An Exclusive Reserve: Starbucks Costa Rica La Ines Geisha Coffee available 9/8/2014. (Roasted at the Starbucks Pilot Plant) 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!,default,pd.html?&srule=Featured&start=0&sz=16&cgid=starbucks-reserve-coffee

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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 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.


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Spotlight on Nampa, Idaho Starbucks stores.

I went to Nampa, Idaho! It was actually a fairly spontaneous drive from Seattle to Idaho. I explored three different Starbucks stores and want to share my experiences with you:


12th and Hawaii Starbucks - Photogrid with colored in Sirens 31 August 2014I can’t really pick a favorite of the three stores, but I want to start out by mentioning the 12th Avenue Road and Hawaii Avenue Starbucks. This is a newer Starbucks – it just opened February 28, 2014. It’s a cute little store with a drive-thru too. One thing that made this visit amazing was meeting Shift Supervisor Jessica Graika. She’s the community service lead for her store and she has a passion for making community service events happen. I noticed a wall with some crayoned-in Sirens, like children’s art work, and I asked about it. This prompted a large discussion of being involved in the local community. The colored in Sirens were part of a much larger event on August 10th, held at the 12th Avenue Road store, to raise supplies and money for the Valley Women’s and Childrens Shelter (which is a division of Boise Rescue Mission, from what I can see).

Jessica arranged for a “family night” hosted by her store: lots of children were present and there was a lot of fun that evening. Some partners volunteered their time to do face-painting for the kids. The store arranged for sampling of pastries, had the Sirens available for children to color, and arranged for the local fire department to be present with a fire truck! Jessica said the kids loved the fire truck!

This sounds like it was a great event. How awesome that the store did this! This is the kind of thing that makes my heart smile. Part of my connection with Starbucks is how it encourages partners to really get involved with their communities.  The official Starbucks Community Service website is here.

Another tidbit about Jessica is that sings opera! She studied opera here in Seattle, long before moving to Idaho!

IMAG2033 Sirens at the 12th and Hawaii Starbucks - 1


Nampa Idaho Reserve store I-84 and Garrity BlvdI stumbled upon the Starbucks off of I-84 on North Happy Valley Road, and had a great time visiting this store! It’s a Clover – Reserve Starbucks and opened just this year on January 27, 2014. I had the chance to meet the store’s manager, Kimberly, who is just beaming with pride about her gorgeous new store. I stopped by the morning of August 31st, and I ordered an oatmeal and a short Brazil Fazenda. So I ate my breakfast, took some photos of the store, and noticed some nice chalk signage for baskets of coffee too.

I rarely do this, but I want to call out an element of store design. I had a distinct moment of thinking, “Well, that’s a silly design.” I ordered a short Brazil and noticed that the barista made the coffee in a tall cup. In don’t really care that much about the size of the cup, but I was sitting near the Clover and mentioned in passing, “Are you out of short cups?” The barista replied with something like, “I thought we had some. Where did they all go? Let me double check.” And at that moment she grabbed at a cabinet to open it up, looking inside for mugs. The top of the cabinet collided with a light fixture: (I don’t know if you can see what I mean in this photo but the door of the cabinet cannot be fully opened because of the light fixture blocking it.)

IMAG2010 Cabinet with door that collides with light fixture 31 August 2014 - Nampa IdahoI spontaneously said something like, “Well that’s a silly design,” and the barista just laughed. Agreeing with me, she replied with something like, “Oh I’ve hit that thing a couple of times!” This store has a cabinet that they can’t totally open.

Of course despite this small laugh of the cabinet design, everything in this store was wonderful. If you are ever in Nampa, Idaho and craving a Clover-brewed cup of coffee, you absolutely should come visit. It has a large community table with power underneath it, lots of seating, and a friendly crew of partners.

IMAG1998 outside of Happy Valley Road Nampa Idaho Clover StarbucksIMAG2009 Pike Place chalk sign at Nampa Idaho Starbucks 31 aug 14IMAG2020 Clover area Nampa StarbucksIMAG2021 Clover Starbucks Nampa Idaho 31 august 2014


Karcher Mall Starbucks late evening 30 August 2014The first of the three Nampa, Idaho Starbucks I went to was at 1451 Caldwell Blvd., extremely close to the Karcher Mall, in Nampa. (This store is pretty much in the parking lot of the Karcher Mall). I arrived early evening on August 30th, after a lot of miles of driving. As I drove over I-84, I encountered pouring rain, lightning, thunder, and  I saw more tumbleweeds than ever before in my entire life. The wind was fierce at times. There were moments when it was like the sky just opened up and I watched as a minivan ahead of me hydroplaned on the highway. I drove a little bit white-knuckled to this store.

