I have to apologize that I am struggling this month to keep up on blog content. This blog is a hobby, but it is taking a ton of my time outside of work. I apologize that I don’t reply to every single blog comment either. I want to make it absolutely clear that I appreciate every single comment. Sometimes I feel like the conversations happen naturally, I don’t want to interrupt the conversations, and on other occasions, I simply run out of time. And sometimes, I just can’t think of a good reply. Please know that I am reading the comments, and thankful.
At the rate of about 14 or 15 new blog posts each month, sometimes my favorite articles come and go fairly quickly. It is worthwhile to go back and look at those blog posts that stood out in some way. I’m going to select 10 favorites here, and I hope you’ll go back and perhaps catch a gem of a blog post that you missed, or comment on something that you notice, or just enjoy looking back at ten favorites of mine. I hope they’re favorites of yours too:
1. The butter coffee tasting – Without a doubt, this was an amazing blog post. Starbucks partner “Mr. Opportunity,” (just look at the window cling on your door) lead us through a really well-thought-out coffee tasting with Anniversary Blend coffee. He lead a world class coffee tasting! This is also an example of the kind of events that happen at Olive Way Starbucks, making it a flagship destination store.
2. The 1994 Annual Shareholders Report – Perhaps I am the only one entertained by ancient Starbucks history pieces, but this is a good example of that. With this blog post, you can flip through the 1994 Annual Report, and really be stunned at how much Starbucks has grown and changed.
3. Howard Schultz Answers Customer Questions – I love this blog post. Absolutely love it. There aren’t very many opportunities to just listen to Howard Schultz fielding random questions from customers. This was actually an event planned during the Onward book tour, and it was definitely interesting to listen to.
4. Here are the Starbucks wine glasses you’ve always wanted – There are so few Starbucks stores offering beer and wine that most people don’t realize that there are Starbucks wine glasses out there!
5. An audio clip of Howard Schultz from March 8, 2011 – Starbucks kicks off celebrating their 40 year anniversary, and here’s a little audio of Howard Schultz from that event.
6. The Starbucks coffee pairings – I asked all of you readers to submit your favorite coffee pairing ideas, and this is what you came up with. It’s an amazing collection of foods and treats paired with Starbucks coffee!
7. Olive Way Starbucks – Okay, this blog post is actually just over one year old, but I still love it. It again features “Mr. Opportunity,” aka “Mikey” and tons and tons and tons of photos of the Olive Way Starbucks, which truly is a spectacular store. If you dig enough through the photos, you’ll even find Howard in the corner in one of them. It’s a beautiful store, and has incredibly coffee-knowledgeable partners. If you can get to this store, please go to it. I notice that most of their coffee tasting events tend to be Monday nights, but call ahead and see if something is coming up.
8. Promotional t-shirts tell a story – I love how every single store promotional t-shirt really is a bit of a history lesson. This blog post features a few more promo shirts – including the Onward shirt that partners wore at the Shareholders’ Meeting, and an old t-shirt that partners wore for new store openings, welcoming customers to the store.
9. Memoirs of a 19-year-old Starbucks – There are only a handful of Starbucks in the entire corporation which have any kind of signage that use the 1987-1992 version of the logo. This was the green Siren logo with a belly button, and before the company went public in 1992. Located in San Francisco, this very old Starbucks is charming, and it is worth visiting, just to check out its unique exterior logo.
10. Fountain Valley Starbucks gets a Clover – Orange County, California does not have many Starbucks with a Clover brewer, and this one in Fountain Valley (as far as I know) is the most recent. I really was impressed at how friendly, and how interested in coffee, the partners were. It’s an adorable little store, and a great place to get a great cup of coffee.
Hope you enjoy!
(Don’t forget, you can read about “tests” that Starbucks does here.)
I too wonder how you were able to pick your top ten. Gosh, I would probably need to add a few more to the top ten and extend it but your choices are great. Surely, whenever you write a blog post people respond so I would not worry about doing it on a regular basis. I have to find the time to go back and to respond to pieces I did not totally read or need to update comments. Thanks Melody again and again!
