Your Personal Barista


Need a caffeine fix? Take it up with your personal barista.

Starbucks is jumping into the virtual assistant game and releasing its own version of apple's Siri or amazon's Alexa. The coffee shop chain is rolling out a new voice assistant called barista to a very small number of beta testers. Barista lives inside the Starbucks app and acts like a virtual order taker. All you have to do is fire up the app, clearly place your order and then head over to pick it up. This way instead of hunting through menus and making sure your specific choices are recognized you can just spell out what you want.  read more »

Starbucks Lawsuit


It looks like a latte flavored lawsuit against Starbucks is continuing to brew.

A federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that two customers can move forward with their plans to sue the coffee giant for under filling their drinks. The lawsuit by two people from California say that the pitchers employees use for heating milk have “fill to” lines that are too low. In addition to that the plaintiffs argue that Starbucks requires employees to leave about a quarter of an inch of free space in every drink which means customers aren't getting as much coffee as they are paying for.  read more »

Small Business Success


When it comes to big business, sometimes it's the little things that count.

John Rogers is the vice president of San Francisco Bay Coffee. A family business that started in 1978 where AT&T Park now stands. He says when the company first started they weren't facing much competition. Now there's a Starbucks or Pete’s on every corner not to mention all the mom and pop shops trying their hand at roasting a cup. Despite this, Rogers say they stick to their original business plan, keep it simple.

“Compete with efficiency and we aren’t public, don't have to report to shareholders, no big return on investment, take less margins, make some money but we don't have leer jets and Mercedes.”  read more »

Caffeinated Perks


Starting next year your morning pick me up will brew a little faster.

Starbucks has announced the planned launch of a new mobile app that will let customers pre-order their drinks and pick them up on arrival. The company says coffee lovers have been asking for a pickup service for years but it was only recently that Starbucks felt it could handle it. It says if a service isn't timed properly the coffee could sit out too long, get cold and turn people off.

Customers in Portland will be the first ones able to access the new service, then it will spread to the rest of the country. In addition to its mobile payment app Starbucks says pre-ordering drinks will help cut down on early morning wait times and long lines.  read more »

Pumpkin Spice


It's the season of the pumpkin; and these days they're not just for carving.

About ten years ago Starbucks introduced the pumpkin spice latte to coffee lovers. That has led to pumpkin spice flavored items that range from cookies to trail mix to M&M's. And people are hooked.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture pumpkin sales have risen 34% in the past five years. Sales of pumpkin foods increased 14% from 2012 to 2013. Now thanks to the inability of customers to wait for fall pumpkin season has grown by a few months starting as early as mid-July.  read more »

The Cost of Coffee


Your next caffeine fix is going to cost a little extra.

Earlier this week Starbucks added an extra pump to the price of some of its drinks. The increase will be between 5 and 20 cents. For example a 20 ounce vent sized cup of brewed coffee will now set you back $2.35. An increase of either 10 or 20 cents depending on the city you buy it in.

The company says some of its most popular drinks such as Grande sized lattes, tall brewed coffees and Frappuccino’s won’t be affected. In addition to that the cost of Starbucks packaged coffee in grocery stores will go up one dollar beginning July 21st.  read more »

Starbucks Perks


Starbucks is brewing up some new perks for employees.

Earlier this week the world’s largest coffee shop announced a program to help its baristas earn an online college degree. The company is partnering with Arizona State University to make the program available to 135,000 U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week.  read more »

Gifts From Twitter


Twitter is hooking up with Starbucks and making it even easier for you to be social.

The Seattle based coffee company recently launched a program called “tweet-a-coffee.” Here's how it works; first you link your Starbucks and Twitter accounts and set up a payment plan. Then anytime you're feeling generous you tweet “@ tweet-a-coffee” along with the recipient’s Twitter handle. That person will then be notified that they have a $5 Starbucks gift card which is redeemed with a smart phone.  read more »

Cheap Eating


Traveling for business means expenses are covered; but not everyone is taking advantage of the free perks.

According to the New York Times most company expense reports show that business travelers are forgoing fine dining for convenience. Instead of steak and wine they are going for burgers and fries.

The company SpendSmart analyzes spending in all areas of business travel. It found that the number one most expensed restaurant was Starbucks. That was followed by McDonald’s and Subway. Other restaurants that top the list include Panera bread, Chipotle and Dunkin Doughnuts.  read more »

Beetle in Your Coffee


Bet you didn’t know there were beetles in your coffee.

Bowing to pressure from its vegetarian customers; Starbucks has just announced that it is phasing out a key ingredient. The coffee powerhouse will now stop using a natural, government approved coloring made from crushed beetles. This coloring is used to make strawberry flavoring and is a staple in menu items such as frappuccinos, smoothies and some deserts.  read more »