Seattle wakes up to La Boulange bakery treats at participating Starbucks stores.

IMAG5326 La Boulange Pastry Case - East Olive Way Starbucks - 4 Jun 2013Today (June 4, 2013), Starbucks introduces La Boulange bakery items to participating Starbucks locations in Seattle (and greater Seattle locations).

I assume I have a few readers who discovered the new bakery items in the pastry case today.  What did you think?  La Boulange items already were in roughly 400 Starbucks stores in the Bay area/ greater San Francisco area of California.

I recommend going back and reading my previous La Boulange article – it has a lot of information in it:

La Boulange – Media preview event at the Starbucks headquarters.

I dropped by the East Olive Way Starbucks this morning, shortly before 8:00 a.m.  The store looked great.  Chris, a Starbucks partner, wore a pink apron and sampled all kinds of La Boulange items.  I tried the new Pumpkin Cheese Cream Loaf Cake, which apparently was a last minute addition to the lineup – I don’t recall having tried it at the media event I attended.  Today, I tried the small carrot cake (not sure of its exact name) with vanilla frosting, which was delicious.  I thought that even the store’s door cling looked great!

I am hoping that a few readers have tried the new La Boulange items!  What do you think?  Obviously, you can weigh in whether or not you’ve had the chance to taste the new bakery items!

IMAG5336 La Boulange goodies 4 June 2013 Olive Way StarbucksIMAG5340 Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake - Classic Coffee Cake - 04June2013 Olive Way StarbucksIMAG5356 Partner Chris sampling at the Olive Way Starbucks 4 June 2013IMAG5338 Blueberry Scone - Berry Coffee Cake- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf 4Jun2013 Olive Way StarbucksIMAG5334 La Boulange pastry case 4 Jun 2013 Olive Way StarbucksIMAG5347 La Boulange door cling East Olive Way Starbucks 4 June 2013

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  • Cathy

    pumpkin cream cheese loaf??? we dont have those yet!!!

  • Melody

    @Cathy – It’s delicious! Apparently, it was a last minute add in to the lineup.

  • Kenneth

    I went to the NE 8th Bellevue store after 4pm, the croissant was already sold out. After a couple minutes investigating the case, I decided to have an almond cookie and chocolate chips cookie. They were quite good and much better than the previous big chocolate chips cookie. Besides the cookies, I ordered the iced decaf Sumatra on Clover.

  • Chase Jaynes

    I think – like all change – it will be difficult at first. People will be unhappy, they will complain about the size and the change in their favorites – but over all, and over time, I think this is a very good move for Starbucks. It shows just how serious Howard was with the fact that he no longer wants to make other companies pouplar when we can make and sell the items ourselves.

    As a partner and a shareholder, I like this direction.

  • Chase Jaynes

    I had a chance to try a sneak peak of the cookies and crossiant wrapped hotdogs in LA. I thought they were great!

  • purple1

    I really wish there was a way to introduce these new pastries nationwide at the same time. They all sound yummy. I think they will be a success as some people have tired of the pastries in the case.

  • Melody

    @Purple1 – The slow roll-out of some new Starbucks products relates to figuring out how to do it and keep the quality up. My understanding is that more than 70 bakeries in the US are locally contracted to create La Boulange recipe items. It’s like the slow roll-out of Evolution Fresh, which is slowed down because for a long time there was only one production plant, and it was in California. I get that it’s probably an unpleasant tease to see this for many, but it will get to your area eventually. I’m sorry you don’t have La Boulange yet. :(

  • Diele

    Thanks for sharing! I can not wait until next month!!

  • Melody

    @Diele – I am excited for you! I had thought that Portland, Oregon gets La Boulange today too, but they’re not until 6-18. Even that seems like an eternity away! LOL Sometimes it feels like you’re waiting soooo long for new things to come out. 6-25 sounds like so far away too … I can’t wait to try the new summer drinks.

  • purple1

    Melody I realize the magnitude of this roll out but part of me wonders why they do not get the distribution situation worked out before they start the roll out. As I mentioned, when I was in Cambridge I saw the Evolution Fresh juices in the stores there and not here by me. Today, I asked the SM about it and he just laughed and said they were expecting the juices any day.

  • Diele

    I love the Valencia refresher with passion tea instead of water. Not a fan of the iced coffee or the peach syrup. I am more looking forward to La Boulange launching. What I have seen looks amazing!!!