I agree with Denise that MSI is not longer the site it once was and I hardly visit it. I find your info and your community so much more valuable for info and comments.
Let me tell you, Melody, for keeping a fine blog such as yours as a hobby, you certainly do a heckuva job! As a blogger, I can understand the frustration that comes from wanting to post new ideas, but sometimes you just have to let creativity flow; cranking out posts gets tiring after a while.
That being said: I hope that you keep being bombarded with more coffee-related ideas because you do it with such finesse! 😀
@Denise and Purple1 – It’s a little after 9 in the morning on Sunday, and I”m going to try to right a quick but thorough answer. I discover that in order to maintain this blog it takes time on both Friday nights, and Saturdays, and some of Sundays to write and produce content. Yesterday, I got up late, ran to my office where I wanted to pick up some things to be photographed by Molly. I sat at my desk and typed this up. It took me (I timed it) about 40 minutes to write out the above, proof, and then add the links in.
I then visited with Molly a while at her small framing business. She did a groupon a while back, and right when it got to near the expiration date of the groupon, she got flooded with a ton of people walking in wanting custom framing. I am not totally convinced that groupons are very good for business. She’s just one person, and now totally working her tail off, long hours, to finish up a bazillion framing projects, slowing down her turn around time too. The fun part, I love hanging out at her frame shop because it is like a rotating art show. It’s incredible. But the stuff she does for me has to wait. She still has all those coffee stamps to frame too.
Then I walked down to First & Bell Starbucks and sent this tweet –
I bought a pound of Anniv Blnd for Molly – I figure she needs it to keep her going framing! LOL. I did get a free tall drink but sucked through an iced drink in ten seconds, and went up decided to buy a grande hot chai, and then shortly thereafter sent the tweet above.
By the way, I’m not really convinced that groupon is a good thing for small business who then suddenly are overwhelmed with work, lack the resources to hire extra staff at a moment’s notice, and earn very little profit on this groupon work. Molly takes a more positive view, and sees it as introducing a lot of customers to her business.
By the end of yesterday, finally home, I realized that I had almost nothing scheduled for the upcoming week, and in any case, I really did want to call out some past gems. I think it’s very easy to miss some great posts on this site. But I don’t want to post at the rate of like 6 posts a month, because I would really lose readers. Then finally, I was at home and rushed out again to go to a colleague’s birthday party, starting at 7:30. After the party, I crashed late, and slept well. I didn’t drink, but I was just tired.
I hardly ever talk about really what I am doing personally. This blog is a hobby. Actually, looking around me, I’m dumbfounded how many people have alcoohol as a hobby, and how much money they pour into drinking weekly, and I am beginning to think it might be more socially acceptable to drink alcohol, than to be into Starbucks. I don’t know.
Ugh. I have to go now, but the bottom line is that I simply didn’t get hardly any work done on this blog this weekend, so next week will suffer, and I really DO hope that people will go back and read past posts., And Denise, it was impossible to pick. I thought a lot about adding the Streets of Woodfield Starbucks blog post to this mix above. Of all the Starbucks touring I did, Chicago was phenomenal in that every store we went to was so on it. And the pizza …
@FrenchBean – I am so glad I found your blog. I like your sense of humor, and silly illustrations. Though I miss that you’re not in France anymore. That’s terrible of me to say, but I loved your incredible photos of your temporary stay in France. Just wanted to say thanks!
Melody what is especially nice about your blog is the wide range of SB related topics you cover and you try to cover different regions of the country. I find this quite interesting because it seems to me that SB puts a different spin on stores in different regions no matter what people say SB does not maintain the same corporate line so to speak. – at least from my seat it seems that way.
