Monthly Archives: November 2011

An homage to coffee knowledge

An homage to coffee knowledge, in all its forms, however expected or unexpected a place it finds us.

Today I was pleasantly surprised to find a kernel of knowledge I searched for in what seemed like the most unlikely of places, and yet so perfectly appropriate at the same time. This little discovery gave me pause to think for a moment and realize just how special it can be to create connections over coffee, and how it really is such a small, small world when it comes to coffee.

The shout to goes to @sbuxmel, and her coffee blog, which proved infinitely useful to me earlier today:

Ever the Starbucks fan, Mel and her fabulous blog came through in a pinch. As a resident coffee-obsessed partner, I came into an email this morning from a coworker asking for some fun facts and suggestions around a Christmas Blend tasting she was going to host.  One specific question, was what year did we first introduce it?

My gut instinct told me the 80s. ’88 was it?  I couldn’t quite remember.  I did a quick search of our internal network.  Nothing.  Grabbed the Starbucks, in-house coffee “bible” of sorts, the Coffee & Tea Resource Manual.  Nothing (though I do have an old version, that could have been part of the issue). offered little more than a highlight of the characteristics of this delicious blend. I even asked a member of our small but mighty Coffee Engagement team.  Nada.

I went about my day, but it was bugging me not to have found this information.  How can it be that a Starbucks partner can’t even find out when we originally released the ever-beloved Christmas Blend?

I finally succumbed to a casual Google search, unsure of what results I would find. Much to my surprise, a few items from the top, there was my answer, tucked away in the blog of the fabulous @sbuxmel, whom I’d discovered on twitter several months ago and began following at the beginning of my coffee blogging adventures.

All the way back from 2009, Mel’s blog held the information I was seeking! Christmas Blend first pleased us with its presence all the way back in November of 1984! What a wonderful tradition…

It was just a small moment, but it made me realize just how tied up we sometimes get in where knowledge should come from.  It doesn’t have to be found via traditional means, it doesn’t always get found in the places we expect, or believe, it should be.  Sometimes, little bits of knowledge find us in surprising, yet not-so-surprising places.

So cheers to you, Mel, and thanks for the fabulous archive you keep of treasured Starbucks knowledge! This partner truly appreciates it 🙂

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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Education, History, Knowledge, Reflection


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That one word…

One word can often be a powerful thing. When I say passion…what is tied up for you in that?  A feeling?  An emotion?  A gut response?  A recollection?  A yearning?

In the last four or five days, I’ve found a word that gets every Starbucks partner I know fired up, that sparks an incredible flow of passion.  Harrar.  That’s all I have to say as I walk around holding the handle of that fresh, hot press of coffee to trigger it.

At first glance up from their desk, their conversations, wherever they are, some partners look away, have that reaction of “no, not more coffee, not now, I’m really so caffeinated already, I’m so busy with work right now, I don’t need any, please, whatever you do don’t offer it to me.”

And then as quick as I can see that reaction, I smile and say “It’s Ethiopia Harrar.”  Bam.  They light up.  They look frantically for a tasting cup somewhere around their desk, relieved when I lower my hand and show that I’m carrying a stack of ceramic tasters next to this delicious press of coffee joy, just to make their day.  Everything they need for that moment of excitement and connection over coffee is right there in front of them.

“Harrar?!  Ohmigosh, YES!  Please, I would love some.  Where did you get this?!”  The flood gates open.  I’m in.  Suddenly they’ve gone from resistance, introversion, wanting nothing to do with coffee, submersed completely in the mundane of their daily work…and snapped into total elation.  Joy.  Excitement.  PASSION!!

The questions start flying.  How did you get it?  I thought it wasn’t out yet?  This is out already? How long as it been since we last had a lot of Harrar??  What about everything happening in Ethiopia right now with coffee, how did we get our hands on this???  It’s INCREDIBLE.  I don’t want to stop drinking it!!  The aroma, the body, the flavor…its divine!!

There’s such an incredible power in those moments…in the magic of that one simple word.  Today, that word was Harrar.  I hope you’ll take a moment to savor some of this exquisite coffee while it lasts…as with all great things, it’s a fleeing opportunity for enjoyment, that will be gone in a flash just as fast as it came.

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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Geography, Reflection, Tasting


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