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It’s time for another episode of From the Mailbag. This is where I feature the pictures and content that you email me. It’s been way too long since I’ve done this kind of article. Always feel free to write me!

Do You Want a Frappuccino?

A Starbucks partner in Arizona sent me this cute video link. Two baristas are singing “Do You Want a Frappuccino” to the tune of the song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from the Disney movie Frozen. It’s cute!

Amsterdam Blend

From a Seattle partner, he sent me this photo of a very old package of Amsterdam Blend of coffee. I have no memory of Starbucks ever producing Amsterdam Blend and I was wondering if anyone here knows the story behind it? The partner said he was cleaning out his grandmother’s kitchen and stumbled upon this coffee. Notice that it’s dated 2003!

photo-11 Amsterdam BlendClover – Reserve Starbucks in Boulder, Colorado

A customer in Boulder, Colorado sent me some pictures of the most recent Reserve – Clover Starbucks in Boulder. It looks like a great store! This Boulder store is brand new, and opened February 28, 2014. I particularly like the chalkboard art. Hope you enjoy these photos too:

HIll-Window-Seats Boulder CO Reserve StarbucksHill-Clover copyHill-Welcome-BRda Boulder ReserveHill-Outside Boulder CO Reserve StarbucksHill-Lobby-Line March 2014Hill-Boulder Chalkboard - March 2014

 

 

If you’re enjoying this little Starbucks fan website, please share it with your friends.

Enjoy!

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Every April, Starbucks coordinates lots of volunteering projects in communities all across the United States, and internationally as well. Anyone can join in. Last year, I signed up for a tree planting project in Cle Elum. This year I picked two projects that looked interesting and that I could work around my work week. The first was Friday, April 18, 2014, and was a meal program at the William Booth Center (a shelter and meal program for homeless men). The second project was a middle school beautification project on Saturday the 19th. I had such a great time at both! If you haven’t signed up for a community service project, there’s still time. Here’s the official Starbucks Community Service website.

IMAG0037 William Booth CenterWILLIAM BOOTH CENTER

On the 18th, I met up with three partners to serve food at the William Booth Center. It turns out, they were all part of Starbucks finance (in various roles). Janey, Jake, and Christian told me that they come back once a month to serve food, all year long. I walked to the William Booth Center from my office, and got to work right away. Christian and I wiped down the tables and put out the salt and pepper. Janey and Jake started making some sandwiches to serve a small number of sack meals for those individuals who for one reason or another couldn’t make it to the hot lunch meal that we’d be serving. After cleaning the tables, I joined in with the sack lunch project: I added a banana, granola bar, a bag of chips, and a can of juice to the sack lunches to get them ready to distribute.

IMAG0041 Jake and Janey making sandwichesFrom noon to 1:00 PM, I stood serving fish sticks to the crowd of homeless men who came through for lunch. Janey served up the soup, and Jake was on French fry detail. Not shown here, Christian was a hero doing the heavy lifting: He worked the deep fryers and brought us hot French fries and fish stick to replenish our supply as we ran out. Here we are checking out the food:

IMAG0046 William Booth Center Meal Program - Food Serving Jake Janey ChristianThis was a super fun short volunteering project. Meryl, an older gentleman who seemed to be in charge of the kitchen, was very thankful that there was someone there to stand serving food for an hour.

IMAG0066 Washington Middle SchoolWASHINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL

On the 19th, I went to Washington Middle School for a “beautification” project. I didn’t have a clue what I’d be doing but I was game. I met up with numerous Starbucks partners who were already familiar faces. I worked on a team with store manager Gypsy, assistant store manager Kienan, and partners Laurel, and Kiesha. We had to dig a trough around an area to be mulched, clean the area of most of the weeds, lay down paper, and then spread mulch over the paper. Easier said than done!

The team of volunteers listened to instructions on what to do:

IMAG0070 Group instruction 19 April 2014From there, we split off into groups. There were other groups working in other areas, but my photos will just be from the team that I worked on. But I know that the school appreciated everyone who came out! I learned that that there are too few gardeners for the number of schools that they’re responsible for maintaining.

First thing we did was dig a trough around the area to be mulched. I asked a person standing nearby to get an action pic of us working. Here I am with Kienan, and Adam (the little boy) working on troughs. Adam, the little child, was the son of one of the volunteers. He seemed to really like helping out with the trough digging. It was just adorable watching him trying to help us! Starbucks partner Ain Powell coordinated and put together this project (working in partnership with the school district) and I think (I sure hope I have this right) that Adam is Ain’s son.

