The idea of the Starbucks Challenge is to find out how well the Starbucks shops live up to their own promise to provide Fair Trade coffee when asked for.
According to its own policy, Starbucks will make Fair Trade coffee for you, any day of the week, in any of the 23 countries it is licensed to sell Fair Trade 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?"
2) Tell us what happened next. Was it hard or easy to get a cup? Watch out for posts by us and others on this blog.
The good news is Starbucks in Dundrum does provide Fair Trade coffee.
First of all I decided to have a look in the shop and see if they even mention Fair Trade. I didn't have far to go. The very first basket of beans by the door has a sign in it advertising Fair Trade beans. It seems to be selling well since the basket itself only had 5 packs left and several people picked them up to read the labels. At the counter there is a sign saying Fair Trade is available, but it is partially blocked by the chocolates display. Then at the milk and sugar counter they had leaflets explaining Fair Trade coffee.
Next I got in the queue (yes, there are still long queues) and when I got to the counter I asked for a Venti Latte made with "Free Trade" coffee. (I think I was still hung over from a party on Friday night, I'm getting old and cant hold my alcohol anymore). The barista never even blinked but said they have Fair Trade but unfortunately the lattes are made from an espresso machine which uses a general bean. I then asked what could I get that was Fair Trade and he gave me a normal coffee, asking if I wanted space left for milk and poured it himself so I didn't have to wait at the coffee counter. I didn't ask about french press coffee, but they don't advertise it and I don't know if they even do it in Dundrum since it is a small, busy shop.
So Fair Play to Starbucks Dundrum. They are doing their bit for Fair Trade. Maybe if more people ask for it then they will switch the espresso machine to Fair Trade, or allow users to get french pressed lattes. Until then the "Venti Coffee with Fair Trade beans" will do nicely.