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 Message Boards » » Starbucks Challenge - Fair Trade Coffee Page [1] 2, Next  
DirtyGreek
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Ok, this will turn into a fight like these things always do, but all I'm really wondering if any of you want to participate.

http://greenlagirl.blogspot.com/2005/10/starbucks-challenge.html

According to its own policy (http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/StarbucksAndFairTrade.pdf), Starbucks will make fair trade coffee for you, any day of the week, in the 23 countries it is licensed to including: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K. and the U.S.

But just how easy is it to get a fair trade coffee in a Starbucks in one of those countries?

We aim to find out.

Join the challenge:

1) Simply visit your local Starbucks and ask: "Could I get a cup of fair trade coffee?" (or ask for their fair trade blend by name. It's called "Cafe Estima." You'll likely have to ask them to french press a cup, which they are obligated to do under company policy (they'll only make you pay for the amount you want). My experience was that nobody but the manager knew how to french press... even though one of the employees had been there 7 months.

2) Tell us what happened next. Was it hard or easy to get a cup?


BLOGGERS: simply blog about what happened and tag it with "starbuckschallenge" (all one word) on del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us/) (put the Starbucks location in the "extended" description). We'll pull all articles into a feed and run that on our site - you can run the feed too, of course, if you'd like. ALSO help us get feedback by telling people about this challenge on your blogs.

NON-BLOGGERS: tell us what happened by emailing City Hippy or green LA girl, and we'll do the rest.

Survey results
When the survey has gathered enough feedback we'll get in touch with Starbucks and find out what their response is and how they intend to solve the problem, if any. If there's no problem, then Starbucks gets tons of good free publicity.

Win a prize
Oh yeah…we nearly forgot to mention…we've got a prize to give away -- two actually. On Halloween, we'll select two people who contributed to win either:

* A 2 lb bag of Monkey & Son Velvet Hammer fair trade organic coffee.
* Fair trade yummies from Clipper-Teas.com: 400g organic instant chocolate, 50g organic Fairtrade tea, and 227 g organic roast & ground coffee, Italian style.

To win, simply contribute an amusing and informative post/email. Our favorite ones win -- regardless of whether you have a good or bad experience.

---------------

My experience? Score one for North Carolina in the Starbucks Challenge. I went to the Starbucks at

Harper Hill Common
4912 Country Club Road
Winston-Salem NC, 27104

and asked them if they had Cafe Estima, the Starbucks fair trade blend. The guy at the counter seemed new, and asked his manager. She quickly and happily told me they had it, and asked if I wanted a bag. "Just a French Press," I said, and she smilingly obliged. I asked the guy at the counter if he was new, and he said "no, been here seven months. Just never had to French Press anything." I found that interesting, and it's probably an important note about Starbucks in general. The other guy there didn't know how to do it either, and they both watched as she made my coffee.

Anyhow, that branch passed. I thanked her generously and took my coffee home. By the way, it's actually pretty tasty. I had heard that fair trade blends are often not very good, and I'm no connoiseur, but I enjoyed it.

-----------

Siel of Green LA Girl is reporting (http://greenlagirl.blogspot.com/2005/10/supersize-my-fair-trade-coffee.html) that - get this - McDonalds will be switching to 100% organic fair trade coffee from Newman’s Own Organics, roasted by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Siel says that there are "no reviews of the coffee yet, but Green Mountain's known for roasting some yummy stuff."

Surely, Starbucks, you're not going to let McDonalds undercut you here! If Starbucks switches to all organic, all fair trade coffee, I'll start getting all my coffee there just to thank them.

[Edited on October 28, 2005 at 10:00 AM. Reason : .]

[Edited on October 28, 2005 at 10:07 AM. Reason : .]

10/28/2005 10:00:02 AM

Nerdchick
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ha ha, blogs

10/28/2005 10:02:03 AM

Wolfpacker06
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imma try this.

10/28/2005 10:07:37 AM

DirtyGreek
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if you do, please post your result. you can just post it here if you want, annd I'll link it on delicious

10/28/2005 10:08:53 AM

Wolfpacker06
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do the $tarbuck$ in barnes and noble have the same policy?

10/28/2005 10:13:50 AM

AntecK7
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fuck the coffee workers, give me chepaer coffee

10/28/2005 10:32:05 AM

BobbyDigital
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i don't get why people will pay $3 for a cup of coffee.

10/28/2005 10:36:12 AM

DirtyGreek
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a.) a cup didn't cost me $3. You basically get a pot - about 1.5 medium size cups, for $3.50

as for why? I dunno, I guess I like knowing that the person who did the back-breaking labor for it was paid a fair wage. call me crazy!

