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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:25 PM
Original message
The Starbucks Challenge: South Weymouth, MA store # 07374 fails the test
Today, I stopped by the South Weymouth, Mass. store and asked for a cup of Fair Trade Coffee.

Starbucks pledges that any store will make a cup for you upon request.

The woman behind the counter (I think she was the manager) told me that they only brew three kinds of coffee per day, and that today's blends weren't Fair Exchange. She offered to sell me a bag of the coffee grounds to take home, but contrary to Starbucks' pledge, she told me she could not make it for me in the store.

---

For more info:


Tuesday, October 04, 2005
The Starbucks Challenge

Regardless of politics, most of us agree on one thing: If a company makes a promise, it should stick to it.

According to its own policy (PDF),
http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/StarbucksAndFairTrade....
Starbucks will make fair trade coffee for you, any day of the week, in the 23 countries it is licensed to including: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K. and the U.S.

But just how easy is it to get a fair trade coffee in a Starbucks in one of those countries?

We aim to find out.

Join the challenge:

1) Simply visit your local Starbucks and ask: "Could I get a cup of fair trade coffee?"

2) Tell us what happened next. Was it hard or easy to get a cup? You can see our first posts here.
http://del.icio.us/tag/starbuckschallenge

More:
http://greenlagirl.blogspot.com/2005/10/starbucks-chall...

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stop the bleeding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. Interesting and good for you!, but bad for Starbucks
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NoAmericanTaliban Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. Excuse my ignorance, but what is Fair Trade coffee?
& what is behind this challenge?
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Fair Trade Coffee
Fair Trade Coffee

The United States consumes one-fifth of all the world's coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world. But few Americans realize that agriculture workers in the coffee industry often toil in what can be described as "sweatshops in the fields." Many small coffee farmers receive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt.

Fair Trade is a viable solution to this crisis, assuring consumers that the coffee we drink was purchased under fair conditions. To become Fair Trade certified, an importer must meet stringent international criteria; paying a minimum price per pound of $1.26, providing much needed credit to farmers, and providing technical assistance such as help transitioning to organic farming. Fair Trade for coffee farmers means community development, health, education, and environmental stewardship.

# Coffee industry in Crisis

Coffee prices have plummeted and are currently around $.60-$.70 per pound. "With world market prices as low as they are right now, we see that a lot of farmers cannot maintain their families and their land anymore. We need Fair Trade now more than ever," says Jernimo Bollen, Director of Manos Campesinas, a Fair Trade coffee cooperative in Guatemala. Meanwhile coffee companies have not lowered consumer prices but are pocketing the difference. "The drastic fall in coffee prices means, in two words, poverty and hunger for thousands of small producers in Latin America," says Merling Preza Ramos, Director of PRODECOOP Fair Trade cooperative in Nicaragua. Learn more about the coffee crisis by reading Global Exchange's statement.

We believe in a total transformation of the coffee industry, so that all coffee sold in this country should be Fair Trade Certified, or if produced on a plantation, that workers' rights should be guaranteed and independently monitored. Our view includes social justice and environmental sustainability: all coffee should be certified organic and shade grown where applicable.

More:
http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/coffe... /
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Jara sang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. I tried picking coffee once.
It is extremely hard work. I was only able to pick 30 lbs in four hours. I was paid .50 per lb picked so for half a days work I only made 16 some odd dollars. Mind you I was very slow. This was in the U.S. too, so I can't imagine what the wages are in the third world.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #13
22. read the book: I, Rigoberta Menchu
It is about a woman working on a coffee plantation in Guatemala in the 80s. Slave conditions (some insane crap like .09 a day or a week, not that it matters at that point) supported by a US-backed right wing military dictatorship that publically tortured and murdered workers to stifle labor organizers.

I'm sure it hasn't changed much. Enjoy your mornin' cuppa joe!

(make sure it's fair trade)
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Jara sang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. I don't drink coffee
I like tea, I'm sure the tea pickers conditions are just as appalling...
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. No Starbucks in my town,
And even if there was, I wouldn't go there. I've tried them in other cities, and quite frankly they make burned tasting crappy coffee. It is nice to see that they're trying to do some good with Fair Trade coffee, but quite frankly that doesn't make up for poor taste and high prices. I think that I'll just stay with my local coffee shop, Osama's Coffee Zone.
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jjmalonejr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. I used to live in Weymouth...
...10 or 15 years ago and drove south on Route 18 to work every day.

Back then, there wasn't a single Starbucks to be found.

There were, however, an INSANE number of Dunkin' Donuts on my 20-30 minute trip. At any time during my commute, if I decided I wanted a cup of joe, it was no more than a few minutes away.

