Central Snark

Coffee Tawk w. CJ by Snuppy
Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 11:27am
Filed under: friends, guest who?

WHOOPS. Once again we managed to let the morning slip past us without  getting a post up in a timely fashion, and for that, we are truly sorry. Okay, maybe sorry is too strong a word… but we DO feel bad. Especially since we didn’t have anything to write about when we finally sat down at our computer. We hate when that happens. Of course, we had no way of knowing WordPress was gonna be such a bitch about letting us do any kind of post today, but we digress…

SO you can imagine our relief and/or joy to find the following neatly typed guest post waiting for us right next to a cup of piping hot coffee and a warmed bran muffin. You see, one of our favorite Snarksters–who also happens to be a warm and witty young woman, a wonderful mother, and one of the most wholesome people we’ve ever had the pleasure to know–CJ, works part time for one of our FAVORITE coffee companies (what can we say, one of our kids works there, too), Starbucks. Hence the impetus for her post.

*     *     *     *     *

starbucksSnuppy had asked me if I was interested in writing a bit about coffee  for you all in the Snark – and I of course jumped at this chance. Coffee is such a fun thing to talk about, and such an important part of my life. I suppose it sounds pretty silly to say that but it is very true. I grew up with people who observed and shared a very special time with loved ones at 9 a.m. and 3p.m. – sharp. What happened at 9 and 3 each and every day – rain or shine, 365 days a year, celebration or crisis? Coffee.

I grew up in central Minnesota, the area in which Garrison Keillor speaks of that fictional town of Lake Wobegone. While the town name was fictional, the geographic and  social references he makes are truths. For our very first coffee talk together I thought that I would create a Minnesota morning coffee.

I’ll start off the conversation around the table with some questions 
that I get a lot, and then you have any coffee questions I’ll be happy to answer them. Do you have time for a cup of coffee? Please friends, grab your favorite coffee cup and pull up a chair. I have a pot of coffee brewing and it’ll be ready soon.

How’s Starbucks?

You know I really love my part time job. I am so  glad that I took the chance to get out of the house for a few hours a  week. I am amazed with all the different things I have learned about coffee and tea – and have started my journey to being a coffee master. (You get to wear a black apron with your name on it and are considered a coffee expert.)

That is a unique name, how did they get the name Starbucks?

Well, do you remember what Captain Ahab’s first mate’s name was? Me either, but at work they tell me its Starbuck and it got its name from the book Moby Dick.

Do you know how coffee was discovered?

Of course I do, that is Coffee 101 at Starbucks! One night a goat shepherd noticed his goats were pretty agitated and wouldn’t sleep at night when they ate the berries off a special bush. He decided that he’d go into business keeping other Shepherds up at night. Ok, that second part isn’t true but truly the first part is – agitated goats – I swear.

Help yourself to the sugar cookies people, don’t be shy! I hear the pot whistle, so coffee is on – What’s new with you? How are you doing?

*   *   *

UH…agitated goats? Really? Who knew? Apparently, CJ.  See why we love this girl?? Seriously, thank you so much, sweet CJ, for providing this blog with such percolating fodder for discussion! (in our heads, that made sense) Okay kids, the coffee shop floor’s all yours… let ‘er drip rip.

~ snuppy


28 Comments so far
Leave a comment

CJ, you did such a great job here! thanks again. now for my question: who do i have to bribe know in order to get ahold of starbuck’s Mocha mix? i know you think it’s crappy, but i’m here to tell you it’s the only thing that makes TGSNWM’s reallyreally tasty! am i SOL here? or is there a way to buy that stuff? also… what’s it mean when someone orders their coffee “extra hot”? (i mean i know it’s extra hot, but what’s the temp? is it a pain in the ass? because i want to start ordering mine that way… but haven’t because, well, i didn’t want to look stupid!) xox

Comment by One Hot Puppy

Morning Snuppy,

I don’t want to hear anymore complaints about Blogger, because WordPress sucked this morning! Once I did a post, and it came up Oops! Server Error. I mean polite, but still.

I have never been in a Starbucks and I don’t drink coffee.