By the time I walked into the Karcher Mall Starbucks, I had gone from hungry almost into the realm of “hangry.” The young partner was so absolutely polite to me despite that I have no idea what I said to him or if I spoke in coherent sentences. I’d driven from Seattle that morning, and made it to Nampa, Idaho about eight hours later. I asked for a Komodo Dragon, and ended up ordering a panini because I was so hungry. The young barista (I believe he said his name was Clayton) made me a pour over to the Komodo Dragon, and brought it out to my table where I was furiously searching online for a hotel in the immediate area. This store gets a huge two thumbs up for being calm and polite in the face of tired and hungry customers.

On the return drive to Seattle, it was perfectly beautiful summer weather. I managed to take a couple of photos as I drove, and much later put them together into a photogrid. Despite the weather over the mountains into Nampa, I really kind of like very long drives. If I have another lifetime, I might want to be a long-distance truck driver! ;) Here’s the pics from the trip home:

i-84 in east oregon

Hope you enjoyed this look at Nampa, Idaho Starbucks! These three stores solidly gets two thumbs up.

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You Can Happily Enjoy Your Pumpkin Spice Latte! (A Response to #PSL2014

The internet is blowing up with a controversy over what’s inside of your favorite seasonal beverage at Starbucks: The Pumpkin Spice Latte. By reading some of the articles out there, you might be lead to believe that Starbucks invented the Pumpkin Spice Latte on another planet:

We Hear You Have Pumpkin Spice(I just randomly found that picture on the internet – I don’t hold the copyright! Sorry to whomever that pic belongs to!)

The truth is that you can enjoy your Pumpkin Spice Latte:

I contacted an official Starbucks spokesperson to learn more about the controversy over the Pumpkin Spice Latte:

Linda Mills (an official Starbucks spokesperson) gave me the following statement:

“The standard recipe for Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte at company-operated and licensed stores does not contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and is sweetened with sugar. We are actively looking at phasing out caramel coloring. In any instances where it is used in our beverages, the level is well below the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) and safe to consume. Our milk is still hormone free, as we committed to in 2008. Regarding coffee, let me be clear: our coffee is safe. We purchase the highest quality arabica coffee in the world from farmers we know and trust. In the event pesticides were used on the outside of the coffee cherry, there would be virtually no trace of in a customer’s cup because of the roasting process. For customers who wish to purchase organic coffee from us, we have options available for them – nationally – such as Organic Yukon Blend.

As a company, we take pride in providing full ingredient transparency to our customers so they can make whatever choice is right for them on their beverage selection. The high level of personalization of Starbucks beverages available allows customers to enjoy a unique Starbucks Experience and tailor their drink to match their own personal taste preferences – including the selection from a variety of fresh dairy selections and soy milk, a combination of syrups, and coffee/espresso options and toppings. If customers have questions about any of the items offered in our stores, they can ask their barista for a list of ingredients or call us directly. We’re also working on listing core beverage recipes online via and hope to have an update in the near future.”


The milk at Starbucks does not come from cows given growth hormones. In January 2008, Starbucks made a promise to customers that all milk served inside their company-operated Starbucks stores would not come from cows given growth hormones. The Seattle Times mentioned this change here. It was in 2008 that Starbucks removed organic milk from their menu because sales of it were “very low.” Still to this day, Starbucks hasn’t changed their milk purchasing practices.


As mentioned above, the Starbucks brand Pumpkin Spice Latte sauce used in stores does not contain high fructose corn syrup. I know I’ve read place where people are concerned that there are no actual pumpkins in the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Actually, it makes sense to me that it is flavored as Pumpkin Spice.

THE ACTUAL COFFEE IN THE PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE (Or any other Starbucks beverage, for that matter).