Also, I get coffe like, 3 times a month. I don't go out searching for free trade coffee, but if it's there, I'll pay for it. I'll also pay the extra money for organic or local food. Call me a sucker for human rights, environmental causes, and not eating pesticides.

I don't get why people will pay $50,000 for a car or $300 for a pair of pants, but live and let live

[Edited on October 28, 2005 at 10:47 AM. Reason : .]

10/28/2005 10:47:21 AM

joe17669
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im coffee illiterate, so what is fair trade coffee and french press?

10/28/2005 10:51:56 AM

Grapehead
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and who the fuck cares?

10/28/2005 10:55:06 AM

AntecK7
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DirtyGreek? Do you drive an american made car?

10/28/2005 10:56:55 AM

DirtyGreek
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Fair trade isn't just a coffee thing; it can apply to any kind of production. As for coffee,

http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/coffee/

The United States consumes one-fifth of all the world's coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world. But few Americans realize that agriculture workers in the coffee industry often toil in what can be described as "sweatshops in the fields." Many small coffee farmers receive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt.

Fair Trade is a viable solution to this crisis, assuring consumers that the coffee we drink was purchased under fair conditions. To become Fair Trade certified, an importer must meet stringent international criteria; paying a minimum price per pound of $1.26, providing much needed credit to farmers, and providing technical assistance such as help transitioning to organic farming. Fair Trade for coffee farmers means community development, health, education, and environmental stewardship.



french press is just a type of brewing that doesn't use a filter and instead uses a french press. You can get a french press machine for pretty cheap just about anywhere that sells coffe makers and the like. I like the taste of french press coffe much better than filtered. It leaves sediment in the bottom of the cup, so you don't normally take the last sip, but every preceding sip is really nice

more info
http://www.sweetmarias.com/brewinstr.frenchpress.html

Quote :
"DirtyGreek? Do you drive an american made car?"

nope, I have a scion. whatever you're going to say isn't going to logically change the fact that trying to buy fair trade items most of the time is better than doing it never but go ahead

[Edited on October 28, 2005 at 11:01 AM. Reason : .]

10/28/2005 10:59:55 AM

Grapehead
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wouldnt it make farming conditions worse by causing starbucks to pay less for the non fair trade to offset the increased expense of the fair trade?

10/28/2005 11:03:40 AM

DirtyGreek
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no, because they AREN'T paying less for the other coffee. They're evening out, because fair trade coffee costs more in the store, as well. Also, starbucks SAYS that they pay fair prices for all their coffee but cafe estima is the only one that's "certified" fair trade. I don't know if they're being honest, but that's what they say.

the same happens with organics. There are plenty of farmers who produce wholly organic food but can't afford the certification fees.

10/28/2005 11:10:18 AM

Grapehead
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can you get fair trade coke or heroin? those farmers have it much worse than the coffee growers...

10/28/2005 11:15:37 AM

DirtyGreek
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if it was legal, someone would probably make a "fair trade" version

of course, the reason they're not paid well is partially BECAUSE it's illegal

also, I don't buy coke or heroin

10/28/2005 11:19:40 AM

AntecK7
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how is increasing our trade deficit helping coffee employees. We need to keep capital in our country. not deport it.

10/28/2005 11:25:20 AM

drtaylor
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1) this is stupid
2) starbucks wastes a lot of money to keep the dirty hippies/liberals happy and still they get no thanks
3) fair trade is about as bad as the "end poverty by giving them money" idea, which is widely known as the worst idea ever

10/28/2005 11:27:55 AM

DirtyGreek
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1.) no it isn't
2.) obviously they do get thanks. see: this thread
3.) not the same thing at all. What you're talking about is giving someone money just becuase they're poor. What I'm talking about is giving someone a fair amount of money for a good or service so that they can continue to sustainably give you that good / service.

Quote :
"how is increasing our trade deficit helping coffee employees. We need to keep capital in our country. not deport it."


it's not as though anyone is forcing them to do this. Aren't you people all about the free market? What's more free than consumers convincing a business to do something?

look, antek, you and i have talked plenty of times before. You think that destroying every living thing on the planet is fine so long as it doesn't affect humans. You've told me that yourself. I don't think we can communicate on any sane level; we're just coming from two completely different frames of reference here.

[Edited on October 28, 2005 at 11:58 AM. Reason : .]

[Edited on October 28, 2005 at 11:59 AM. Reason : .]

10/28/2005 11:57:45 AM

drtaylor
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Quote :
"But just how easy is it to get a fair trade coffee in a Starbucks in one of those countries?"


the whole implied purpose is to catch them in a big corporate lie

and then have a protest

and then have a candlelight vigil

tard

10/28/2005 1:03:41 PM

PinkandBlack
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the intentions here are good but...

i dont drink starfuckers anyway. i can get a tasty fair trade cup for a similar price elsewhere.

so starbucks could dissapear today and i wouldnt notice.

