Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Lovin': Starbucks

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by michelle | une-deux senses, on Flickr

I'm not a coffee drinker but I sure am buyin' what Starbucks is selling. The "experience", "treating myself", "affordable luxury", all of that is mine for a $4 cup of "chai".

And I use the word chai very, very loosely when it comes to Starbucks. Real chai in India is spicy, unexpectedly black pepper and cardamom spicy.

Starbucks chai, while delicious, is like drinking a gingerbread cookie. It's ridiculously sweet. And don't get me started about them calling it "chai tea latte":

1. "Chai" means tea. So no need to add 'tea' in there.

2. What on earth does this have to do with a latte? I guess because there's milk in it? This has confused a few new Starbucks employees, and I've gotten my share of chai with coffee mixed in. Yuck.

But when it's made correctly, ahhh. It's heavenly. My current (high-maintenance) order is a grande soy chai, with one pump of chai, at 130 degrees. Seriously. I'm *that* person, who tells them how hot to make my drink. So ridiculous, I know. But otherwise it's burning hot and I have to wait 10 or 15 minutes before I can drink my deliciousness. And in the land of Tiny Babies, a 10 or 15 minute delay means I'll probably forget about it, find it 2 days later, and just have to throw it out.

Many people lament the big business corporate-ness of Starbucks, but as a Seattleite, I'm "buying local" when I go there. They give their hourly employees health insurance. Everytime I've been to a Starbucks, every last employee has been unfailingly cheerful and friendly. Not to mention my customer service experience has been AMAZING.

My two favorite stories:

1. When I was enormously pregnant (8 months+) with T, I got a chai at my local Starbucks after waiting in line for a long time. As luck (and my clumsiness) would have it, I got out the door and immediately dropped it all over myself and the sidewalk. I went back in to figure out how to clean it up, and they remade my drink for FREE. *swoon*

2.  At one location, they tell me when I order my drink that I should order it as steamed milk with flavoring, so it's cheaper. They've "fixed" my order for me every time I go there.  Too bad it's not my regular shop!  Shout out to the Redmond Ridge QFC Starbucks.

Howard Schultz's books have been on my reading list for ages. Maybe it's time for me to download one now!


  1. One time I went and was all excited to get my drink. Walked to the doc office and managed to knock it over in the waiting room. Went back after seeing the doc, explained, they remembered my exuberance, and they remade it free. Even though I only visit that Starbucks once a year when I see my doc.

    Yes, I love Starbucks.

  2. I admit, I love Starbucks too, and I don't drink coffee. =) I order hot chocolate, or iced tea, or a tea latte. I like chai in general, but don't care for the blend SB uses, so I get mine with black tea and sometimes flavoring. The gingerbread syrup they have during the holidays is quite tasty with tea. I usually look at it as a chance for some time to myself--like this morning when I didn't have enough time to bother going home after I took the girls to school, but didn't have to be at work yet.

  3. I don't see the big deal myself, probably because we don't have that coffee culture here, and I found Starbucks enormously expensive when I was in the USA last year, but I LOVE YOUR PASSION!!!

    I also gush about things I love so it makes me smile to see it in others.

    Funny, just the other day, a lady was giving me a whole lecture about how it's wrong to say chai tea :) she spent some time in India...

  4. I love the smell of chai tea - my sister drinks it. But i have always found it too sweet myself...though in the fall I'm in love with thier Pumpkin Spice Latte. It's just the right balance of sweet and creamy!

  5. I love that you consider it "buying locally" I never thought about it that way but will now. I'm totally a Starbucks girl. I'm all about consistency with my coffee and I know any starbucks any part of the world and it's gonna taste the same. Mostly. And like you, they "fixed" my drink for me when I was ordering a triple venti vanilla American with extra room. I really wanted a full grande size coffee with room but didn't want to sacrifice the price I was paying for a grande. SO the first time I ordered it I was a bit confused about how to rattle it off and figured they'd charge me for a venti. Turns out the barista "Bob" told me how to order it and that they only charge for a grande because it's three shots instead of 4. And my barista "Bob" decided I needed a street name one day and so am affectionately known as J-Dawg at the Bella Botega Starbucks. = )

  6. I am not a coffee drinker but Starbucks has the best hot chocolate too :)

  7. I've always had the same "issue" with the whole Chai Tea Latte. Its TEA, TEA.... lol. But, I too order and drink them happily...

  8. Oh I loove Starbucks too my closest one is 45 minutes away. :(


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