in the K-Cup format too. There are beautiful new mugs and tumblers. I especially like the new coffee cherries-inspired mug found in a decorative box. There are a series of mugs called the “Siren Collection” all of which are beautiful. And the Pumpkin Spice Latte Via is now available everywhere. I tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte Via yesterday and I was very surprised at how good it is! That is a great option for making a Pumpkins Spice Latte at home.

I dropped by two Starbucks yesterday morning, both in Seattle’s University Village shopping area. One is store 302, which is the first University Village Starbucks (and is the second store in the whole company), and the other is the new Reserve – Evenings Starbucks, sometimes called “University Village 3” Starbucks. The newer University Village 3 store has a style of merchandise wall that is coming to more and more stores, but still fairly rare to see. (The Pike and Broadway Starbucks in Seattle also has this kind of concept merchandise wall).

I took some photos and just wanted to share. Do you have a favorite new fall thing at Starbucks?

IMAG2121 Siren collection of mugsIMAG2130 2 new coffee mugs in boxesIMAG2126 Made in the USA tumblersIMAG2138 Promo set up at store 302IMAG2143 Anniversary Blend - whole bean coffee - 2 Sept 2014IMAG2146 PSL ViaIMAG2132 the coffee cherry inspired mugIMAG2148 Merchandise wall at UV 3

 

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Tales of the Siren: A StarbucksMelody now available in the Kindle Lending Library.

My recently-published book, Tales of the Siren: A StarbucksMelody, is now available to you in the Kindle Lending Library. I don’t know how long I’ll keep it there. As per the Amazon.com agreement, it looks like it must stay in the Lending Library for a minimum of 90 days. I put the book in the Kindle Lending Library because I genuinely want to make it easy for people to have access to it and read it. Kindle users can access the Lending Library if they subscribe to Kindle Unlimited or, I think (I’m almost positive) if you have an Amazon Prime membership, you have access to it. If you’re an avid reader, I think it’s cheaper to use a Kindle to read books than to buy a bunch of paperbacks.

Just wanted to let you know! If you want to read a review of Tales of the Siren, I suggest the Portland Book Review’s review of Tales of the Siren.

Enjoy!

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Reporting on all the latest Starbucks news!