Starbucks' Problem is the Espresso

I don't drink coffee, except at the infrequent opportunity to have really good espresso. That's normally after dinner somewhere, but it's surprising how few places, even high-end Italian restaurants, have anything even resembling good espresso. What gets called espresso in the US is watery, thin, burnt liquid. The real stuff, tiny in volume, creamy/oily, and so concentrated in bitterness that one's taste sense reverses and reports lovely bittersweet like melted dark chocolate, remains in Milano.

An idea to order ristretto instead of espresso worked well, once. The different name apparently caused someone to think about what the customer wanted instead of just pushing the button. But that request is most often met with "You want what?". In desperation after too many weeks, I visited a local Starbucks and asked for a double ristretto. The good news: the "barista" knew the word and was willing to tweak machine settings to try and get something close. The bad news: the Starbucks machines are now so standardized and barista-proof that the liquid that emerged tasted like stew of burned cardboard box. Sadly, a good number of Starbucks employees think that Starbucks invented espresso.

So, now Starbucks is struggling. No wonder to me, the economy must have dropped the general thirst for $5 randomize(half,soy,latte,vanilla,caf,vente,cream) "coffee" drinks. And Starbucks long ago moved away from real caffe. Of course it's about the experience and not really about the coffee, but is a realcoffee-based experience too much to expect?

Focus, be really good at something.

No comments:

Post a Comment