Comment by Gone to the Dogs ate my Bunny

Bunny, give the woman something to work with! They have tea? Decaf? They give free tall waters (Get one for Tali when she’s with me :O
Another thing about Starbucks (music purists turn up your headphones) they have great cd’s – often showcasing newer lesser known artists that only get play on the colledge radio station that I listen to. One of my greatest traveling cd’s is from there about 4 years ago – Songs for the Road. We know all the songs and sing them together.
Oh, right coffee. Funny thing is we were more of the tea drinkers in my house. Yes, growing up there was coffeee, but mainly tea. I became a real coffee drinker (i.e., junkie) after I finished having my babies and breastfeeding. Then I got hooked on Starbucks. Hey, it’s a little life pleasure.
I find that for straight coffee, I can’t do Starbucks – too strong (unless we brew at home), but I love their lattes. Is their coffee really stronger than the other brands? The other thing (who knows I may one day work there and want to prepare ahead) – how the heck does one remember all the drinks and get them out still warm enough to drink?
The last thing – is there some secret memorization society that you join when you are employed that gives you the power to remember your customer’s drinks? In some stores, where I often haven’t been for a couple of months, they remember my drink? Is this a hoax? Okay, that’s enough to satisfy all the things I’ve wanted to know about S-bucks, but was afraid to ask.

Comment by Lampy with a Latte

That’s right – right on that thar colledge radio station!

Comment by Lampy with a Latte

That’s right – right on that thar “colledge” radio station!

Comment by Lampy with a Latte

See what happens when you haven’t had the proper latte to start the day…

I’ll leave now.

Comment by Lampy with a Latte

OH I have such great comments for all of you!!! I need to feed Gracie and get her down for her nap and I’ll be hap-hap-happy to answer all your questions!!

Comment by cj

GDB: WordPress was a major pain in the you-know-what… it literally took me 3 hours to get this post up. (i actually left a comment on yesterday’s post, in case i wound up being unable to do so at all)… but the wise-and-snarky LampLady is right, sir, just ‘cuz you don’t drink coffee is NO excuse for not trying a Starbucks something… xox

LL (aka NBFF): you’re right! how the hell *do* they memorize those drinks? i mean, my son works there for godssake, and i can’t belive a kid who can’t remember to take his meds on any given day can recall how some stranger who pops in on a semi-regular basis takes his coffee! ’tis a mystery, indeed!

oh, and you mentioned the teas (which are splendid)… Starbuck’s also has some fabulous baked goodies (including aforementioned bran muffins). and their hot chocolate is mighty tasty, too! (what can i say? i’m an addict a fan. xoxo

Comment by snuppy

oops! CJ: you’re allowed to be “mommy” before Snark commenter… it’s in the rules. or it would be, if we actually had any! xox

Comment by snuppy

Alright I’m going to go through and answer these all as best as I can one by one!

Comment by cj

As far as the mocha mix you have a few options. 1. Always around the holidays we start selling the mocha mix. You can stock up then, also things go on clearance just after christmas so you can stock up even more. Normally things start at 30% off, then 50% then its marked out. If I come across marked out mocha – I’ll snag it for you. Option 2. Lets just say “as you wish”.

Extra hot can be a pain in the ass but if you ask for it appropriately we don’t mind. The rules for keeping us barista’s happy are pretty much common sense. We understand that if your paying $4.10 for a mocha- it better be made right. Rules are pretty lax most of the time but during a rush we have got to get a little more strict on those rules. Do not ask for anything extra hot after your drink has been made….. Now if you asked for it to be extra hot when ordering – that is a different story and we’re happy to remake your drink. BUT if we hand the drink to you, and you say “Can that be made extra hot?” We cringe a bit…. especially if there is a long line behind you. What do I mean by extra hot well I mean above 160 degree’s. We make our hand crafted drinks to 160 degree’s unless otherwise specified. Milk, Soy, and Apple Juice all scald at different temps – so generally they all come about 160. YOU DO NOT WANT TO EVER – did I say EVER – have extra hot apple cider. Apple cider scalds at 165, and you just can’t steam it above 160 and everything work out ok. Soy…. I am a bit biased on soy, I can’t stand the smell of hot soybeans, and burnt soybeans is even worse.(Grew up on a soybean farm.) You need to be careful with steaming soy- it scalds about 170 and if you have a more inexperienced barista you could wind up with scalded soy. If you trust your barista you can order extra hot – but I personally, would be a bit leary of it. Milk scalds just a hair above 180…. no one wants to pay big bucks for some espressso, mocha,and scalded milk.