10/28/2005 1:52:03 PM

DirtyGreek
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^ Oh, absolutely. I haven't had starbucks in several years until this. I just wanted to document NC's starbucks situation for the challenge, because nobody else had yet.

10/28/2005 1:54:48 PM

Gamecat
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What's the sound of one cynical college brat missing the point?

10/28/2005 3:13:13 PM

Sputter
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Since money is a scarce resource for any company, having to pay more for fair trade will inevitably cause less to be spent on the coffee being produced in the normal fashion. After a time, this will concentrate the wealth that companies like Starbucks are creating into the hands of fewer farmers making the rich richer and the poor poorer. So, if you want to give your money to a select few farmers and pay them more than anyone else and take food off of the tables of other common folk, then go ahead and buy fair trade.

[Edited on October 28, 2005 at 4:08 PM. Reason : a]

10/28/2005 4:07:14 PM

DirtyGreek
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ok, obviously you're just either not reading everything or you're misunderstanding.

you're arguing that by treating farmers fairly, somehow other farmers will be treated less fairly. I'd say that's wholly illogical considering that

a.) starbucks says they pay fair prices for ALL their coffee now, so your point is moot anyway (assuming they're being honest)
b.) the only difference between cafe estima and the others, if starbucks is telling the truth, is that cafe estima is the only one that's CERTIFIED fair trade, not that it's the only one that's fairly priced. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be (not that it's impossible, of course) if starbucks was saying "yeah, we give these farmers a fair price, but fuck the other ones"

10/28/2005 6:14:59 PM

Seotaji
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Quote :
"but cafe estima is the only one that's "certified" fair trade."



Fair Trade Blend
Starbucks Fair Trade Blend utilizes the finest Fair Trade Certified™ coffees from all over the world.

A blend of the finest Fair Trade certified coffee available.This coffee is Fair Trade Certified by TransFair USA, an independent & non-profit organization.

10/28/2005 6:36:35 PM

Sputter
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Fair trade coffee is more expensive to Starbucks, and more expensive to you. Fair trade purchasers pay higher than true market value, or some would argue that all the other growers are paid below market value, whatever, the point is that fair trade economics create a condition where there are losses in productivity.

10/28/2005 6:49:49 PM

DirtyGreek
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no, certified fair trade is more expensive to the farmer, but as far as starbucks says, they're not paying more for it.

again, that COULD be untrue

10/28/2005 7:10:14 PM

phishnlou
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yeah i would

but i can't go to starbucks

10/28/2005 7:10:16 PM

Sputter
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The whole freaking point of Fair Trade is to pay people more for the produce and/or product they are supplying to a global economy. Some people argue that this premium isn't naturally included into what farmers are paid due to things such as a tariff for example. A tariff would cause the farmer to have to lower his prices to compete in a global economy. So Fair Trade advocates attempt to add back into the price what may be lost through any such barrier to trade.

Certified Fair Trade is an indicator that Starbucks allowed the Fair Trade Organization to review and approve their contract with whatever coffee farmers they are buying to use for the fair trade coffee.

Certified Organic costs the farmer, that may be what you are thinking of.

Anyway, many people argue that fair trade practices sound good on paper and give people a warm fuzzy, but are actually counterproductive.

10/28/2005 7:28:01 PM

DirtyGreek
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To explain a lil about the Starbucks claim that all their coffee is fairly traded. First, just in terms of money, fair trade certification requires that farmers receive $1.26 per lb of coffee. Starbucks pays only $1.20 -- which is higher than the paydirt gross coffee price. Starbucks says they have their own internal standards, but we all know about those -- they're not quantifiable or verified, because no one -- aside from Starbucks -- really knows what's happening. Hence the argument for independent, third-party verification like fair trade certification that makes sure that companies are actually doing what they say they're doing.

-siel from green la girl

http://greenlagirl.blogspot.com/2005/10/starbucks-challenge-faq.html

from that faq:

(**Update 10/28/05) I read on green LA girl that the Cafe Estima blend is Starbucks' only fair trade certified blend, but the Starbucks website mentions a second Fair Trade Blend. What's up with that?

Cafe Estima -- a new, bolder blend -- is sorta "replacing" the Fair Trade Blend -- A welcome switch, considering the fact that many coffee afficionados found the old Fair Trade Blend gross. Cindy of Starbucks apologizes that the Starbucks website is still not up-to-date. The old Fair Trade Blend is now out of stores, but will still be avaliable to food service accounts like colleges and universities.

**Update, 10/28/05: Apparantly, this two-step process is NOT official Starbucks policy. According to the training manuals, a barista should offer customers a French-pressed cup of fair trade upon request, WITHOUT rattling off the list of coffees brewing. No word, as of yet, as to why so many stores and baristas are doing otherwise.