  • Melody

    @Kenneth – Wait – Sorry I am still reading through all the comments. You ordered iced decaf Sumatra? How was that iced? I would think that would be really heavy as an iced coffee! I still have to try the cookies!

  • seattlejo

    I made a point to stop by my little shop in Everett last night and again this morning to give a few items a try. *Everything* was consistently dry. I had a molten lava cake which was oily and seemed like undercooked cupcake batter, but like a molten cake. The marble loaf was so dry that i only had a small bite and tossed it.

    This morning the cheese danish was Ok, probably the best of the lot. The chocolate croissant is still dry, the chocolate doesn’t offset the pastry and there isn’t much of a buttery feel as i expect with a good croissant.

  • SnowWhite

    I thought I read somewhere a statement from Starbucks (on MSI maybe?) addressing why all the La Boulange pastries were automatically heated. Does anyone remember that? I thought they said you could actually request the barista not heat your pastry, but I’d like to see it in writing somewhere. Thanks!

  • Kurt

    In a local article for the SF Bay Area launch I read that one of the limiting factors for their launch was “finding enough stainless steel for the 420 freezers that had to be installed in the stores.” 11,000 new freezers for a nationwide launch. Should be fun! Meanwhile most of us wait.

  • DadCooks

    @Melody – thanks for the tease, we have to wait until 6/25/13 for our La Boulange. The advantage to those of us in “remote” areas is that the stores already have freezers so the only new equipment is some special racks. The new store that is going in here is also getting the latest and greatest pastry cases.

    As an aside, it used to be when you clicked on one of the photos in your posts, you were able to “slideshow” (go forward and back via arrows) the photos. Any way you can bring that back?

  • crema_the_crop

    To the commenter who mentioned her items were dry–I’m curious as to if they were served warmed to you or not.

  • denise r

    @DadC….as I’m sure Melody will elaborate on, I commented the same thing to her about the photos, and not being able to ‘scroll’ or slideshow thru. She responded that (she’ll put this out more exactly) this ability was lost when she had the whole disqus thing happened…. I find that little aspect kind of ….difficult? to look at the pics too. But, that’s the story, as I remember it! 😉

  • Melody

    @DeniseR and @DadCooks – Thank you for reminding me. Just forgot all about that. When DISQUS was disabled, pretty much EVERY plugin on this site was disabled. I just clicked the box to reactivate “Fancy Box” plugin – I think that’s the one that made the photos scroll. Let me know if that makes it work better for you.

  • DadCooks

    @Melody – you not only have a great blog (blogs actually) but your customer service is top notch :-)

    Thanks for bringing back the “slideshow” feature, it is working great.

  • Melody

    Great! You are welcome!

    Edit – I originally wrote this article thinking Portland, OR launches on 6-4 too, but they’re 6-18. I had heard that Spokane launched on 6-4 but I wonder if it is later in the month? I don’t know if I have Spokane readers.

    Portland, OR – June 18th
    Los Angeles – July
    Chicago – August
    New York & Boston – September

    If anyone wants to add their city to the list – Email me.

  • seattlejo

    Yup they were warmed up. I’m not sure a frozen danish would be better?

  • Kristina

    I counted eight pastries that I look forward to sampling when La Boulange is rolled out nationwide. Yum! Oh yeah, thanks for bringing back the photo slideshow scrolling feature. :)

  • denise r

    @Melody: yay! Thanx for fixing the photo-viewing! much better!

  • Diele

    Pheonix is July.

    I mainly look forward to the amazing lunch items!!! Soup would be amazing to pair with a salad or sandwich!

  • Nancy

    Dear Melody,

    I want to thank you for your blog. I am a 6 year partner with Starbucks and your dedication for Starbucks is incredible. It’s people like you, who helps us make us want to do our job even better. Thanks for your passion.


  • elly

    the lqa store has them, and of course i went and tried one or two. i’d asked for the pumpkin, but got the banana bread (not an issue at all, i like banana bread!). it was pretty good!

    and of course, we tried all the things at the olive way seminar as well. i’m not a chocolate cake fan, so the lava cake was a bit overwhelming for me, but my partner in crime loved it, and was happy when i brought more to him later on in the evening.

    i loved the spinach croissant, but we were both not impressed with the ham and cheese one (mostly because the cheese is extremely rich and thick, and drowned out every other flavour).

    i’m a little annoyed that the pricing pretty much all went up, and everything seems to have gotten smaller. the quality is much better, so far (i need to try the cookies to make a final call on that), so perhaps that makes up for everything else?

    and yes, i still really want to try that pumpkin loaf!

