Starbucks Challenge

After some discussion about Fair Trade goods, green LA girl challenged me to take the Starbucks Challenge. In their policy document – Starbucks, Fair Trade, and Coffee Social Responsibility – they say that “Fair Trade Certified coffee has been promoted by Starbucks as a brewed “Coffee of the Week” and can be brewed by coffee press during store hours upon customer request.” The challenge was to ask for a cup of Fair Trade coffee in Starbucks and see how easy it was to get served.

Last Thursday afternoon I felt the need for a cup of caffeine and, it being after 4pm, most Christchurch cafés were shut. This I will never understand. Why shut up shop at the time most people desperately need coffee? Still, it did give me a good opportunity to finally go into one of those not-very-well-patronised-by-me branches of Starbucks which seem spread like a rash all over the city. I wandered along to the best located Starbucks in Christchurch, slap bang central in Cathedral Square, and said the magic words: “Could I get a cup of Fair Trade coffee, please?” But no! Obviously the staff at the aforementioned Starbucks had not read their own policy document. They did point out that they had bags of Fair Trade coffee on sale – not exactly what I was looking for.

Seeing as I was feeling rather wimpy that day and I REALLY needed the caffeine, I took a mug of whatever coffee of the week that they were offering (I don’t even remember what it was!) and slunk off to the corner to sip in peace, mentally kicking myself for not being more pro-active. Still, it doesn’t look like I’m aloneother people taking the challenge around the world seem to be having similar problems.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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3 Responses

  1. You’re not wimpy — Just caffeine-deprived 🙂 Thanks for joining in — Yey!

  2. Caroline says:

    Well, at least you know that the problems are consistent! Sounds like you’re having fun with your Starbucks correspondence.

  3. Barbara says:

    Okay – I’ll have to try ordereing a cup at my local.

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