IMAG0077 Me Kienan and Adam digging troughsIMAG0080 Adam helps dig the trough 19Apr14After preparing the lawn with a trough, we placed a layer of paper on the open area. It might not be obvious in this photo, be we got rained on pretty heavily doing this. I got down on my hands and knees and helped roll out the paper. I ended up soaked with muddy clothes, and loving it.

IMAG0081 - Working on making troughsIMAG0086 Papering the area to be worked onIMAG0092 Kienan Gypsy Keith working on spreading mulch 19 April 2014A separate team that worked with the mulch (hauling it around the grounds in wheelbarrows) brought us mulch to cover our area of the grounds. Partner Keisha and I (to be clear, if you don’t know it already, I’m not a partner) rolled out paper, and partners Kienan and Gypsy then shoveled mulch over the paper. When we were done, it looked great!

IMAG0097 Finished mulched area of lawn 19 April 2014We ended the morning with a group photo of all the volunteers. Thank you to everyone who came out. This was a fantastic project!

photo-10 - 19 April 2014 Middle School Clean Up Group photoI know that the school employees were extremely appreciative. They explained that they just don’t have the resources to hire more gardeners and they’d really wanted to beautify the front grounds of the school. It does look great mulched.

I’d love to hear about your community service! I hope I can inspire you to sign up for a community service project. :)

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Commentary: Starbucks Then and Now.

by Melody on April 19, 2014

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Commentary: Starbucks Then and Now.

Once in a while, I’ll hear people say that they want a simpler Starbucks experience. I think back to what I remember of Starbucks in the 1990s. Was that really such a halcyon era? Or does nostalgia just trip us up now and then?

There are times that I feel nostalgic towards the 1990s. Starbucks was a small company and there were only two stores anywhere near me: Oaktree and Northgate Way. And in fact, for years it was only the Oaktree store. Tori Amos was in her heyday. Seinfeld played on t.v. The idea that everyone must have a cell phone didn’t exist yet. Forrest Gump and Titanic were smash hit movies of the 1990s. I always thought that the Truman Show was a brilliant movie. I admit, I still like the album Spiceworld by the Spice Girls and I saw the Spice Girls movie in theaters. (I may have to blast Stop right now just to write this article.) I don’t know about other cities, but Seattle seemed like it was a lot more affordable back then. The expense of rent (and a mortgage) has really gone up.

But what would happen if we returned to the Starbucks of the 1990s? What would that look like? I think the modern day customer of 2014 would turn and run the other direction. Hello competitors! Let’s plunk a 2014 Starbucks customer inside a 1993 – 1999 era Starbucks:

Customer: I’d like a Tall 2% Mocha. Barista: I’m sorry we only offer one milk. The only option is whole milk.

Customer: I’d like a Tall Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Barista: We have only like three syrups. Would you like Almond, Vanilla, or Toffeenut Syrup?

Customer: Shakes phone, and says “I’m ready to pay.” Barista: Nice calculator!

Customer: I’d like a Venti Brewed Coffee of the Day. Barista: I’m sorry but Venti hasn’t been invented yet. Would you like a short, tall, or grande brewed coffee? (Venti was added to the menu in the late 1990s.)

Customer: I’d like to buy your coffee beans in grocery stores. Barista: We don’t sell whole bean coffee in grocery stores.

Customer: I’d like to pay with a Starbucks card and earn rewards. Barista: I’m sorry we have no rewards. The Starbucks card will be invented in 2001.

Customer: Wow the merchandise is incredible. You have such an array of merchandise everywhere! Limoge boxes, bearista bears, stationary, gold reusable coffee filters, every size of French press that you can imagine, books, games, CDs. Wow. Look at the Christmas pottery! Planners, toys, tumblers, mugs – I love the mugs with the coffee stamp images on them – and look at this snowglobe! Barista: Yes we have tons and tons of merchandise!! We may have just 3 syrups but meanwhile we’re drowning in merchandise.

Customer: I’d like a breakfast sandwich with my Tall Coffee. Barista: We’re sorry but we have no warmed food and no breakfast sandwiches.

Customer: Can I get a domed lid on this Frappuccino? (The Frappuccino was added in 1994 – 1995 depending where you were). Barista: We’re sorry, the domed lid hasn’t been invented yet.

Customer: Can I get a Frappuccino without coffee in it? Barista: I have no idea what you’re talking about. There’s no such thing. (Starbucks introduced the crème based Frappuccino in 2002).