Why not go to Dunkin' Donuts instead? Or are they displaced now, by Starbucks?
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Dunkin Donuts is a Republican supporter. Starbucks and Honeydew aren't
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jjmalonejr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I'd never heard that.
Do you have a link?
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Check BuyBlue.org
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 01:03 PM by IanDB1
Allied Domecq PLC

$12,720 to Democrats
$36,320 to Republicans
$0 to Others
$49,040 in Total Contributions

The combination of donuts, ice cream, and Kahlua may be a little sweet for most tastes, but Allied Domecq banks on it. The company is the world's #2 distiller, after Diageo. Its spirits and wines unit produces a number of brands at or near the top of their respective categories, including Ballantine's scotch, Beefeater gin, Kahlua liqueur, Sauza tequila, Canadian Club whiskey, and Courvoisier cognac. The firm has distilleries in Europe and North America. Allied Domecq's retail operations include the Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts, and Togo's Eateries franchises. Allied was acquired by Pernod R

More:
http://www.buyblue.org/node/3120/view/summary



Starbucks

$23,800 to Democrats
$0 to Republicans
$0 to Others
$23,800 in Total Contributions


Wake up and smell the coffee -- Starbucks is everywhere. The world's #1 specialty coffee retailer, Starbucks operates and licenses more than 8,500 coffee shops in more than 30 countries. The shops offer coffee drinks and food items, as well as beans, coffee accessories, teas, and CDs. Starbucks operates more than 5,200 of its shops in five countries (mostly in the US), while licensees operate more than 2,800 units (primarily in shopping centers and airports). The company also owns and franchises the Seattle's Best Coffee and Torrefazione Italia chains in the US (more than 100 shops). In addition, Starbucks markets its coffee through grocery stores and licenses its brand for other food and beverage products.

More:
http://www.buyblue.org/node/1898/view/summary



And Honeydew Donuts isn't on the BuyBlue list, but I researched it on my own. I suggested it to BuyBlue for their research que.





See also:


Starbucks Wins Gold for Farmer-Friendly C.A.F.E. Initiative
Submitted by Merlin on September 3, 2005 - 1:08pm. Environment | positive

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2005 - The World Environment Center has selected Starbucks Coffee Company to receive its 21st Annual Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development. The award recognizes Starbucks for international leadership in sustainable development within the specialty coffee industry.

In particular, WEC commends the company's development of Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, a set of environmentally, socially and economically responsible coffee buying guidelines created in conjunction with Conservation International that are designed to contribute positively to the livelihoods of coffee farmers while placing an emphasis on environmental conservation and supply chain transparency.

Coffee affects the lives of over 25 million farmers in more than 70 countries around the world, many of which are developing regions. Traditional coffee production methods can often adversely affect the surrounding environment through the use of harmful chemicals and unnecessary deforestation. Although Starbucks Coffee Company purchases only 2% of the world's coffee, Starbucks has used its position in the global marketplace to demonstrate how innovation in combining corporate social responsibility and business strategy can lead to long-term economic and environmental sustainability.
Source: http://www.greenbiz.com/news/news_third.cfm?NewsID=2762...
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jjmalonejr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Thanks
Good researching.
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sbj405 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #6
19. All DD espresso drinks are made with FT coffee
according to CO-OP America. The tough act of balancing competing liberal views.
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foflappy Donating Member (148 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thanks for posting!!!
I wish more people would do this.
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Debi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
8. The coffee shop we frequent in Cedar Falls, Iowa - Cup of Joe
only carries Fair Trade Coffee.

We ignore Starbucks and get our brew from a store that not only sells Fair Trade Coffe, but the local organic dairy and local bakers for their treats.

If you are ever in Cedar Falls, go to Cup of Joe. You will not be dissapointed.
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tammywammy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
11. It sounds like one employee
who may have mis-interpreted what you wanted.

The employee was right, Starbucks does only brew the 3 coffee per day. Unless you specifically said "coffee press" the employee may have not understood you, and thought you wanted them to brew a whole batch of coffee.

As a former employee, it was unusual for someone to request a press (which, I don't remember may cost more than just a single cup).

BTW Starbucks pays well for all its coffee, not just the fair-trade.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Ahh, if I'd used the magic "coffee press" word they'd do it?
I'll try again tomorrow and check back.

For what it is, I did at least ask for "a cup" and not "a pot" or "a batch."

Thanks for the heads-up.

No fair if anyone warns the store in advance!

Coffee Press.

Got it.

Thanks!


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tammywammy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Yes, "coffee press" are the magical words
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 08:15 PM by tammywammy
It'll take a little longer to get your drink (the employee will have to measure out the beans, grind them, 4 min in press, and finally ready to drink).

And FYI, it may cost a slight bit more than a regular cup (I know it did a few years ago when I worked there), but it's not and outrageous difference.