When you buy a Pumpkin Spice Latte, you’re most likely getting Starbucks Espresso Roast blend pulled as an espresso shot (or multiple shots). (My side comment here is that Espresso Roast also makes a lovely cup of drip coffee! Try it some time!) Coffee is very different than a product like spinach or apples which often have a high level of pesticide residue. The now-infamous article states that there might be “possible pesticide” residue in your coffee. Of all the things you have to worry about, this might be the least of your worries. Customers do not eat the outside cherry of the coffee. That soft cherry is removed and only the very inner dense coffee bean is roasted. Compare if you will, the coffee bean with the bananas you find at your local grocery store. (Stay with me here!). Some people say that bananas are the most pesticide-laden group of fruits yet the peeled banana fruit is tainted with very few pesticide residues. And bananas don’t even get thrown into a hot coffee roaster! ;)

More importantly, Starbucks actively discourages farmers from using pesticides. Starbucks asks farmers to participate in a scoring process called “CAFE practices,” which is essentially a way that Starbucks grades farms on how well they uphold environmental sustainability, transparency, and ethical practices and values. In 2012, 90% of Starbucks coffee was CAFE practices certified. Starbucks has certain “zero tolerance” items on the CAFE practices score card. If a farmer violates an area of “zero tolerance” his farm fails and will not be CAFE practices certified. One of the many “zero tolerance” areas is that no farmer may use any pesticides with  active ingredients that would be considered “extremely hazardous” or “highly hazardous” under World Health Organization standards.

The bottom line is that you can enjoy your double shot of espresso and smile at the same time. Probably buying organic apples or spinach for home will do you a lot more good.


I almost laugh each time a person singles out a Starbucks beverage as a high sugar beverage. I guess part of what surprises me (and this is just my opinion here) is that I look around me and see that Americans, as a whole, have a sweet tooth and love sugary food and beverage items. It’s what we Americans seem to like. Everything in moderation. While we’re at it, don’t drink, don’t smoke cigarettes, and be sure to brush and floss regularly. One news article suggests that the average American consumes 76 grams of sugar daily. One thing to consider about Starbucks beverages more generally, it seems (just by my anecdotal observation) that the “Grande” size (16 ounces) is one of the most popular sizes at Starbucks. If you are worried about how much sugar your beverage has, you could consider ordering just a “short” or a “tall” Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s one wonderful way to enjoy a treat, while scaling back on the sugars you’re consuming – control portion size.

While I’m not totally convinced that a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte daily would be the best thing ever for your body, I also think that most people enjoy Starbucks as treat. In fact, the numbers back it up. Only about one in five Starbucks customers goes to Starbucks more than 16 times in a month. The average customer visits Starbucks six times a month. And if you’re anything like me, you like a little variety and don’t order the same thing over and over again.

This is my response to I felt their article on the Pumpkin Spice Latte was highly sensationalized and designed just to get a rise out of readers, without really providing any quality information.

As always, this is just my opinion, but I too will be enjoying a Pumpkin Spice Latte now and then this fall. How do I know when it’s fall in Seattle? When Starbucks starts offering Pumpkin Spice Lattes on their menus.



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Coming Soon: Beautiful Fall Starbucks Cards (And the Seahawks 12th Man Fan Starbucks Card)

Fall Starbucks cards including the Seahawks Fan CardStarting on September 2, 2014, you’ll find some beautiful new Starbucks cards at your neighborhood store. The new autumn seasonal cards include four cards (in the shape of leaves) that can be used as key chain cards, and one traditional card. The one traditional (rectangular) card has a coffee cup with leaves like steam above it. I really like the card with the coffee cup and leaves as steam! Actually, I think all the new cards are very pretty. I personally wouldn’t use a key chain card but I do think they’re pretty.

As always, you can use any Starbucks card to earn and redeem all your MyStarbucksRewards perks – so register your card! Here’s the new seasonal cards:

IMAG1886 Leaves - 4 designs - keychain cardsIMAG1888 - Fall 2014 card - cup with leavesIf you want to learn a little more about registering a Starbucks card, click here. Earlier this year I wrote a quick article summarizing the benefits of registering a Starbucks card (and it still almost entirely contains good information – one thing has changed since I wrote that article here, there are now bonus stars for buying at-home coffee at Starbucks.)

You may soon see a Seahawks fan card available in Seattle Starbucks stores, and some greater-Seattle locations. It’s a “12th Man” type card. When you remove the sticker that says “It’s more than a card…” you’ll find the Seahawks logo underneath it. I have a feeling these cards will go quickly:

IMAG1889 - Seahawks fan card

So if you’re a Starbucks card collector, be on the lookout for these great cards!

