Starbucks Challenge Follow Up

Here’s a really comprehensive follow up on the Starbucks Challenge created by Robert Blum that maps all the tags for people requesting fair trade coffee at a Starbucks.

As a little background, GreenLA Girl started this back in October (Fair Trade Month) when Starbucks was promoting its fair trade coffee. However, not everyone is able to get fair trade poured for them at Starbucks and the corp didn’t seem to understand that. So folks have been documenting their experiences at requesting fair trade coffee at their local Starbucks.

Personally I tried it twice. Once at the Starbucks on Sunset & Gower where they happily had it brewing and the other time at the Glendale Blvd. & Fletcher location where they French pressed it and didn’t even charge me! So my success rate has been 100%.

(Earlier post by Sean)

7 thoughts on “Starbucks Challenge Follow Up”

  1. Dude — You make it sound so easy! If I remember correctly, you had to twist an arm or two to get your cup of fair trade coffee at the Glendale & Fletcher store — No? Though eventually, they did give it to you free —

    BTW — I tried the Sunset & Gower store during a week when they didn’t have the stuff readily brewed. The barista checked with his manager, then came back to tell me they didn’t have any fair trade in store. In the meantime I’d taken a picture of one of the many bags of coffee with the fair trade label in store —

  2. I believe you can *only* get it with arm twisting. The only time I ever got some FT coffee was when I was meeting Green LA Girl – she’s good at the whole pressure thing ;)

    Me, I’m just to meek to press on.

  3. Hah, you’re right Green LA Girl. I think I lucked out at Gower Gulch that time because it was still October and it did happen to be the mild brew of the day.

    I have a rather selective memory when it comes to negative events … so in my mind after a couple of days (and usually blogging about an “experience”) I only remember the good part … which was that ended up being an AWESOME cup of coffee and now I’m pretty fond of French press.

  4. I’m the unofficial Fair Trade Coordinator at my Starbucks. I make sure that all the employees are up to date on our policies and the Fair Trade Coffees that Starbucks offers.

    Another thing to note is that many of Starbucks blends contain more than half fair-trade coffee but can’t officially be labelled because they are not 100% fair trade.

  5. Starbucks needs more guys like you — How did you become the fair trade coordinator? Did you volunteer? Or were you assigned? Thanks for working to educate the other employees. Seriously. They need all the help they can get.

    But how many are “many of Starbucks blends”? The problem with these types of statements is that — even though they may be true, there’s no way for anyone to verify them — including the majority of the people who work at Starbucks. I could email Cindy (in the CSR dept of Starbucks) and ask how many blends contain 50% or more fair trade certified coffee, and which blends those are, so people who care about fair trade might buy them — But I can almost guarantee I won’t get an answer on that.

  6. Yeah… that’s one of the issues. Though Starbucks does pay at or near fair trade prices for their coffees. Fair Trade certification is difficult for a lot of farms due to its strict guidelines and oftentimes the farm would have to stop production for a year to come into compliance.

    Ask the Starbucks rep about the CARE guidelines and such. Starbucks’ social corporate responsibility is pretty strong. Thanks for keeping us all honest though. It’s tough to stay small when a corporation has grown to the size Starbucks has.

  7. Wow — You’ve really bought the Starbucks spin wholesale. Yes, Starbucks pays $1.20 an lb for their coffee, but for a lot of it, this is the price that goes to middlemen who rip off farmers. Fair trade certification guarantees that $1.26 an lb goes to farmer co-ops.

    BTW, I think you’re talking about CAFE guidelines, not CARE. Only about 15% of Starbucks coffee currently meets those guidelines, although employees and customers are led to believe ALL their coffee does.

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