10 Things you need to know about Starbucks.

Some Starbucks fans might want to know more about the company, policies, coffee, and beverages.  These 10 factoids cover a lot of ground about Starbucks, but after you’re done reading this, hopefully you’ll enjoy your Starbucks experience more!

10. It’s an ethical company. Employees get a bean stock benefit (they share in company profits in the form of receiving stock options), free weekly “mark out” of a pound of coffee, or other items such as tea, and Starbucks works with farmers to ensure they follow ethical sourcing practices, like CAFE practices. Many years ago, when this unofficial Starbucks news site was just a couple months old, I wrote this article about CAFE practices. It’s still almost entirely current. (The Mexico coffee mentioned in the story is no longer available inside Starbucks stores.) Starbucks still, to this day, has partnered with Conservation International to ensure that they coffee they source follows high standards of responsible sourcing, meaning being good to the environment, being transparent with farm workers, and much more. Be assured it’s an ethical company!

9. Do you want to call Starbucks Customer Service? Call 1-800-782-7282.  Do you have a great idea for Starbucks? Feel free to share it at MyStarbucksIdea.com.

8. Got a coffee question? Look for the baristas in the special black aprons. The baristas wearing black aprons are “coffee masters.” These baristas are best able to answer any of your questions about coffee. They can help you pick out a coffee for home, talk about home brewing methods, and help you choose a favorite coffee to be brewed on the Clover brewer. If you collect the Reserve tasting cards and want to see if you’re missing some of the cards, or you want to explore Reserve coffee a little more, I suggest DiscoverStarbucksReserve.com.

7. Starbucks really does operate a number of non-Starbucks businesses: There are Evolution Fresh stores in Seattle, Teavana stores across the country, the Roastery, in Seattle, and Roy Street Coffee and Tea. You can pay with your Starbucks card at all of these businesses and earn stars.

6. The first Starbucks is (sort of) 1912 Pike Place: Starbucks was started by 3 men who wanted to bring great roasted coffee to Seattle. Eventually, the two remaining business partners (one dropped out very early) sold the company to Howard Schultz. And Howard turned it into the company we know today. Wow your friends with Starbucks first-store-early-years knowledge!

5. Feel free to customize your drink! Add an extra shot of espresso! Ask for fewer or more pumps of the flavoring syrup, like Vanilla or Toffee Nut. You can ask for coconut milk. Some customizations might cost you a little extra. Need a drink idea? Take a look at 10 long lost drinks you can still order. Looking for a cold, low calorie beverage? Check out these cold drinks weighing in at fewer than 100 calories.

4. For the best possible experience, learn to say the whole word, “Frappuccino.” What I write in this paragraph will piss some readers off. I can’t please everyone. For customers: Learn to say the word “Frappuccino”. You might not know it, but it’s possible you’ll have a better experience. I have seen countless comments on social media of Starbucks baristas who experienced rage over the word “Frappe.” A “Frappe” is the more general word. It is NOT trademarked. It’s totally normal to slip and say the wrong thing now then. Lots of people will say things like, “I need a Band Aid” when they mean “I need an adhesive bandage.” Another example is, “I love making soups in a Crock Pot” when they have a different brand of slow cooker. Some times people ask for a Kleenex when they want any tissue. You’re the customer and it’s true, you might not know the word. But I have read tons and tons of social media comments where partners will have conversations like this: Customer: “I’d like a caramel Frappe.” Barista:  “Great. McDonald’s is down the road.” It’s a rough reply. Customers, just learn to say, “I’d like a caramel Frappuccino.”. For partners: If hearing the word “Frappe” is enough to irritate you, then you’re quickly heading down the roadway of control issues, gray hair, and high blood pressure. Make it easy for customers to be customers. You’re not a Barista-Sheriff. It’s no good for the experience. Save your angst and worry for those moments in life when it’s most deserved: poor health of a loved one, the loss of a job, or any other such truly stressful situation. My apologies to all the partners I just pissed off.

3. If you want to earn free drinks and get promotional offers, join the Starbucks Rewards program! Of course, joining the rewards program is totally optional. A new version of Starbucks Rewards is coming soon! Mark the date. April 12th, a whole new Starbucks Rewards program goes into effect. You’ll earn 2 stars for each dollar you spend at Starbucks, or any Starbucks-operated business such as Teavana, Evolution Fresh, the Starbucks Roastery, or Roy Street Coffee and Tea. Learn more about the new Starbucks Rewards program here. The more you spend, the more stars you’ll earn. Even better, there will still be promotional opportunities to earn bonus stars.

2. Know the Starbucks refill policy: Still to this day, the number one search engine words leading people to this website are “The Starbucks Refill Policy.” It confuses people on both sides of the counter. This article here on the Refill Policy is still correct. When thinking about the refill policy, think about all the Starbucks beverages you could possibly order. Then, mentally divide all those lovely handcrafted drinks into 2 categories: Premium, and non-premium. This is not how Starbucks explains it, but this works and is correct. Now, in the “non premium” category think of just 4 beverages: 1) Brewed coffee of the day 2) Iced Coffee 3) Iced Tea (but not tea lemonades), and 4) hot tea. Into the “premium” category, place everything else. Literally, everything handcrafted by your barista else goes into the “premium” category of drinks. If you are asking for a refill then you must have previously ordered a first drink – either premium or non-premium. However your “refill” can only be one of the four things mentioned above. If you’re wanting to get a refill price on anything other than 1) brewed coffee of the day, 2) iced coffee, 3) iced tea or 4) hot tea, then it’s  not a refill, and you’re ordering a new drink. There are no refill perks once you walk out the front doors of the store. All refill benefits are part of a “same store visit” and so once you exit the store, your refill perks come to an end. You must have consumed the first drink while inside the store. There is never a refill benefit when you’re in the drive through. One restriction is “same size.” If you ordered a tall Latte as the first drink, your second drink cannot be a Venti Iced Passion Tea.

1.  Have fun and don’t worry about the first 9 tips!!!! Remember, no experience necessary to be a customer!

Bonus tips:

Smile. Remember both you and your barista are very human. Forgive quickly. Leave a tip in the tip jar. :)

 

 

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3 Comments

  • Mark

    You might check your live feed. It never seems to load for me

  • Melody

    @Mark – Thank you for pointing that out. This site has been through a re-design recently and a very recent hosting service change. Also some of the plug in have been changed. But I’ll double check with my developer.

  • David Stauffer

    Re: number 4. One trick that we teachers often use is to accept what is stated and reply with the correct word. Example: of customer asks for a “Tall frappe,” respond with, “sure. One Tall Frappucinno….” In second language acquisition approaches this technique is known as language negotiation. Very effective.

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