And the Big Announcement Is……

Starbucks rolls out their new blend.  Yup, that’s it.  A new all Latin American bucks blend, Pike’s Place, hit the streets today in full force after much tension was built with a huge marketing campaign.  Some have been heard to discount this as mere advertising trickery and over-hype.  But this is the same technique we employ to get good results from our 5 year old daughter.  Every little thing is greatly praised and often recounted with cheering and laughter.  It’s just what you do.

I referred to the “new” old logo as the naked Mermaid and the Barista corrected me.  It’s a Siren.

I had a hankering for cup of coffee after lunch, and I remembered that today was the big day.  I made my way to West Chester’s very new Starbucks location.  This place has been built out to emphasize the theatrics of the coffee bar.  There is bar seating at one end with marble counter top and a great view of the Barista’s side of the Super Autos.  You can watch the whole show and interact with the Partners while you sip your free cup of Pike’s Place Blend.  They promise it is the “smoothest” coffee they have ever served, and they will make it fresh every 30 minutes.  Most quality oriented coffee shops I know have longer holding times if they use any type of thermos device.  And in fact, I did see the black aproned “Coffee Master” dump at least a half gallon of P.P. down the drain just as the timer sounded.  He then used a large measuring ladle to prepare another batch from the pre-ground beans.

Black Apron Coffee Master promptly dumps the coffees every 30 minutes .

As for the coffee itself, I have to say that I had my hopes and expectations very high.  I have been reading on the Starbucks employee blog how much the Partners themselves enjoy the new blend with less cream than they normally use, and how highly they regard this new national sensation.  My first whiff of the aroma reveled a lot of cocoa and caramel.  At it’s hottest, I thought at first that it came across with just a tiny bit of phenolic like fresh plastic note, but at a more reasonable drinking temperature it was definitely the most pleasant coffee I have ever tasted from this company.  The finish still betrayed the beginning of roastiness, but in comparison to their other coffees, it was really well restrained in it’s roast level.  There was a discernible and pleasing amount of brightness also, which was a surprise.  However, the roast level was just a bit past what might have expressed a more dominant origin character.  As a result, there was a certain lack of complexity.  Still, the coffee was very well balanced, very fresh, and all at a very good level of extraction.  Did I mention it was free?  I asked for a 12 oz, and the Barista let me know I could have an 8 oz free of charge.  I said OK.

For those who dislike the company for philosophical, political, or ethical reasons, there is just not going to be any way for you to be pleased.  When the company was huge and served mediocre coffee at acrid roast levels it was easy to be a hater.  There will be many who continue to hate.  But the fact is that they are moving toward a style that is more fashionable among the coffee educated.  Also a fact is that they are beating many an independent shop on consistency and freshness.  The employees were really friendly and accommodating to me.  How can you hate these things.  In the past these guys were a last resort coffee shop when you were in a different town and you didn’t know where else you could go.  You could choke down a cup if you needed to, even if you couldn’t finish the last quarter.  Which by the way, was still pretty good with the Pike’s Place blend.  This gives me somewhere I can go and get a more than mediocre, pretty fresh, pretty good cup.  If you own your own coffee shop, you should be so lucky (or skilled, as it were) to do as well as they are doing with this new, but over marketed, coffee.

  1. Phil: Is this the new Starbucks at High St and Gay St? I have thought–way back since 1999, that this place was destined to become a Starbucks. And now…here it is. People should listen to me sooner, more often. 🙂

  2. Phil.
    I am a hater. That being said, I’d like to point out that what I dislike about the new *$ roll-out is the amount of trash talk that uncle Howie revels in. In the NYT article regarding their purchase of CoEqCo, he refers to we independents as “those who try to be in the coffee business” and then again with this new cup design, they say “we served the best coffee 37 years ago, and we still do today.” (read the cup). Them’s fightin’ words, man. Not even a qualifier about maybe they’re TRYING to be the best… Ugh.
    But, I’m a hater.

  3. You take purty pictures, Phil. No doubt.

  4. Aaron, yes, right across the street from Sprazzo. One coffee shop in town, America’s Cup in the Lincoln building on Market, has already closed down.

    Tim, now that the fire is clearly lit under your patukis, go out and beat them at the coffee game.

  5. Is (was) America’s Cup down one level from the street? If not, who am I thinking about? If that’s the place it used to be called…something else. Lincoln Coffee Exchange or some such.

    Did you ever talk to my friend Dan up at the sbux in Lionville next to Quizno’s? He’d be a great employee to steal…

  6. Aaron, the one that was down the steps, yes. It was called something else, the owner told me she bought it form a different owner, and she was looking to sell. I think it will be a pub or tavern or the like.

    You will have to refresh my memory on the location of the *$. The best I could do is tell him where some new quality shops are opening, we are not taking on anyone else this year. Eventually we will be looking for a Pennsylvania, Jersey, New York sales person. (Thst’s one person for the territory, not three jobs)

  7. That’s not a bad idea, Phil… I think I’ll give it a shot.

  8. I almost never comment, however i did some searching and wound
    up here And the Big Announcement Is | The Onion-Bean.
    And I actually do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be just me or does it look as if like a few of these comments come across like left by brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are posting at other places, I would like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Could you make a list of all of all your shared sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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