Be careful with the extra hot people – the hotness could wreck the flavor that we were supposed to be working hard to bring out.

Comment by cj

GTHDAMB Starbucks offers tea, juice, waters, pastries….. cream based frappicino’s and juice blends. We’ve been working hard to make something that everyone likes. …. really the rumor about us taking over the world is BS, really it is.

Comment by cj

Lampy: Starbucks paired with XM radio and have been putting out a lot of music as of late. The idea is to be able to bring the “Starbucks” sound home. While working I have gotten a chance to learn about different music and pick up some new cd’s along the way. They compliation CD’s are some of the best!!

Lampy the Starbucks coffee is much different than other coffies for a few reasons. There are two different ways coffee can be grown – it comes in either tree (arabica) and bush (robustica). The bush coffee is Folgers type coffee – and us Starbucks people cringe when we talk about that stuff. Arabica coffee is the only kind of coffee we sell. Arabica coffee is grown on tree’s and is a higher quality of coffee.

Coffee is grown in many many areas of the world – latin america, asia, south pacific, africa. Each region is known for a specific type of flavor – and it is dependant on the type of soil, altitude and other geographic reasons. Our Kenya blend is a bold coffee that has a very citrus taste to it! Coffee’s are best when they are paired with like food – if you want to know more about this I can give you some suggestions…. I wouldn’t wanna ramble too much.

As far as how do we memorize so much? Well like anything with repetition you remember. The “formula” for most all drinks are pretty much the same… so it gets pretty easy after a while.

Knowing our customers is a VERY important part of starbucks life. We really want people to come back and its how we show we care. 🙂 corny but true.

Comment by cj

Thanks CJ for the info. 🙂 I have an ingrained dislike for corporations…nothing personal. We actually have two locations within a couple miles from our house. Maybe if you stop by and show us around I might feel different.

And it’s not just Starbucks, any monolithic company raises my hackles, which these days is just about everybody.

Comment by Gone to the Dogs ate my Bunny

I love tea, plain, flavored, herbal. I also love coffee, though I don’t drink it often at home. I have a special mug I use for tea – coffee, it holds 24 ounces, 3 cups! It’s marvelous, sigh. I’m taking it with me when I die, just in case….. We have 2 Starbuck’s here in the Villages. It’s a hopping place, always busy. I have yet to go in. Do they have muffins and such or just beverages? Great topic, sorry I am so very tarfy today. D :}

Comment by FelineFrisky

GTHDAMB – Whatz that?? D }

Comment by FelineFrisky

CJ: so i’ll be able to buy the mocha over the holidays?? yipeee! (and i will stock up on the stuff, so thanks for the heads up. maybe i can take advantage of my son’s discount…) xox

GDB: one of the things that actually impresses me about this particular monolithic company, is that they tend to treat their employees very well. they start ’em out with good solid salaries, work with their schedules (for part-timers, like CJ, i’m guessing… and for students)… they even provide part-time benefits and 401Ks… and they pool all the tips (at least in my son’s store they did) so the people get a fair slice of the additional income, even if they don’t necessarily get to work on good tipping days (Andy used to bring home 40-160 buck a week, for 25 to 30 hours… not bad, eh?) xox

FF: i laughed when i saw that, too! i think CJ is the first to actually use *all* the initials for GDB’s Snark moniker! as for your question about muffins? they have muffins, bagels, cookies, cupcakes, yogurt, salads, and they just started offering breakfast “sandwiches” (which i can’t eat because they come with bacon, ham or sausage). i’m also partial to Tazo teas, which is the kind they sell. xox

so… CJ! here’s another quick question, with regards to soy (i know you don’t like it, but milk upsets my stomach). now that Silk is making a low-fat version of their vanilla soy, will Starbucks start carrying it? does Starbucks have a suggestion box so you can suggest that? because with our habit… it would be VERY helpful to be able to cut back on a few calories here and there! xox

Comment by snuppy

Its not that I don’t like soy, I don’t like soy when its damaged. Trust me, soy shit, bad bad stuff. Someday I shall blog about the evil things we did with soyshit. Maybe a confessional type thing. 🙂

Starbucks has a great corperate accountability statement that really sets them apart from other companies. Fair Trade Coffee, excellent benifits, more giving back to the community than any place I’ve ever seen.

