Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Flat Out Doubtful

There is no way the Flat White is produced properly by Starbucks. No Way. I'm rarely so confident in my judgments that I make wide over-arching blanket statements without even stopping to see for certain that I'm right, but this is one exception. Starbucks, as you probably have heard already, is officially introducing the Flat White to their menu. This extra-specialty drink originated down-under in New Zealand and popularized in Australia, then quickly spread to Great Britain and now to the Pacific Northwest empire of Starbucks.

Why am I so certain that Starbucks has bitten off more than they can chew? Because they have already proven that high quality drinks such as the latte, cappuccino, and even as basic as the traditional espresso shot are out of their reach. The machines used at Starbucks retail outlets are those that are very similar to McDonald's and even some gas stations. The "Barista" pushes a button, then a watery slurry of coffee flavored nastiness jettisons out into the cup (their so-called espresso). Then the "Barista" supposedly steams the milk for the drink, but most often scalds, burns, or outright ruins it. Then the two mutilated ingredients are mixed and served to you in exchange for your $4.00. Pathetic.

So, with the addition of the Flat White to their menu, their lack of skill will be exasperated further. The Flat White requires even more attention to the milk steaming process. This drink requires little to no air injection during the steaming process, a lot of milk circulation in the pitcher, and steaming for the proper time duration. If Starbucks cannot meet minimum quality standards with their regularly produced menu items (and they most certainly cannot), what makes anyone think their Flat White will even resemble what it is supposed to? My prediction is that the drink will be very difficult to distinguish between the regular latte or even cappuccino. If anything, Starbucks will mandate an "extra" shot into their drink sizes to bolster the Flat White's coffee flavor strength. Ridiculous. Most small independent coffee shops already offer more espresso per drink anyway- this would simply put the giant chain store a bit closer to par.

Obviously, I'm against Starbucks introduction of the Flat White into their menu. I hold to this view not out of some kind of necessary hatred for the coffee chain, but out of respect for the specialty drink and industry itself. The Flat White is not that special, but specialty coffee is. Starbucks, in my opinion, slanders specialty coffee by continuing to claim that it is what it once was- special. Here's a Link to the blog post that started this rave of mine. Do you agree with me, disagree, and why?

Here's another great Article on the Flat White's new found popularity.

Lord, thank you for a little bit of snow today. It was enough to make me enjoy winter, and not enough to make me late for work. Perfect. Keep my head deflated and on straight. Here we go.

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