Starbucks orders servers to slow down -- long lines brewing?

Woman adds sugar to her Starbucks orderOn behalf of impatient ground hounds everywhere: Thanks a latte, Starbucks. The big green coffee-making machine has ordered its baristas to slow down -- and that could mean the caffeine-deprived masses will have to wait in longer lines for their morning jolt of java.

Starbucks baristas told theWall Street Journal that the new strategy will increase by 100% the time that it takes to make some drinks. The newspaper revealed details of the chain's espresso manifesto, which included a mandate for counter personnel to make no more than two drinks at a time and steam milk for each drink rather than preparing an entire pitcher for several drinks. Servers were also instructed to rinse pitchers after every use, and blend the beans in smaller batches throughout the days so consumers can see the freshness for themselves.

The company line is that the measures will eventually brew up greater efficiency and restore artistry to your cappuccino while cutting barista mistakes.

But employees who actually froth the Frappuccinos say the wait will feel like a slow drip. Erik Forman told the newspaper that the rules are already in effect at his store in the Mall of America in Minnesota and lines are longer. It should be noted that friction between Starbucks and Forman has been percolating for some time. Forman is a member of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union who has been critical of the coffee giant's labor practices. Another server and union member, Tyler Swain in Omaha, Neb., questioned in the Journal story whether he could keep up with the volume when the slowdown goes into effect next month.

Then we'll find out for sure if the changes will grind Starbucks service to a halt -- or if it's the serving stimulus package that baristas and customers need.
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