Coffeehouse observation No. 344 – Funny barista rant song!

[OK, this is funny. True, he might go a little overboard, but haven’t we all wanted to rant like this about something or other. Too bad Starbucks couldn’t take a freakin’ joke. – KM]

Starbucks barista disses picky patrons | CNN videos

Click for the YouTube video.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

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Starbucks releases 2010 Global Responsibility Report | Calelus Consulting blog

Starbucks releases annual report.

Starbucks releases annual report.

Starbucks releases 2010 Global Responsibility Report | Calelus Consulting blog

Coffeehouse observation No. 257 — Starbucks’ Trenta: Everything you need to know about the 31-ounce cup | AOLNews

Coffeehouse observation No. 257 — Starbucks’ Trenta: Everything you need to know about the 31-ounce cup | AOLNews

[Seriously, anything this big really should come with a lifeguard. – KM]

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Coffeehouse observation No. 252 – Greening coffee from field to coffeehouses

[I was scanning the job postings hosted by when I spotted several blog postings about greening coffee production and coffeehouses. Here are links to those posts. – KM]

Green Suggestions for coffee shops |

How to go green: Coffee and tea |

Birch Coffee: A sustainable community hangout |

Growing oyster mushrooms in coffee grounds |

Starbucks shareholders reject recycling initiative |

Interview: Tony Gale, corporate architect at Starbucks |

Green mood lighting for Starbucks! Switching 8,000 Stores to LEDs |

Starbucks’ farmers discuss the impact of fair trade |

How Starbucks saves millions per year in energy from LED lighting | blog

How Starbucks saves millions per year in energy from LED lighting | blog

Starbucks recently finished replacing nearly all of its incandescent and halogen lighting with LEDs during a two-year roll-out to over 7,000 company-owned stores, most in the United States and Canada, but with some in Europe and Asia. This is the largest deployment yet of LED technology in an application that is very sensitive to the quality of light; Starbucks’ success proves that the new digital lighting is ready for mass install.

Jim Hanna, Director of Environmental Impact for Starbucks confirmed that the LED lighting program is on target to slash consumption by more than 80 percent compared to existing lighting. My back-of-the envelope calculations [see notes below] found that

• Each LED light bulb saves approximately $30 annually in energy costs and eliminates the equivalent CO2 as half a barrel of oil;

• Each 1,000 square foot store on average would save nearly $600 annually and eliminate the equivalent CO2 as 10 barrels of oil

To capture these impressive benefits, for both the bottom-line and the environment, it took more than replacing a light bulb. When Starbucks was examining which energy efficiency projects to deploy in its stores, lighting was an obvious choice, since retailers consume a large amount of energy on lighting to provide ambiance and to showcase products.

Click to read more of this blog entry on

Published in: on December 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Crossing fingers after phone interview marred by no bars, technical problem

I had a fairly good telephone job interview this morning, despite equipment problems on both ends.

And despite me stumbling over some of the questions.

Some of the problems started this morning when I tumbled out of bed and checked my cellular phone to make sure that it had charged overnight. I was immediately troubled to see no bars, not one.

“OK, don’t panic,” I said to myself, of course, leaving out here the expletives. “I’ll just whip up some congee, grab a shower, and check the bars again. Perhaps a T-Mobile tower is down or something and it will take a bit of time to get it up again. If all else fails, I’ll make a run to Starbucks, troll for a cell signal, and pirate some Wifi. And just sit in my CRV for the interview.”

Yes, I do sometimes have extended conversations with myself.

Congee, check.

Shower and shave, check.

Car keys, check.

Laptop and cell phone, check and check.

Cell phone bars, not so check. Still no bars.

So, off I went for the Starbucks. As I drove closer, I checked the bars and the signal seem to be coming in strong. Great!

I circled the Starbucks in the Miracle Mile in Stockton and head back to my apartment to go over notes before I planned to return to the Starbucks in time for my interview call.

Funny thing, though, as I drove back to the apartment – I started getting more bars. Eureka! A strong signal. Perhaps, just, perhaps, T-Mobile fixed the glitch and I’ll be able to receive the interview in a non-stressful environment sitting at my writing desk in the living room of my apartment.

There I sat for more than an hour going over “20 Most Asked Questions In A Job Interview” – of which, the interviewers would later ask only one of the “20 Most Asked Questions In A Job Interview” – and tried to relax just a bit before my 9:45 a.m. call.