@Purple1 – I always worry somewhat about the differences in the Starbucks experience from region to region. Right after the announcement of the Blonde coffees, I was doing a few tweet searches to see what people were saying about it. I stumbled upon a tweet from a barista (I think in Oklahoma) – I doubt I could find it again, where she said that her store manager learned about Blonde from customers, and was completely unprepared for questions. Her tweet was angry, like why didn’t Starbucks keep us in the loop? It wasn’t someone I follow, and I am only paraphrasing. And I have to wonder, how does that happen. I could see, very visible written all over the faces of partners, and hints, that the news of blonde had spread in Seattle shortly before the official announcement.
Yesterday, I walked into the Starbucks on First & Battery, in the Belltown neighborhood, and I decided to buy Molly some coffee to keep her going framing! I remembered that she said she liked Italian Roast, and but I also thought she likes Anniv. Blend. I stared a while at their whole bean wall, with some indecision about what would be best. A partner, “Juan” came up to me and asked me if I needed help, and I really don’t need help choosing coffee, so I simply declined. Then I went up to the register with the pound of Anniv Blend (I decided to get that since it is promotional) and ordered an iced caramel macchiatto and got the pound of coffee. “Juan” asked me if I needed the coffee ground. I said “no” to that too. He gave me a total, and I said, “Oh it will be less because the drink will be free.” And he just nodded, and said yes, with that expression on his face, “oh yes, of course, you’re right” which lead me to believe he clearly understood card perks. He asked my name for the cup. There was not a hint of recognition when I said, “Melody.” Then in the end, he asked me if I needed a handle-bag for the coffee, and I declined. As I thought about it, I thought that was pretty much perfect. He thought about everything that I might need. I drink my iced drink in ten seconds, went up to the register and got a grande hot chai, and “Juan” remembered my name from moments earlier. It was all exactly as it should be, in my humble opinion. From the start there was an offer to help find coffee, and no detail was missed. I worry that it is not like that everywhere, but I am reassured by tweets I see from passionate partners all over the country, and even my own experiences in other cities. Eeek, Gotta run, and I’m mucking up the comments in this thread with my random chatter!
re: the Blonde coffee leak (or not leak): I would say I heard about it in several different areas around here, in Sbux, while it was all on the hush. So, I’d say, overall, Sbux was not doing a very good job at keeping this one a “secret”. and honestly, I realy didn’t see the need to even TRY and keep it like a big surprise. but, that’s probably because I’m not so happy about it:(
have to tell you: having Lou’s (Malnatti) pizza tonite…..will have half spinach in your honor:)
Melody thank you for your extensive response. I can assure you that your experience is not duplicated all over only do I wish. I probably should comment about this on another post, but to me the issue still comes down to training and customer service. No matter what SB offers- new coffees, etc. it should be Customer Service upfront and center! Again, Melody thanks for your response.
very nice choices! my top ten would almost like yours:) i always like to read your posts, with my breakfast coffee, they are entertaining, i like your style. i think your doing a great job with your blog, keep that up! best wishes
I always look forward to the email in my inbox alerting me to your posts!! I impressed everyone at my local Starbucks as I was fully aware of the clover and all of its wonderfulness because of your blog. Also,I must say I show the world my limited edition Seattle Starbucks Card. I love that, so to pick a favorite of your blogs is tough. Some, are not mentioned here, but from this list I would say, the butter tasting was great to read. And you describe it so well, I was having olfactory hallucinations while reading LOL! Thanks Melody! I am such a fan!!!!!
@LoriSica If there were a Starbucks trivial pursuit, we’d all have so much fun, and we could use the blog for material … that would be cheating! We can thank “Mr. Opportunity” (“Mikey”) for the butter tasting. Amazing! Thanks for stopping by and telling which one was your favorite.
@Ellen – Welcome to the blog! Don’t think I’ve met you before! Hope you’ll “Like” the blog’s facebook page too – Just look in the righthand side column.
I found the article about the butter tasting VERY interesting. Its cool learning how people in other cultures drink there coffee and eat there food. Also the clover coffee sounds really neat, to bad none of the stores are near me! But one of my favorite articles you’ve done it when you went to the Starbucks headquarters merchandise store. I don’t know why but I think its fun going to the headquarters of companies you like and just checking it out (even if there not much to do). Any way thats for the post!
