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Starbucks Complaint

I patronize Starbucks. Yes, I'm sure you find that shocking. I like two of their drinks, but the one I order 95% of the time is the Iced Americano. I always get the Venti because I am a total coffee hound. I finally found the complaint/complement form on Starbucks' site, and here's what I wrote:

The drink I order 95% of the time at Starbucks is a Venti Iced Americano. I've ordered hundreds of these over time, and I can't help but notice that they are not made in a consistent manner and I am often disappointed with what I get.

The cup is filled half way with water, then the shots are added and then there will be a few ice cubes added as an afterthought.

Once in a while, I get one that still has ice in it when I'm 100 feet from the store. It seems to be a problem for me to both get "lots of ice" (yes, I've tried that tactic) and room for cream.

Why do the vast majority of barristas make this drink so poorly? I asked a *former* barrista and was informed that ice and a *small* amount of water is supposed to be added to the cup.

It just seems like there is a training gap here. Since I feel like a PITA for asking for my drink to be remade, I often leave the store feeling slightly ripped off.

Thanks for your attention,

The entry with the reply.

Posted by nicole at June 30, 2005 08:49 PM

I found this site because I had a complaint for Starbucks. I searched "Starbucks complaint" and this was one that came up. I was curious to see if our complaint was the same, so I checked it out.

My problem is with the cups they use. I am a pretty serious caffeine addict as well and say what you will about Starbucks, but they do have really good coffee. I have found that I consistantly get a good product. However, the cups are terrible. I understand that they are making an effort by using eco friendly paper cups and I appreciate that, but the cups have a seam on the top where the cup is put together and when the cup is fullest and hottest, a constant drip comes out all over your cups, clothes, hands, ect. Especially if your in a car or on a bus or even just walking from one place to another. I learned that if you hold a napkin up to where the seam is it wont drip quite as bad. Which is good, as long as you dont mind holding a soggy deteriorating napkin soaked with piping hot coffee. Trying to hurridly drink enough down so it stops dripping. But I think thats pretty uncomfortable. Another thing that has proved to be a huge problem is that with the "venti" size the cup will frequently just pop open when you grab it or hold it.. The lid is not as tight fitting as it should be and the paper cup becomes rather flimsy under the weight and heat of the liquid, resulting in boiling hot coffee all over the place. I fix this problem by simply specifying that the drink is "double cupped". But Im having to keep up with two drips now, one for each seam. The only way I've found to fix the drip is to get less coffee, start out asking for extra room for cream and filling to about an inch short of the top. Thats when I feel ripped off.

I wrote for two reasons. The first, to share my Starbucks problem. Something I feel could use some serious reform and company wide change, and may save them some McDonalds-esque lawsuits. The second, to tell you how I feel about your problem. Of course theres a training curve, there always will be. I personally do not know how many stores Starbucks has worldwide or exactly how many people are employed by them. But I do know that when theres so many people working all over the world, so many different locations under different managers who all have different ways of doing things in one way or another, it may be hard to train all of the millions of people who work at all of their locations all over the world, every store in every nook and cranny, every mall, every airport, every bookstore, every strip mall, every block of every street in the world.. Well, it may be hard to make sure that all of their baristas know exactly how much ice should be in an iced Americano at any given time to any particular customer, The Americano by the way, not one of their most popular drinks.

I think that situations like this call for a little bit of personal "On the Spot" responsibility. In the old days of coffee shops one of the signs of a good barista was the ability to customize drinks per customer depending on personal preference. Very similar to a good bartender. Its like writing a detailed letter to complain about salt on the rim of a margarita posting it to a online board and waiting diligently for a response to your outrage, when you could have simply said, "Yeah, I'll have a margarita, no salt." My point is, just tell the barista how you like your iced Americano and be very very clear. I know you will encounter the occasional barista who will not get it right, don't feel like a PITA(?) tell them to make it again. But for the most part I think a corporate complaint letter is unesessary. Not to be a jerk, but I don't see a company wide effort happening to retrain their millions of employees to properly execute an iced Americano to your specifications. Have patience with people, we're all just trying to get by. I really do feel that if you order the same drink from the same place 95% of the time, and your clear about how you like it, 95% of the time it will be right.

Thanks for your time,

Did they ever write
back? Im curious.

Posted by Thomas at August 18, 2005 12:52 PM

Sorry, I just posted something about starbucks and asked if they got back to you. After checking out your main page I saw they did.

Posted by Thomas at August 18, 2005 01:00 PM

Part of the reason I wrote to them at all is because I had a chat with an ex-barista who told me that she only put a splash of water then a pile of ice in the cup. So, of course I thought mine were being made with an incorrect procedure. Now I know that's not the case. It's being made correctly, as amazing as that is to me. Apparently, I need to specify that I want actual ice in an iced drink.

Regarding the popularity:
I have asked at the two S'bucks I frequent and they claim that they make quite a lot of them, but honestly, I've never seen *anyone* else with one, ever. So, the popularity of that drink remains an unknown.

I do now specify how I want the drink made. That doesn't always help, and there's almost no chance of getting the same barista twice because there seems to be a lot of turnover on the baristas. The last couple of days I haven't bothered to stop by there in the morning, because the last three of them that I've *specified* have still been wrong.

Not to be a jerk, but I don't see a company wide effort happening to retrain their millions of employees to properly execute an iced Americano to your specifications.

You think I should be willing to do more work so I can give them money? I'm simply not willing to do that. Having to be a pain in the barista's ass robs me of some of the pleasure of the coffee for which I have paid just under $3.

For the record, I'm satisfied with my answer from them.

Sadly though (for their till anyway), that hasn't really solved the problem as I'm *still* patronizing Starbucks less because I'm unable to get the drink the way I want it even when I order it the way the company suggested.

Posted by Nicole at August 18, 2005 01:26 PM

what is the link to complain to starbucks????

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Posted by vtputzsv at January 17, 2008 02:45 PM

HOw do you file a Complaint with Starbucks - I've owned Stock for over 15 years and I saw a story about their new LOGO I do not like this logo and want to complain.

Posted by Nancy at May 15, 2008 11:41 AM

The recipe says to fill it with water to the bottom green line, then the espresso shots go up to the top green line, then ice.
Our store doesn't make it that way because we end up with a lot of complaints. We don't put any water in ours.
If you say "no water" or "very very little water" it will help you a lot.

You should also try the new Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice. It is like an Americano except a little different. It's delicious.

Posted by Peas at May 26, 2008 04:19 AM


Posted by carly at March 3, 2009 08:22 AM

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