  • Melody

    @Nancy – I just want to say thank you for the kind words!
    @Elly – A lot of the La Boulange items seem pretty rich – smaller portions is about all I can handle!

  • LB

    When you say New York, do you know what parts of NY that entails?

  • Cara

    Terrible…… I actually just sold 10K of Starbucks stock. I was in South Lake union and noticed several unhappy customers. Steaming a pastry does not make it fresh. I have not been in a Starbucks since the 4th, It is good to explore all the other good coffee shops in Seattle.

  • Purple1

    Melody just curious are you keeping a tally on how many like the new pastries vs. do not like? I find it interesting that many are saying they are awful and SB made a mistake while others love them.
    Also, are there going to be regional choices?

  • Drew

    I like the new pastries, but do not understand why they are automatically heated. I prefer to not eat croissants when they get all crispy. Plus, it is convenient for me to grab a drip coffee and unheated pastry if I am in a rush. It’s the reason why I don’t order breakfast sandwiches. It takes forever to get something heated if there is a long line. Today, they made a big deal when I asked for a chocolate croissant unheated. I’m paying for it, I should get to decide.

  • Melody

    @Purple1 – Well, I always think of food taste as so extremely subjective that most people aren’t that interested in my likes and dislikes. So far, I have noticed that I really like the new oatmeal cookie (a lot more oatmeal than before), I really like the new cinnamon loaf coffee cake type thing, and I like the savory croissants.

    As for dislikes, I find the molten lava chocolate cake to be too rich and too buttery. The blueberry muffin just seems very bland to me.

    Funny, but I don’t recall having tried the cream cheese croissant yet?

    I like the lemon – raspberry loaf with lemon frosting quite a bit, though the cinnamon coffee cake beats it.

    I was just looking at the Starbucks website and it says there is a banana chocolate swirl (looks like the shape of a morning bun) but I don’t recall seeing that anywhere? Maybe I’ve missed it? I would love to try it:

    I like the majority of the new items though I find the blueberry yogurt muffing to be quite a disappointment. Having said that, probably someone reading this finds that to be their favorite. Food is so ultra subjective.

  • Chris H

    The new La Boulange bakery switch is …Well frankly overpriced and the sizes compared to the previous bakery are 30% smaller …

    I have been going to Starbucks since 1995

  • kevin

    I don’t know if I really like the new pastries at Starbucks because they are a lot smaller, they are more expensive than they were and they got rid of a lot of stuff that I liked.

  • KMurphy

    I used to frequent La Boulange in SF before SB bought it and can attest that their pastries were “normal” size at that time (six years ago). I occasionally get a SB pastry and coffee before work, but due to the “half size for full price” (the pastries cost the same as before the switch), I am no longer planning on doing this. I have tried a “Boulange” blueberry muffin (strange texture but I did not heat) and a croissant (delicious but extremely small and expensive). I cannot pay this much for breakfast so I will stick with coffee only!

  • Andrea B

    I am furious about the baked goods change! All of my favorite treats are gone. I don’t even drink coffee; I specifically go to Starbucks for their orange cranberry scone and pumpkin bread. I do NOT want French-style pastries with my chai tea latte and if I did, I already knew where to find them. I am not pleased with the new baked goods selection, plus the sizes/prices are disappointing. Starbucks in Target and Safeway stores still have the old baked goods for a few more months so I will be sticking with those stores. Also, as a Seattle native, I’m quite irritated that Starbucks thought pairing up with a San Francisco company would be better than working with a Seattle-based company. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and stick with your roots!

  • Carol

    I am in Chicago and I was told La Boulange is coming here in September.

  • Rex

    I do not like it. Don’t get me wrong, they taste great. However, ONE kind of scone? Half as many pastries? Half the size of the old ones but same price? These pastries don’t belong in a coffee house. They belong at high-tea at The Empress Hotel. Stop trying to change the food so you can charge more, Starbucks. Like I said, they taste great but I want something hearty to go with my coffee, like a nice big cranberry-orange scone not a tiny crumpet. And I’m not the only one complaining about this latest Starbucks blunder. Seems everyone is wishing for their good ole morning joe and pastry to return to their local Starbucks.