Customer: I’m so confused. Which line should I stand in? Barista: We have a separate line if you’re just buying whole bean coffee over there at the far end of the store.

Customer: I’m in a hurry. Why in the world is it taking five to ten minutes for my beverage and the store is empty. Barista: I’m sorry we constantly have to time our espresso shots. Our espresso shots are hand pulled. Your beverage is always slow.

Customer: Can I get that Kenya Clover brewed? Barista: I’m sorry but Starbucks doesn’t buy the company that makes the Clover until 2008. The Clover doesn’t get invented until about 2007.

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People have changed. Times have changed. It sounds dreamy to go back to a simpler time but I don’t think it would work for any business now. The one thing for sure, the Starbucks of the 1990s had a lot more decaf coffee and there was a whole bean coffee menuboard hanging in every store. I kind of miss the old coffee menu boards. I have moments of nostalgia too but I think nostalgia is this weird phenomenon that always makes us revere the past as the best era ever. Maybe it wasn’t.

Maybe we’re having the time of lives right now.

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NEW: Introducing Starbucks Brezza Blend

by Melody on April 18, 2014

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2 - 1 - Brezza Blend 2Starbucks Brezza Blend is here. This is an all new summer coffee offering. Brezza Blend is available now on StarbucksStore.com and will be available at your neighborhood Starbucks stores starting Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Brezza Blend contains Colombia, Papua New Guinea and East African coffees. From all that I’ve heard, it’s amazing as an iced coffee. It’s a medium coffee with a juicy profile.

This year, Starbucks’ previous summer coffee, Three Region Blend, is not returning. I think Brezza Blend is designed to replaced Three Region Blend. You may recall, but for years, Gazebo Blend was the standard summer coffee offering but that was last offered in 2010.

If you’ve tried Brezza Blend, let me know what you think. I’m looking forward to writing about all the new summer offerings that are available starting April 29th.

2 - 1 - Brezza Blend - Front on  a patch of grass

 

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To know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from.

April 16, 2014

Later this week, I’ll be doing some volunteering as part the Starbucks Global Month of Service. I found myself in need of a new green  Starbucks “community service” t-shirt and so after some emails and coordinating, I scheduled a time to pick one up at the Starbucks headquarters. I dropped by the SSC (the Starbucks […]

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Frappuccino Happy Hour: May 1st – May 10th 2014

April 13, 2014
Thumbnail image for Frappuccino Happy Hour: May 1st – May 10th 2014

Starbucks Frappuccino Happy Hour returns: May 1st – May 10th 2014. Customers can get a half-priced Frappuccino when visiting a company-operated Starbucks from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. You can customize a Frappuccino or order one of the classic favorites that so many people enjoy: Caramel Frappuccino, Caramel Ribbon Crunch (seasonal), Java Chip Frappuccino and […]

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The Starbucks Passport to Africa

April 12, 2014
Thumbnail image for The Starbucks Passport to Africa

In 2003, Starbucks produced a special coffee passport for partners: it was possible to enter in a contest to win a trip to Africa. A reader recently sent me these photos, and I love them! A prerequisite for entry in this giveaway was completing this Passport to Africa. What a great idea. Here are the […]

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StarbucksStore Exclusive: Torrefazione Coffee and a New Cafe is Coming. (Open Thread)

April 11, 2014

Feel free to talk about anything Starbucks related in this thread. At StarbucksStore.com, it caught my eye that they’re now selling Torrefazione Italia Coffee! They were a small Seattle business that Starbucks purchased over ten years ago. I remember going to the Seattle, Pioneer Square location now and then. They offer a very beautiful, high […]

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Starbucks Global Month of Service.

April 10, 2014

Every April (since 2011), Starbucks has encouraged and facilitated community service participation for both partners and customers. Of course, there are Starbucks partners who volunteer their time year-round, but each April Starbucks strongly encourages community service. Anyone (both customers and partners) can use the Starbucks Community Service website and look for events to participate in. […]

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Today is Pike Place Roast Day.

April 8, 2014
Thumbnail image for Today is Pike Place Roast Day.

Today is Pike Place Roast Day. Six years ago today, Starbucks introduced Pike Place Roast into their coffee lineup. In honor of Pike Place Roast Day, I asked Coffee Master Jordan if he would use Pike Place Roast for an East Olive Way coffee tasting. He was happy to do so. We tried this coffee […]

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