Everything was going well enough when I took another look at my cell phone at 9:30 a.m. and – PANIC! No bars, again! Ugh!

I scooped up my laptop, a notepad, a couple of pens, and my cell phone and headed downstairs to the garage. There I jumped into my CRV, cranked up the engine, and headed – at only slightly excessive speed – to the nearest Starbucks where earlier I had found a strong signal and where I could pirate WiFi. (I say “pirate,” but Starbucks provides free WiFi. Using “pirate” is an attempt at making me more edgy. Did it work?)

I parked in the same spot I had earlier, but the cell signal was at only two bars. I didn’t want an every-other-word experience during the interview. I drove around the block trolling for a stronger signal and found one – very nearly in the same spot I had been before going around the block. Time: 9:44 a.m.

OK, quick drink of water. Pull out the computer for the notes on the “20 Most Asked Questions In A Job Interview.” Pull out the pad of paper to write down the names of the people on the search committee conducting the interview. Go online for a quick check of email.

It was then that the phone rang. I let it ring again, popped open the cell phone, paused – “Hello. … Hello. … Hello!”

Nothing. Great! Well what else can go wrong?

I tried dialing back a couple of times, but all I got was the ear-piercing tone of a fax machine. Great!

OK, don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic … DON’T PANIC!

Oh, wait, the phone’s ringing again.

“Hello. … Hello. … Hello!”

Oh, crap, not again.

One more attempt to call them. More piercing sounds. OK, OK, OK, I’ll shoot an email to the person who arranged the interview. Under the circumstances, maybe – just maybe – we can reschedule the telephone interview.

The email was very nearly set to send when the phone rang one more time. By this time it was five or 10 minutes after the scheduled appointment

OK, don’t panic. Let it ring again.


“Hello, Keith. Sorry for that bit of technical problem …,” said the woman on the other end.

Sheesh, that was close. I’ve been out of work for 20 months now and I cannot afford to miss an interview for any reason.

The half-hour interview went well enough, I think, especially since it took place over the phone as I sat in my CRV with a laptop balanced on my knees.

I stumbled on a few questions. It’s a marketing job and my experience is in straight-up journalism, but several of the interviewers have newspaper experience, so they may have cut me some slack. They gave me verbal feedback and laughed where they should have, so it wasn’t all bad at all.

The job would be with a leader in its field and I think skills I honed as a columnist, opinion page editor, editorialist, and essayist could come in handy. The problem would be in having time to write about all the positive aspects. That’s a bit of a change considering all my work experience is in newspaper where much of the news is not good.

Well, I’m crossing my fingers. It appears it will be about 30 days before I find out if I was selected, so I’ll be patient and continue my search in the meantime.

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How Starbucks took the lead on LEED |

[You know me, I’m all about small, dark, personalized coffeehouses, not the chains. And perhaps the most pervasive among the chains, is Starbucks. But lately it has been doing some green things to make me at least ponder spending a few dollars at a Starbucks here and there. Here is a link to a story about Starbuck’s effort to be LEED certified. – KM]

How Starbucks Took the Lead on LEED |

Starbucks tests how coffee cups fare in NYC’s recycling stream |

[I like small coffeehouses over the chain places, but this story about Starbucks on is worth spreading around. Below are the first couple of paragraphs and a link to the rest of the story. – KM]

OAKLAND, CA — Starbucks is using New York City as a testing ground for recycling its ubiquitous coffee cups. If successful, it could mean the 3 billion cups it uses each year could go to recycling bins instead of landfills.

During a nine-week test, which started in mid-September and runs through November, 86 Starbucks locations in New York City will provide in-store recycling bins for cups and send them off to be recycled.

“We are testing the capability of the infrastructure to handle and accept our cups in the system,” said Jim Hanna, Starbucks’ director of environmental impact. Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) has a self-imposed goal to only provide reusable or recyclable cups by 2015.

Click to read the rest of the story by Jonathan Bardelline on



Coffeehouse observation No. 208 – National Coffee Day! National Coffee Day!

I’m having computer and browers problems today or I most definitely would have mentioned that today is National Coffee Day! Viva, National Coffee day!

Here are a couple of links to National Coffee Day info. I’m guessing American laborers will never get a day off for National Coffee Day, but perhaps one day it will gain the status of, say, Groundhog Day.