My local Barnes & Noble or Borders "proudly brews" Starbucks coffee. Can I take the challenge there?

Not really. Starbucks makes this fair trade guarantee only for the stores it owns. This would exclude all bookstores and other coffee vendors that serve Starbucks but are not technically part of the behemoth corporation. If in doubt, check out Starbucks' locator -- Locations on that list, with just a few exceptions, are bound by the challenge.

Of course, you can still ask your local Starbucks-serving bookstore for fair trade -- If enough challengers do so, it could convince the place to switch to, or at least offer, Starbucks' fair trade offerings...

10/29/2005 11:22:22 AM

theDuke866
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Fair trade bad. Free trade good.

10/29/2005 11:53:44 AM

colter
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starbucks moves into an area and puts little coffee shops out of business, just like any big chain of stores. End corporate dominance.

10/29/2005 12:13:15 PM

DirtyGreek
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dude

this IS FREE TRADE.

the company voluntarily is paying the farmers more. no government intervention except what they pay the government to get the certification.

10/29/2005 12:13:21 PM

theDuke866
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yeah, that's true. i should've been more clear.

this is an odd case of the free market having a niche where it's most effective to levy its own inefficient, economically dumb market controls because of the marketability of the cost inefficient fair trade coffee, as a direct result of that very inefficiency!

sorta weird, if you think about it.

but in that sense, Starbucks is being run by shrewdly innovative capitalists who happened to hook some poor, foreign farmers up through their plan.

either that, or they're dirty, semi-socialist hippies who accidentally played the free market perfectly, despite their capitalistic worst intentions.

10/29/2005 12:27:09 PM

Seotaji
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Quote :
"Starbucks is being run by shrewdly innovative capitalists"


that and they own a basketball team (or at least howard shultz does).

10/29/2005 12:30:33 PM

J_Gatsby
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Quote :
"i don't get why people will pay $3 for a cup of coffee."


1) Fair trade coffee is generally of higher quality than a comparable blend because the farmer is compensated enough that he doesnt have to use premature plants or berries

2) Most coffee is bought from farmers at artificially low prices anyways, alot of colombian coffee farmers have decided to change their crops over to colombia's more famous cash crop

3)Because I can afford it

10/29/2005 1:00:29 PM

ambrosia1231
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Quote :
""i don't get why people will pay $3 for a cup of coffee."


and plain coffee at starbucks is between $1.15 and $2 ($2 for the biggest of the most expensive blend).

10/29/2005 1:01:57 PM

Excoriator
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Quote :
"3)Because I can afford it"


that's the only real reason and should be a thread-ender

10/29/2005 1:03:13 PM

J_Gatsby
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I mean if you're gonna penny pinch a dollar here or there in starbucks, go back to 7/11 for your coffee you plebian fucks

10/29/2005 1:05:09 PM

DirtyGreek
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again, I didn't pay $3 for a cup. I paid $3.50 for a whole pot. Also french press coffee is higher quality than brewed.

10/29/2005 1:33:05 PM

Seotaji
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Quote :
"and plain coffee at starbucks is between $1.15 and $2 ($2 for the biggest of the most expensive blend)."


1.55
1.77
1.87

most starbucks only charge for the size cup, instead of the $3.50 french press.

[Edited on October 29, 2005 at 1:40 PM. Reason : i believe internet hippies are the worst. referring to the creator of the blog.]

10/29/2005 1:39:03 PM

ambrosia1231
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^ok, thanks

if i want plain coffee, i pay $0.79 at the shuttle inn

10/29/2005 3:01:20 PM

benz240
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Free trade coffee = Starbucks "Fair Trade" coffee = Shuttle Inn coffee = Instant Coffee = Shitwater.

Cheaper is better.

10/29/2005 3:12:31 PM

seapunky
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starbucks is like warm diarrhea in a cup. overpriced watered down sub-standard excuse for coffee.

10/29/2005 3:18:51 PM

LadyWolff
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^ Not a big starbucks fan personally, but, dude, if the shuttle inn is the same stuff as in EB2- it aint all that good.0

10/29/2005 3:20:11 PM

esgargs
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seapunky just hates freedom

and has bad taste.

10/29/2005 3:23:37 PM

JCash
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you all need to take an international trade economics class.

i see your intentions are meant well, i just dont agree it will have the effect you think it will.

10/29/2005 3:45:32 PM

seapunky
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i am just particular about coffee. i drink 7-10 cups a day and have tried coffee from probably every coffee place in raleigh. starbucks is crap, no matter where you go.

10/29/2005 4:01:22 PM

esgargs
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ummm

cheap coffee is shit everywhere.

10/29/2005 4:11:33 PM

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