Mocha – I’ll email you. I may have come across something for you.

I’ll check on the Silk. }:]”){]

grace says I have to go now!

Comment by cj

OH my, this is great!!!! You are a brilliant barista CJ and I loved learning more about my favorite beverage.

I’ll tell you a little secret…there is a Starbucks in the new grocery store they opened in my little town and there is NEVER a line up. shhh. don’t tell anyone or they’ll all be flocking here. 🙂

Comment by kyahgirl

Aaaaah coffee
I have a friend, The Village Idiot, who has a renown love of coffee, so I wrote a coffee quiz just for him.
The coffee quiz

In case you notice the scores, yeah, it was a rigged quiz, but still…

Comment by logo™

Wow I see Cj is just spitting them posts out.
*Minka waves at CJ*
This was a lovely story and I actually knew aboutr the coffee thing being invented with teh shepherd and the bushes *beams with pride*
We don´t have Starbucks here and that will be a definite thing on my to-do list when I get over to the other side of thsi Atlantic.
So, as a Starbucks version, tell me what type of coffee would you suggest? I´d probbaly be soo imbarrased standing in line, not knowing what to order…
I love coffee, but I do need milk in it.
I am not fond of coconut taste, an allergic to cinnamon.
Anything else is fair game…

Your suggestion?

Comment by Penguin

CJ: actually, i completely respect your disdain for all things soy… i’m sure i’d feel the same way if i had grown up surrounded by it! still, i’m glad you’ll check into that low-fat thing (they should give their baristas gold points and/or extra money for coming up with good ideas!) xox

Kyahgirl: sister/girlfriend!! *waves* yay! you have a Starbucks up there?? okay… i’m impressed (and happy for you… ‘cuz it’s pretty darn good stuff, right?) as a perfumista, i’m guessing you love the smell of those fresh coffee beans, too, right? xox

Logo: i am dying laughing here… i just checked the scores of that quiz… VI got a zero? too too too funny! OUTSTANDING guest post on WA, by the way!! you totally rocked, girlfriend! xox

Penguin: why am i not surprised to learn you already knew about that goat/shepherd/coffee connection? (clever girl that you are!) i think there are a number of tasty treats to satisfy your refined tastebuds, sweet friend… now everyone will have to come up with a list of suggestions which you can hold on to for that day you finally *do* make it over here! (coffee, beautiful & yummy oranges… what more can we come up with to lure you to this side of the Atlantic??) xox

Comment by snuppy

No Snup, its bad soy that kills me. 🙂 Soy got me through college and grad school…. soy makes great latte’s, great breast implants, tofu, counter tops, MINI DONUT OIL, bio diesil! I just don’t like it when it rots or is cooked too much. 🙂 gotta be careful with soy… thats all. (As with milk etc.) You’ve never dealt with soy shit….. someday we’ll have a talk about that.

I’ll be back soon and finish up the questions for now.

Comment by cj

CJ: i stand corrected! and soy shit sounds… well… shitty. can’t wait to learn more. (i think) thanks again for doing such a great post today!! AND for you terrific answers… i’m sure we’ll be revisiting this topic again, and soon! xox

Comment by snuppy

snuppy, indeedy! Now I have to go to bed, ´cause i have an early shift tomorrow morning and blogging after midnight? I really should know better!

Comment by Penguin

snuppy, indeedy! Now I have to go to bed, ´cause i have an early shift tomorrow morning and blogging after midnight? I really should know better! I once did a post on teh shepherd/bush coffee connection…way way back when you folks were still non-blogging 🙂

Comment by Penguin

Oh Penguin, I would suggest many things. I’ll have to email ya about that. Depends on what your likes are!! Maybe next time I’ll talk about pairings and such. 🙂

Kyah- no lines. I am all there!!

Comment by cj

cj-sounds good. I’ll keep an eye out for you 🙂

Comment by kyahgirl

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