Wednesday, February 27, 2008

so i heat the milk then pour it into the coffee? wait -- start over

yesterday evening, every starbucks in the nation shut down for three hours to train their baristas. many addicts were momentarily disappointed; a few might have gone home and hurt somebody they love. all in all, probably a good day for red bull.

here's what i think:

1. according to wikipedia, "'barista' refers to one who has acquired some level of expertise in the preparation of espresso-based coffee drinks." if you need to train someone in the ways of making coffee, they shouldn't be referred to as a 'barista' until AFTER they've completed their grueling, tip-less three hours.

2. coffee beans are grown and harvested almost exclusively in the third world, with most of the legwork being done by peasants who earn the planet's most popular salary, less than one dollar per day. this isn't particularly relevant.

3. music publications all over the world (both print and online) should do something similar. make every critic stop writing for a few days, sit them down and show them a movie that explains a few things (i.e. you shouldn't say "waltz" if you mean "slow", words like "vibrant" and "cohesive" are actually quite vague, professional critics are just listeners with editors, and so on). i'm not sure this would result in any sort of lasting improvement (as with starbucks baristas, personnel turnover is rapid). but for once, at least they'd have to pretend to try.

p.s. starbuck is the name of the first mate on the pequod in moby dick. he is a peaceful man, but he was too weak to follow his conscience, so moby dick kills him just like he kills everybody else.

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