Monday, August 25, 2008

Starbucks Update: The Vegan Scone has Landed!

That's right, folks. All because of me, the Starbucks near my house is once again carrying the vegan scone. They may be carrying fewer of them (in fact there was only one left when I popped in at 9AM) but they are carrying them.

All because I asked, and they listened. No seriously, I know this because they told me.

Oh, and by the way: this has nothing to do with Starbucks the big, corporate conglomerate, right? This has to do with a local employee who felt empowered to tell her local manager, and a local manager who felt empowered to adjust his or her local bakery order to accommodate one regular customer who spoke up (and doubtless represented more than a few other folks).

It's a little thing done well, so let's give credit where credit is due.

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I worked for Starbucks, and as a vegan I knew it'd be tough - steaming milk, dealing with pastries, etc. But I learned first hand that even the vegan recipe drinks aren't going to be vegan! They use the same steam wands for all kinds of milk - dairy and soy, in addition to eggnog and apple juice. They use a washcloth soaked in some sort of sanitizing agent to clean the wands between steaming milk. They refused to tell me the ingredients of the sanitizing solution. Some Baristas will wipe the wands each time, others will not. Doesn't really matter though. No matter how much I wiped the wands, burnt milk was stuck to them, milk was up in the wands (where the heat comes out) and would drip out, and plus the sanitizing solution would get in the drinks off of the dirty, milk-soiled washcloth we used to wipe the wands. EWWW!!!! The cold drinks that could be made vegan were no better. The blenders just get a quick rinse between uses and Starbucks refuses to use the "non-dairy" pitchers and blenders for soy milk, it's only for the apple juice, teas, and lemonades. And I regularly witnessed Baristas in need of an extra pitcher for milk use the soy milk pitcher because, once again, Starbucks allots the "non-dairy" pitcher for juice and teas only. Soy milk is milk in their eyes.

Okay, drinks aren't vegan. But I think what is worst about Starbucks is the waste. Every 30 minutes coffee goes down the drain. Farmers in third world countries work hard for those beans! Excess milk goes down the drain every 5 minutes. Those poor cows pumped full of hormones, their udders bleeding with sores from the machines used to milk them, kept indoors never to see sunlight or breath fresh air - what a tragedy to pour their product down the drain. But Starbucks says this is okay because the producers are paid and don't suffer because of the waste. You tell me those cows didn't suffer?!?!?!

There are some rumors that Starbucks has vegan pastries. NOT true. NO pastry at Starbucks is vegan! I have read all of the ingredient lists. The ones that are close to being vegan have honey, like the multigrain roll. Honey is NOT vegan.

Starbucks also has no uniform recycling program for their cups, and everyone is given a to-go cup. I think maybe two or three people a day would ask for the for-here cups, and anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen brought their own. If they're lucky, that's 5% of their customers. All of these 100% recyclable paper and plastic cups are going into the trash because Starbucks doesn't have any recycling areas in their stores for these cups.

Boycott Starbucks. They're destroying the earth one cup at a time.
If you do find yourself at starbucks and needing a more health conscious and animal friendly bite to eat. According to the ingredients list on starbuck's website, the multigrain bagel is dairy-free (close to vegan, but unsure about the sugar).

Ingredients: flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour), water, cracked wheat, sunflower seeds, sugar, rolled oats, whole wheat flour, raisins, degerminated yellow corn meal, contains less than 2% of each of the following: sesame seeds, salt, yeast, guar and xanthan gum, inactive dry yeast, palm oil, soybean oil, ascorbic acid added as a dough conditioner.

"Give a damn about what you eat"
Thanks! I don't try to make sure sugar is vegan when I'm out and about. So the bagel works for me :)
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