Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Starbucks Challenge 4: Dundrum, Dublin

Now for the last of my three posts about the Starbucks Challenge in Dublin. Over the last year I have posted on a few occasions about Starbucks and have done the Starbucks Challenge in a few stores. Each time I got a cup of Cafe Estima and the barista or their supervisor knew about Fair Trade coffee. I'd actually grown complacent and had come to assume that Starbucks in Ireland had the Fair Trade thing down pretty well so to a certain extent the Challenge was a little pointless for them, beyond adding a sale of Fair Trade coffee for their, ahem, bean counters.

Dundrum was the first general Starbucks store in Dublin. It's located on the first floor the new Town Center and it's always packed with a queue out the door. Irish people just love their coffee and tea. When I first did the challenge Dundrum passed with flying colors. Cafe Estima had pride of place in their display and was mentioned on a couple of signs. The staff knew about the Fair Trade coffee being on brew and were apologetic that is wasn't in the espresso machine.

Unfortunately things have changed. I visited the store on Sunday evening and had a look around for Fair Trade signs, they were gone. This was unusual, the other shops in Dublin still had signs mentioning Fair Trade. The other stores also had Cafe Estima brewing, which they marked as Fair Trade on their boards. Cafe Estima as far as I knew was Starbucks only certified Fair Trade coffee. Dundrum had Timor Lorosae on brew and the sign made no mention of Fair Trade.

I asked the barista my standard opening question, could I have a cup of Fair Trade coffee. At first she was confused and then she said they had Timor Lorosae. I asked if they did French press and if I could get Cafe Estima instead. Now she really got confused and went to ask her supervisor. The supervisor came back and said they didn't have Cafe Estima in the espresso machine. Then before I got the chance to correct her and ask for French press came the kicker. She looked at me and said, "we have stopped doing fair trade!".

There goes Starbuck Irelands 100% winning streak. A shame really. Especially since some branches of Starbucks claim that Timor Lorosae is certified Fair Trade. I don't know if it is or is not, I haven't been able to find out for sure. Maybe Siel or someone else more into Fair Trade knows? Is it Fair Trade or Ethically Traded? Either way the supervisor short-circuited the issue by announcing "we have stopped doing fair trade!". I took the hint, got my cup of Timor Lorosae and went on my way a little surprised at the failure. Shame really, I'd grown used to success.

Update: and then GreenLA girl came along to confirm that Timor Lorosae is Fair Trade certified. So we are upgrading this to a success. BTW Timor is nicer than Cafe Estima, not as strong tasting. :-)


greenLAgirl said...

Yes -- Timor is def. fair trade certified -- I just added info about it to the FAQ :) Weirdly, Timor's sold in just about all countries -- but not in the US, except for Hawaii. Thus, it's not mentioned on the starbucks.com website...

Did you try it? How does it taste? And thanks for trying all 3 Starbucks -- Since they at least had it brewing, I chalked this one up for success, despite the barista's "We've stopped doing fair trade" comment...

Declan said...

Cool, thats good news, I've altered the post.

I tried it and it's actually nicer to my taste, though I prefer weaker tasting coffee with lots of milk. You should start a campaign to get it added to the menu :-)