Thanks for stopping by. As the title of this site suggests, this blog exposed my past love and slight obsession with Starbucks over the course of a year and a bit. And although my passion for writing in this blog has faded, I still admire Starbucks and all it stands for. The coffee and store reviews are still relevant, so dive in and enjoy.
Always happy to chat ‘bucks, so please feel free to drop me a line on twitter @bar2cci
Last week Howard Schultz visited Toronto to speak to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of Starbucks partners from all over. It was part of Starbucks’ 40th Anniversary Tour.
Luckily, the event took place in my office building – what are the chances?! Obviously I couldn’t hear him speak because I am not a partner. But that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t hang around the foyer of the event and partake in some of the festivities.
There were a dozen or so partners hanging around the elevators that took partners up to the event on the 7th floor of my office building. They were checking partner cards and ushering eager partners into the elevator and up to the 7th floor.
I approached a smiling partner and explained that although I was not a partner, I am an avid Starbucks enthusiast who just wants to take in the energy of the event from the foyer. After a few polite exchanges he granted me entrance to the event foyer. (it was a nice exception to the partner-only rule).
I entered the elevator, alone. I pressed floor 7 and slowly ascended to the event. The elevator ride probably took only 30 seconds but it felt like an eternity.
Floor 2 – I waited
Floor 3 – I got anxious
Floor 4 – I was excited
Floor 5 and 6 – I could barely wait
Floor 7 – I made it!
The elevator doors finally opened and I rushed out. All I saw was a sea of green aprons and Starbucks signage. There were more helpful partners waiting to greet me as soon as I stepped off the elevator and into the venue.
I was speechless. What an elaborate and beautiful set-up. Everywhere I turned there were partners smiling, laughing and carrying on like this was the greatest day in their Starbucks careers. I wish I was a partner, but I was still grateful to be there.
Before I could even take 10 steps through the crowd, an old friend and ASM named Ryan yelled out to me and welcomed me to the event. What a pleasant surprise to see Ryan. We caught up and walked over to the coffee station.
We talked and laughed over a cup or two of Pike Place Roast. He introduced me to his manager and several other partners. I ran into a few other partners I knew and chatted for about 20 minutes.
It was a lot of fun. Even though I only spent about 30 minutes at the event, the energy was great and I am grateful for being able to experience it.
I talked to a few partners the next day and they said exactly what I expected…
Howard’s speech was amazing.
Tomorrow, April 13, Howard will make his way to Toronto to speak to a crowd of retail, district, regional managers and corporate partners. But, I bet there will also be shift supervisors and baristas there as well. It’s an invite-only event that is sure to be exciting.
It’s not often that Mr. Howard Schultz graces the Great White North with his presence. Let’s face it; he’s a really busy guy! But every so often, when he does get the opportunity to visit Canada, he is met with excitement by Canadian partners and enthusiasts alike.
Obviously, I did not receive an invitation – I don’t work for Starbucks and never expected an invitation. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not excited to have Howard in my city. He is an icon and one of the most influential people in business; who wouldn’t be excited about hearing him speak?
My friend, a store manager, received an invitation and is looking forward to the event. I asked my friend where the event is taking place. He didn’t have the address on-hand but he did say something about “The Carlu.”
Well, holy Toledo! The Carlu is a conference centre INSIDE my office building! It is located at the corner of Yonge and Carlton. I literally work only a few floors above!
I’m not saying I’ll have an opportunity to see Howard, but it will be great to see all the Starbucks branding and partners walking around my building. I hope to speak with a partner after Howard’s talk to hear what he had to say.
I can’t wait to experience the commotion of such an epic event. Heck, maybe I’ll even get a chance to snap a few photos.
Stay tuned, the next blog post will discuss my experience with the event. (at least from the outside!)
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Two weeks ago I asked Starbucks partners and enthusiasts everywhere: what is your favourite coffee and food pairing?
The response was overwhelming and everyone who contributed added a unique and delicious pairing to that forum discussion. But since we had to choose a winner, or our favourite pairing, we picked Tim McCoy’s Lemon drizzle cake and Ethiopian Sidamo.
And with the winner being crowned, it’s now time to talk about this delicious combo or should I say, our first Power Pairing.
Ethiopian Sidamo is not your run-of-the-mill coffee. Maybe that’s because it’s one of the oldest coffees around or maybe because it’s nearly impossible to track down because of recent Ethiopian exportation bans. But politics and history aside, let’s chalk-up its excellence to its unique flavour profile.
Thankfully, I still have a bag of this Africa/Arabia gem in my pantry and thus, can bring you my tasting notes for this post.
I like my coffee freshly French pressed and with help from my Bodium 8-cup Black Crema press I got to enjoy this coffee last night.
I pressed the coffee, waited for it to steep and then poured a cup (or two, or three). Then, I put my nose into the cup and sniffed the black gold. A bold, heavy and floral aroma wafted up my nose. I could smell flowers, a hint of dirt and then lemons. It was powerful and pleasant.
After that, I tried the coffee. I tilted the cup back and let the bold coffee dance on my tongue. Again, just like I predicted, I tasted flowers and lemons. It was heavy, dense and really packed a punch. I was hooked and downed the cup as fast as its temperature would allow.
Then, it was time to round-out this Power Pair.
The Cake and Coffee
I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but I do enjoy citrus treats. I knew that the citrusy flavour of the coffee would complement this cake admirably. I was not disappointed.
First, a quick sip of the second cup of Sidamo and then a big bite of the lemon drizzle cake proved that this was indeed a Power Pair.
The cake’s sweetness matched the richness of the coffee; the lemon’ness was overwhelming when tasted with the lemony coffee. And I mean overwhelming in the tastiest way possible.
On their own, the cake and coffee are both delicious. But when paired together, they reach new heights of deliciousness and will transport you to a state of bliss.
Okay, bliss is a strong word – but you get it, you’ll love this pairing.
There you have it, Power Pairing #1.
Stay tuned because next week we’ll put a new coffee and food on the tasting menu.
Have you ever tried Sidamo? Do you like this pairing?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
The Contest is over and we’ve made a selection and picked a contest winner.
First off, I just want to say THANKS to everyone who submitted a suggestion. My friend was overwhelmed with the response and appreciates the great customer and partner feedback.
I said we’d choose the pairing with the most votes, but since everyone gave a unique pairing, we had to choose one.
My friend and I have tried a few of your suggestions and they’re all really good. But since we need to choose just one pairing for his tasting, we have decided to use….
Tim McCoy’s pairing! – Lemon drizzle cake and Ethiopian Sidamo.
As Tim says: “Lemon drizzle cake and Ethiopian Sidamo coffee - the citrus zing of the coffee makes it a perfect pairing – yummy.”
Thanks for the great advice, Tim! Much appreciated.
Now… on to the winner of the $5 Starbucks Gift Card. (remember it was a random draw? – I literally put names in a hat and pulled one out.)
And the Gift Card winner is…………. Kaori! (@buckedbythestar)
I will send your card out to you as soon as I can.
Thanks again to everyone who helped out and took part in this contest/campaign.
Let’s keep the combo convos going.