@Blackeco123 – I am with you that I find company headquarters interesting! I guess it’s because I’ve never worked in any kind of environment like the SSC. And I think most HQ have some kind of goodies that can only be had there. I have seriously thought that someday I want to get to Vermont for a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters, and check out their gift shop. Now that would be fun!
I love any insight into the SSC too. I was talking to someone at the help desk a few weeks ago who was telling me all about the building and an area on the third floor where the old brick is exposed from the original building? She was totally passionate about the building and told me the next time I came to Seattle to make sure my DM arranged a tour for me. Ok! 🙂
Melody, I agree with you about the fascination of head offices. It was pretty cool going to Redmond to see the Microsoft campus too. And anytime I got to go to the head office of the company I worked for last, I loved it. (It was in a converted warehouse…old wood floors, exposed brick walls, high ceilings with the pipes exposed…such a cool building)
I moved to a new store last week. I haven’t seen a single coffee tasting since I’ve been there. This morning we had some down time (we get mostly foot traffic and it was POURING rain this morning) so I suggested to the partner I was working with that we do a coffee tasting. I discovered that every single coffee press in the store is broken. There is no glass in any of them. I thought ‘ok, no big deal, we’ll mark one out and use it’. We don’t even have any on the shelf to sell! I wish the presses we could order for store use were the stainless steel ones and not the ones with glass in them. The stainless ones don’t break when you drop them the way glass ones do! 😉
We had a district meeting on the same day the Blonde announcement hit the press. So, while I knew about it before the press release (by a couple of hours), my partners are only finding out about it officially this week during our holiday meetings. So far it’s too mild for every single partner I’ve talked to. However, that doesn’t surprise me one bit, as we are not the target audience.
@Michelle – Wow. That’s nearly a crime. I own a gazillion presses, but since I live within walking distance of close to a dozen Clover stores, I swear I don’t make a press often anymore. Can I send you some? You’ve got a ton of work to do at your new store! Would you email me? I can at least send you the latest Reserve coffees, though you now have access to Reserves in Canada, so probably you’ve tried plenty of them. As to finding out about Blonde, I figured that most people heard about it eons ago – I thought that a week early there was something on the portal, at least I got that sense from some partners. Although I will say that I was surprised this weekend, when stopping by the 1st and Walker Starbucks (which is a matter of blocks from the SSC) and one partner who knows me mentioned that she had “just” learned about Blonde by reading my blog. I’ve never been to the 3rd floor of the SSC. Actually, I quickly lost when trailing around a host. I would nearly cry if I didn’t have a host every single time I’ve been inside the SSC. All I know is that the coffee department seems to be right on the main 8th floor, along with the SODO 8 Starbucks.
For me I loved the butter coffee tasting, that blend was really thought out. That was really a good one.
Welcome Greg, and thanks! There was a reason why I put the butter coffee event as #1! 😉 Sorry I don’t have time to say much more – I’ve got to run out the door to work. Hope you’ll “like” the blog’s facebook page, if you haven’t already. ??
Melody – you will be happy to know that our functional presses had been borrowed for our district holiday meetings, and that they are now back in the store safe and sound. (I am also happy to know it)
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Melody: I think you do a great (I cannnot imagine how) job at putting up posts on this blog….so many and so quickly. I really think you COULD slow down a bit, unless there was some big news-breaking-story! I think most of us would come back to your blog and check it, at least, even if you posted ONE topic /week.
I couldn’t pick a favorite! (except of course those Chicago-area stores;) And, I think it’s especially worthwhile to keep (all of us) communicating (accurately) on what’s happening in the Sbux around us….what we experience, what we see. We all know msi is no longer a place like that….so, sometimes even when “off-topic”, I think your blog serves a huge purpose!
rushing…sorry. more later.