Respect That Bean, Son!

I am now well versed in "Starbucks culture and service". It was corporate training like in the movies; there were moments where I wanted to giggle at the absurdity of it all. They're really big on customer service at Starbucks; they call it "Legendary Service". I'm already good at that; two years in Mary Kay will do that to you.

One of the first things we did was discuss "Tasting the coffee" and "building our pallettes". I've been drinking coffee like the addict I am since I was 16, but apparently I wasn't REALLY tasting it. The conductor of the course poured us little shots of coffee and set them down in front of the new Starbucks "partners". First we smelled it, cupping our hands over the coffee to "bring in the full body of aroma". He then turned to me and asked "What do you smell?"


"What else?"

I smelled it again. "Errr... Starbucks coffee?"

"Do you smell the fruity layers of the coffee? The nuttiness?"

I tried again.

"Oh... yeah, sure. I smell the nuts."

Next we had to slurp it.

"Where did it hit your tongue?" he asked corporately.


"In the middle, on the sides, in the back? Where did you get the burst of flavor?"

I slurped again. I tried very hard to pinpoint exactly where I tasted it on my tongue. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought "I'm not getting paid nearly enough to think this hard".

The guy next to me jumped in. "Sort of on the sides."

"Exactly!" crowed our teacher.

"Suckup!" I thought.

There were videos, role-playing to perfect our "Legendary Customer Service" skills, demonstrations on how to build our "Star Skills" (I almost lost it when he whipped out the chart with a gigantic star on it) and more diagrams than I've ever seen before. The guy even asked the question "If you were to have a cup of Starbucks coffee with any famous person, who would it be?" I read somewhere that there are two safe answers for this question: Jesus and Einstein. I deliberated which one of these I should put, and wouldn't you know it? The guy across from me said Einstein (and Bob Marley). In all seriousness, though, Starbucks seems like a fantastic company to work for, and I think I made a good move. Go me.

One of the booklets that they handed me said, "We respect the farmer, the bean, and you."

"That," I thought to myself, "is very good to know!"