Omnivore - That Starbucks barista is gonna love on you

The baristas at the Ansley Starbucks were all, um, eagerly anticipating the much publicized closing of more than 7,000 stores for three hours at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The purpose was for all employees to undergo training ordered by Howard Schultz, the company's recently reappointed CEO, to recapture the "soul of the past," according to the New York Times.

Actually, Schultz wouldn't call it training. He told employees via a video message: “This is not about training. This is about the love and compassion and commitment that we all need to have for the customer.” Oh yeah! In a memo a year ago, he talked about losing “much of the romance and theater” at the shops that seem to dot the corner of every urban intersection.

Actually, the Times reports that sales have been slacking at Starbucks and the company is closing 100 shops, including one here on North Highland Avenue. It has also cut back expansion plans.

I asked the Starbucks baristas Tuesday what there was to learn about making espresso when the shop uses an automated machine. One explained that the barista can still control certain factors that affect the taste of the drink. One of those, certainly, is the steaming of milk. It's very true that some baristas seem more talented at that than others.

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