National Coffee Day | Punchbowl

National Coffee Day: Facts you didn’t know about your cup of joe | ThirdAge

For National Coffee Day, Dunkin’ Donuts brews up its biggest coffee prize ever for the ‘Ultimate Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Fan Contest’ | PRNewswire

National Coffee Day | Facebook

10 coffee facts for National Coffee Day | IndyPosted

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Looking back at ‘Emerald Kingdom invades’

I was a newspaper columnist in Vacaville, Calif., years ago and wrote about an invading force from the north. Of course, it was a weakly veiled reference to Starbucks. This is part of that column that appeared March 24, 2004, in The Reporter, the newspaper in Vacaville, which holds the copyright.

Emerald Kingdom invades

Ye fair citizens of Vacaville, am I the only one who has noticed that we are under attack!

The invasion began a few years hence. Knights from the Emerald Kingdom to the north came wearing bright green tunics with a medallion at the center depicting the kingdom’s queen. They spoke a strange, new language of venti and laite and Frappucciono. Even today the language baffles the mind and twists the tongue.

These knights – warriors of all shapes and sizes, but mostly youthful – wield no swords or pikes. No, they brought with them a more sinister weapon – caffeinated drinks – and devices with which to amalgamate caffeinated drinks. And pastries, yes, they brought pastries, too.

Later they brought their wares to markets and there anyone could barter for a bag o’ beans and partake of the caffeinated drinks in the comfort of their own castle.

And with these tools the warriors from the Emerald Kingdom continued their worldwide conquest. Today, in Vacaville alone, the Emerald Kingdom has at least seven strongholds: one on Nut Tree Parkway near Helen Power Drive; another on Davis Street a few blocks south of Mason Street; one each in two grocery stores of the same chain, with another to open in a rival grocery store; another in a neighboring discount department store; and a drive-through version on Alamo Drive at Butcher Road, where a person can fill up their car with gas, get it washed, grab a grande double-shot mocha, and pick up some cornnuts, all in one stop.

I admit that I have somewhat succumb to the caffeinated drinks – some concoctions of which certainly must be the work of witchery – and the somewhat contrived atmosphere of the Emerald Kingdom strongholds. It does a soul good to sit in the out-of-doors sipping a caffeinated drink.

But I do wonder when the quest for world domination will end. Or if it will end on this planet. Imagine a kiosk of the Emerald Kingdom awaiting astronauts to arrive on Mars.

I think I need a caffeinated drink. And now.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 117

The proprietor of empresso a little bit ago quietly asked two young women to leave. They each came into the coffeehouse with Starbucks drinks. Why on this green Earth would you go into a coffeehouse and settle down at a table to drink a beverage from a competing coffeehouse? When invited to a friend’s for dinner, do you bring your own food? When you go to a doctor’s office, do you bring your own physician? How very rude. … And the thing is, I don’t think that the young women understood the breach in common sense.

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Coffee giant Starbucks tackles green goals except one: Recycling |

SEATTLE, WA — From buying green power to reducing the amount of water it uses, Starbucks is on track to meet the majority of its long-term environmental goals, the coffee giant said Monday.

Starbucks made gains in green building, water and energy use, ethical sourcing and helping farmers reduce deforestation, the company said in its 2009 Global Responsibility Report. It lagged, however, in one high-profile area: recycling.

The company rated its progress on three recycling goals as “Needs improvement.” The goals involve developing a comprehensive recyclable cup by 2012, implementing front-of-store recycling in company-owned stores, and serving a quarter of beverage made in-store in reusable vessels, both by 2015.

“One of the significant challenges we’re facing is a wide variance in municipal recycling capabilities,” Starbucks said in the report. “This inconsistency makes it difficult for a company like ours, with more than 16,000 retail locations around the globe, to efficiently and effectively implement a recycling strategy.”

Click on the link for the rest of the story on

Coffeehouse observation No. 20

The guy or woman who came up with the idea to put coffee counters in bookstores is a genius. Books and coffee are a natural. Simply geeennnnnniiiiuuuuuusssssss!!

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 11:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Coffeehouse observation No. 19

How can a coffeehouse run out of coffee?! It’s happen to me more than once, most usually at a Starbuck’s. Go figure!

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 11:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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