EVERY Starbucks closing! (no not forever.)

But yes, you read that right: EVERY Starbucks is closing (count them: 7100) at 5:30 tonight Tuesday, Feb 26 [MB Edit] for three (count them: THREE) hours of training. Allegedly this will address service issues such as bad shots and poorly steamed milk.

At one point in time, I was a barista for both The Beanery and Coffee People: Aero Moka, and I could sling lattes with the best of them. I attribute my success (I could make foam you could bounce a quarter off of and my shots were NEVER bitter) to the fact that I had to actually take a full-on class on coffee at both locations. When I started at The Beanery they took me to the roaster and showed me this is how coffee beans start and this is what happens to them, etc. After two solid days of this sort of information I had to take a test. When I started at Coffee People it was a similar situation (but without the trip to the roaster). I had to know a lot about coffee and get a fair amount of training in technique and ingredients and all manner of proper beverage assembly before they turned me loose on customers. I won’t say just how long ago this was, but I’ll tell you not one bit of the airport was under construction and I still had to explain differences between cappuccino and latte to a lot of folks.

It makes me wonder just what it takes to be a barista in this day and age. If you know please let me know. And if you need that hit on the way home, you might be out of luck if you usually stop at Starbucks. Try someone local. You might be pleasantly surprised!

18 Comments so far

  1. Mr. Viddy (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

    Ugh, it gets so tiresome hearing people dish about going to local coffee places. The Starbucks I go to always makes great coffee and provides excellent service. That is why I keep going. On the flip side, I have tried local places that were simply terrible.

    All I am saying is just because a place is small and local doesn’t mean they are better.

  2. Bob R. (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

    What years were you at the Beanery? Was it the Corvallis one? I lived in Corvallis off-and-on from 1987-2002 and the downtown Beanery was my frequent haunt.

  3. joann Landers (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

    I think they are closing at 5:30 p.m on February 26 – as in Tuesday. Yes?

  4. dieselboi (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

    I have updated the post. Yes, Joann, Starbucks won’t be closing until Tuesday evening.

    Dieselboi, MB Captain

  5. michelle (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

    I worked at Starbucks 8 years ago, and got to spend a few days taking classes, tasting coffee and learning how to pull a good shot. I prefer to frequent other local joints when I can, but do still visit a Starbucks a few times a week. They are ALWAYS friendly, and the quality is consistently good, not great, but solid.

  6. Becca (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

    I worked at a coffee shop that served Stumptown. They have the best class at their roasting facility. It was very informative and I still use the information years later.

  7. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

    Mr Viddy:
    Given the option I’d rather have local. I’ve had TERRIBLE local and pretty decent Starbucks. But if I could have local that was tasty I’d prefer it.

    Bob R:
    I can tell by your peak.org addy you’re a Beanery local. (: I was there in 95 and part of 96.

    I don’t have anything against Starbucks personally but I will take well made local over Starbucks every time. Your mileage may vary. (:

  8. Mr. Viddy (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

    Banana L. Fishbones:

    I can accept that and not that you were bagging on Starbucks its just that I know some people who will go local "just because" and I am more the type to go with whomever provides the best product/service.

    That’s why I love Portland, most of us can have our opinions and still just get along as Rodney King once said.

  9. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

    I’m glad we can get along, Mr V. If everyone in Portland went local we wouldn’t have two Starbucks in Pioneer Place. (:

    I have a preference but I don’t require local or whatever. I’ll tell you what though, I’ve never had a bad coffee from Coffee People. Plus they will sell you a shirt that says "Venti Schmenti" on the back. (:

  10. Alsymer (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

    I miss my old Coffee People haunts … Starbucks is fine, but there were some old favorites at Coffee People that Starbucks just doesn’t have, like Mexican Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana milkshakes … plus the fun banter and attitudes that made the trip worthwhile. While Starbucks may have the reliable standard fare, Coffee People (and some of the other local places) had (have) more charm and character, for which I’ll gladly pay extra.

  11. mousewords (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 10:06 pm

    I’m fortunate, because the Starbucks-es in my area are all consistently good, with friendly service.

    I’m also fortunate to have a really good local coffee shop–nice for a change of atmosphere. That’s where I’ll go tomorrow for a writing jaunt, just in case SB is closed. ;-)

  12. Jeff the Great (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 10:53 pm

    I hope they give some customer service training. Starbucks used to be staffed by friendly people….now I’d say 1 in 5 is friendly to customers.

    The coffee is always great as far as I am concerned, but I just drink drip. I do seem to witness way too many mistake drinks at the bar. Is it that hard to get 99 out of 100 drinks made correctly?

  13. Mike (unregistered) on February 25th, 2008 @ 11:45 pm

    I find it really odd that the special Apple media event that was supposed to be Tuesday was suddenly postponed, and now ALL Starbucks are closing for "training" on the same day? Is Steve Jobs going to give a secret web broadcast training to Starbucks employees on the upcoming rollout of the iTunes WiFi Music Store in Starbucks locations? No, of course not, but I managed to work Apple into another post comment!

    Seriously tho, I think this is a good sign from SB, at least they are acknowledging the issue and dealing with it rather than let things continue to circle the drain. I always go local if I can but I’m glad to hear this for those rare occasions when I frequent the ‘bucks.

  14. martin (unregistered) on February 26th, 2008 @ 6:15 am

    They are updating the Starskills (TM) manual. Serious.

  15. melissa lion (unregistered) on February 26th, 2008 @ 8:19 am

    In defense of local — I’m a tea girl and Starbucks has the crappiest bagged tea around, plus the water they use is far too hot. It’s been my experience in Portland that local coffee places with good coffee, usually have great loose leaf tea too. Because all Starbucks serve exactly the same thing, I’d rather take my chances on an unknown local because I can’t abide paying top dollar for the bitter bagged tea dregs at Starbucks.

  16. Lil Gumball (unregistered) on February 26th, 2008 @ 9:48 am

    I did have nothing against the Buck until they bought out my favorite coffee shop chain Torrefazione and then closed them all down and put up more Starbucks. I haven’t gone to one since

  17. Samuel Klein (unregistered) on February 26th, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

    FWIW, I’ve worked for the Beanery too … but I was cleaning up the 2nd Street Bean in Corvallis after hours, also the 26th and Monroe Bean when needed. I was going through LBCC at the time.

    I was pleased to be able to attend at least one Allann Bros Christmas party, which was cool … Allan Schulz (who seems to be billed as "Allan Stuart" these days, which leaves me scratching my head for sure) was a nice guy and I loved the story on how he built the Bean.

    If there was a Beanery up her in PDX, that might indeed be the only coffee place we ever went to.

    And Starbucks coffee? Like drinking a burnt log. Last time I had some my stomach was upset for hours. And I can drink day-old stale coffee in a pinch without a problem. What they call "dark roast" other people call "burned to a crisp".

  18. shane (unregistered) on February 26th, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

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