Now is a good time to mention that if you’re a Starbucks collector, there will be a Starbucks “Coffee Con” on October 10th and 11th. I assume there will be lots of people with booths who are selling and trading collectibles. I’ll have a booth too and you’ll find me there with a stack of Tales of the Siren books (I’ll take payment in the form of Starbucks cards. One $10 Starbucks card equals buying a book.)

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The Season of Pumpkin Spice and #FirstPSL #PSL2014 (Pumpkin Spice Via too)


The season of Pumpkin Spice Lattes has started. Of course, if you don’t want a hot PSL, you could opt for a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino too.

The early-sippers of PSL are beginning to enjoy their Pumpkin Spice Lattes now by unlocking Starbucks stores with a code and a badge.

Here’s my first PSL drink this season: I opted for a Frappuccino for my #FirstPSL:

25 August 2014 - Pumpkin Spice FrappuccinoStarbucks customers can show baristas a badge (shown below) and provide a code to “unlock” a Starbucks store. If the store hasn’t been “unlocked” the Pumpkin Spice Latte isn’t available until September 2, 2014. I asked readers to send in their #FirstPSL photos and got these great pictures!

PSL Badgephoto 4-2 copyimage-10 First PSL Shelby YoungIMAG0328 Candace first PSLPSL copy






Untitled-1 copyI also want to mention that this is the first year for Pumpkin Spice Latte Via. You can find it on here. This is the first year for this Pumpkin Spice Via – it’s not the same as last year’s version. The first year of Pumpkins Spice Via was 2012: You can view the old version of the PSL Via here. The discontinued, older (2012 – 2013) version of PSL Via were non-dairy products. The instructions were to add 8 ounces of hot milk to the Via mix for a great Pumpkin Spice Latte.

The 2014 version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte Via does include dairy. Notice that the packaging says “simply add hot water” and tells you that it’s made with “natural dairy.” Again, the 2014 verision of PSL Via ia already available on here, and will be in Starbucks stores everywhere (as well as many grocery retailers) September 2, 2014. I’ve had a few readers tell me that the new Pumpkin Spice Latte Via is already starting to show up in grocery retailers. I’m looking forward to trying this new version. I haven’t yet.

Feel free to weigh in on anything Pumpkin Spice related!

Have you had your #FirstPSL yet?

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StarbucksMelody’s Ice Bucket Challenge. #ALSIceBucketChallenge #IceBucket

Today, I was nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by Sean, a Starbucks partner at the East Olive Way Starbucks. I took this challenge very seriously! Before I accepted, I spent a little time Googling to make sure I’d be following the rules. Generally what I found was this: Don’t pour the ice water on yourself. At a minimum, do the challenge within 24 hours of being nominated. It’s encouraged that you donate to ALS in addition to doing the challenge. If you decline the ice bucket, you should definitely donate. And you should say who challenged you. You can end by nominating a maximum of three people.

So I decided I would donate and accept the ice bucket of water. I found the address to donate to easily. I realize there are other ways I could have donated, but putting a check in an envelope creates a nice visual:

IMAG1862 donationAnd then I called up the East Olive Way Starbucks and told them I was game. Shift Supervisor Sean, Coffee Master Alex, and Coffee Master Megan, all said that they’d be happy to pour ice water on me! :) Alex made the video. Due to the size of the file, it was edited down to just this. I apologize for my foul language! I post this not because I want to demonstrate that I’m one very silly person, but I know that a lot of people are doing this challenge. And when all is said and done, I’d like to just call out that this is to raise money and awareness for Lou Gherig’s Disease. You can always donate to, even if you’re not involved in the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

I cringe to share this, but here I am with Sean dumping water on me: (Notice that he prepared a second small attack of water!) And I challenged Julie Schlueter, Coulter Smith, and Joe Sanders. Hope you get a good laugh!




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Stunning La Boulange – Starbucks chalkboard art in Michigan

This is one of the most beautiful Starbucks chalkboards that I’ve ever seen. The artist is barista Bryan Clifford and you can find this artwork in this store: Starbucks 6908 Rochester Road, Troy, Michigan.

Here it is for you to ooooh and awwww over too: (Click onto the image to make it larger).

image-8 LA BOULANGE Board 22August2014If you like looking at partner chalkboard art, you can click through past article such articles here.

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Reporting on all the latest Starbucks news!