Edited to add: A press is the best way to drink coffee, so it's worth the wait. And you can always get a press in any coffee, it doesn't have to be just Fair Trade (I recommend the Mexican Shade Grown at Starbucks).
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
14. Did anyone else read that Starbucks was going to start having
Bible verses printed on their cups? Makes me wonder if they're really 'blue'.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Not quite accurate....
They're putting a wide range of quotes on their cups, and one is from Warren, the author of The Purpose-Driven Life. They're also using a quote from Armisted Maupin, which says "life's too damn short to hide from being gay."

Seems like a pretty all-inclusive campaign to me.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20051019/ts_usatoday/s... ;_ylt=Akfqv.rRlwteG2e2mbUORa6s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3ODdxdHBhBHNlYwM5NjQ-
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. I didn't know Gawd was a Republican. n/t
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progressivebydesign Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #14
30. You need to know the whole story before you intimate that.
They have a series of cups with quotes from all types of "thinkers". One person who submitted was that man with the "purpose driven life" book that is all the rage with the lost SUV types. Anyhoo.. a few of his quotes are being included.. which is fair enough, as they have quotes from all types of people in the series.

They're still blue.
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sbj405 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
18. I recently learned of this in CO-OP America pub
You may want to let them know as well. It says that Caribou will also brew Fair trade upon request.
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dddem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
21. Since you're from Massachusetts, this may interest you,
If you make coffee at home, you'll be interested to know that I've recently found (at Market Basket, no less) Cafe Solar brand solar-dried coffee. This coffee has several things going for it. For one thing, it's fair trade; and it's certified organic and it's pretty good tasting. Not quite the kick of Starbucks, but it's got some flavor (I choose French Roast). And another plus, the technology for solar-drying the coffee was developed in Lowell, MA (the next town over from me), so I'm supporting local business while I'm enjoying my morning cup. I don't know if it's national, but if you can find it, it's worth a try. Their website is www.cafesolar.com.
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Synnical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
23. Thanks for this - will share with my office
I refuse to buy anything from Starbucks because of their Marketing Strategy (flooding new locations with franchises and shutting down locally owned coffee shops).

Many of the people in my office adore Starbucks and keep telling me they're one of the best corporations in the US because they're rated as such by some mag or other. Don't remember which, 'cause I never go there.

Will let them know of the challenge. (BTW - I work with many Repukes who call themselves "Liberal Republicans" - I keep trying to explain to them that is no such thing. Moderate Repukes, maybe, but not Liberal.)

Again, thanks.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. Success! Fair Trade Cafe Esteema served!
Same Starbucks as the other day.

There was a different lady working than the day before, though.

Here's today's narrative:

1) Asked for Fair Trade coffee. It wasn't available.
2) Before I could ask specifically for a coffee press cup, the nice lady did me one better.
3) They're demonstrating a new coffee machine they're selling, so she brewed a whole pot of the stuff for me with the new machine that they're using for free samples.

Kudos, Starbucks!



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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. I call them Dennis Miller Republicans
They affiliate with the party for persoal economic reasons (or, as they put it, "beause I'm a fiscal conservative") and are differentiated from the rest of the right-wing hordes by not hating gay people.

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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #23
27. I don't think that accurately describes their marketing strategy - or
at least not the outcome.

I live here in Seattle, the Starbucks mother ship. There is practically a starbucks on every block. And they haven't shut down independents. To the contrary, there are nearly as many locally owned coffee shops as there are Starbucks.

And what I've seen in other cities is Starbucks creating a specialty coffee market that supports the creation of more locally owned coffee shops.

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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. A different perspective from Boston
I agree that Starbucks has helped develop the specialty coffee niche in areas where it hadn't been before, but the track record in other areas was to come in and conquer the local vendor. In the Boston market where specialty coffee niche had already been developed, Starbucks came in like a 500 lb. gorilla and stomped on it.

Starbucks may not have killed all the mom and pop independents but they have swallowed regional chains like the Coffee Connection. The Coffee Connection was a small but growing chain in the Boston area (mostly Boston/Cambridge/Newton) and they only made coffee in French presses, had strict limits on how long the beans could be used after roasting (a week or less as I recall) and had a genius roasting the beans because there were huge differences in flavor based on the type of bean.
The Coffee Connection brand value was so high that after Starbucks purchased the chain it retained the name for a transitional period.

Many people love the Starbucks roast but I don't so I'm one of those people who seek out the indys. There aren't that many in most cities and too often when they do exist I find they are using Starbucks-style roasts. It's rare to find a light roast anymore.

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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. That sounds accurate to me - but very few cities had that
sort of niche to begin with, though a few (like Boston) did.

Even in Seattle Starbucks eventually bought those types of regional chains. But the stores are still there, the market is bigger than ever, and the jobs are still there - but more of them. In addition, there ar the small independent coffee shops that rise to take advantage of the market. And I like those even better than the regional chains.

I personally use Starbucks as a last resort. I don't think it's terrible but there are small roasters that do a better job, imo, and I prefer to support them.

But I like Starbucks as a corporation. It's a good employer that really gives back to the community and has a better track record on social issues than most.
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