  • Alicia

    We were all pretty excited at the new pasteries, but after living with the them for several weeks, my family and I have decided that overall we don’t care for them. I’ve tried a variety and they lack something – at times they don’t even look as appetizing: tired and squished. They arrive individually prepackaged in little plastic wrappers for freshness. For a company that is “concerned” with being green – that’s a lot of plastic! I’m not saying “Don’t change!” or “Bring back all our old favorites,” but in some way I hope Starbucks demonstrates that they are sensetive to customer input.

  • ed sullivan

    I predict failure on the La Boulange bit. The little signs, for those of you not well versed in marketing, are a thinly velied attempt to disguise the smaller size of the drab, mass batter squirted into muffin pans by machines a la twinkies muffin slop with which we are now presented each morning. The signs are impossible to read without glasses ( age discrminatory plus many need glasses to see). Two cranberry orange scones that I used to buy every day at $4.50 x 365 = $1642.5 x 10 years = $16,425 that I won’t be spending. I’m sure the losses are mounting as we speak. I don’t mind change but really. The local french bakery where I live makes authentic french pastries for the same money with real fruit and butter etc every day of the week that make what Starbucks is foisting on the public look like Hostess products. Perhaps I am in the minority on this, but I used to see empty cases at the end of the day and Now I see a lot of stuff still sitting there at 4 pm when I get a pick me up cup. No amount of promotional pap can diguise that. The French dude from La booulange seems to have forgotton that people like their food to LOOK GOOD as well as TASTE GOOD. Perhaps he disreagrded that fact becasue we are not French?

  • HG

    I couldn’t agree more Ed Sullivan. I went to my local Starbucks this morning craving my favorite cranberry orange scone only to find out it is gone. No pumpkin scone either. My top favorites are gone. Okay, I’ll try a blueberry scone and a petite vanilla scone. Blueberry scone was dry and not very “sconey”. As I ate I kept looking for the blueberries. The petite vanilla was more buttery/greasy than “sconey”. Again, where was the vanilla bean? Martha Stewart blueberry scones that I make at home are much much better. So, sorry Starbucks, no more snacks for me.

  • Scott

    Based on my the pastry I had today in Phoenix, this food will be an epic failure for Starbucks.

    The pastry display looks like everything was hit with a shrink ray. And the pink and green colors… horrible to look at!

    Portion is way to small and the price is higher! Not to mention the taste similar to the food that sits around in your local grocery store bakery in plastic box… YUCK!!!

  • Larry

    I would have to agree these products are subpar. All the bakery items I’ve tried, dont cut it. Seeing the plastic bags being opened then the item being “required” to be heated, then the size and the price. Well count my daily purchases out. Bakery items at safeway bakery department beat these. Good luck.

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    • Vera

      I miss the old pumpkin bread! The new pumpkin loaf tastes like bland zucchini bread with vanilla frosting-horrible. The older pumpkin bread was so rich and had a strong pumpkin flavor and pumpkin seeds, I got a slice almost every visit. Also the croissants are not great, especially not for $3. I won’t be buying any more pastries at Starbucks. The quality of the new pastries definitely does not justify the price hike.

    • Heather Johnson

      I’m not a fan. I’ve had the new scone and the coffee cake. The scone was so dry it kept sticking to the roof of my mouth. The coffee cake was not worth buying again. I LOVED their scones before. I won’t eat at starbucks anymore. My coffee drink there is now $5.45. I drink with soy and one shot. They charge me more! Lol. I’m over it. This is a sign. Moving on.

    • Inga

      I agree with Ed Sullivan. I no longer go to Starbucks for breakfast … They lost the coffee sale too. The cranberry orange scone was a favorite, and the blueberry scone, a different recipe, an epic fail. The new items are far too greasy, and they even double bag them so you won’t notice how bad they are. Even the breads are greasy. Too bad Starbucks had to tinker with success.

    • Erika

      I have now tried the La Boulange products on several occasions. They are inedible and absolutely gross. I’m so disappointed and quite honestly, frustrated with Starbucks for the mass menu change without caring about what their customer wanted. Little tweaks here and there, sure. Some new products unveiled from time to time — yep, that’s great. Maybe cut down the sugary glaze a bit on the doughnuts — we can handle that. Completely wiping clean the entire food case and replacing it with sub par, smaller, more expensive items that all must be heated first in order to attempt to taste okay? Are you crazy? No more Starbucks for me or my family. I’m researching other coffee places that respect their customer more.

    • Debbie

      The new pastries are horrible ! No more food for me from Sbux.

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