The End Of Espresso in Starbucks???

Some Starbucks in Malaysia no longer sells espresso. Some newer outlet (like the one in Pavilion) and some renovated outlets like the one in Mid-Valley have change their excellent Espresso machine to a Super-Auto Coffee Machine.

Do they still sells espresso? Yes, on the menu. But in actual sense, they may not be selling you espresso at all. Why? Because they can no longer make espresso.

Espresso basically refers to a method of making coffee. Therefore, to make espresso, there are a certain widely recognized standards accepted worldwide.

Therefore, to make a proper espresso you should fulfill the following:-
1. Necessary portion of coffee. 7g for a single shot.
2. Temperature from grouphead: 88 to 92 degree Celsius.
3. Entry water pressure at 9 bar ±1.
4. Extraction time at 25 seconds ±2.
5. Volume: 25ml to 30ml.

Of course not everyone agrees to the standards of making a proper espresso. Variation exist. Some people updose the coffee to 8g. Some people practice extraction time between 18 to 24 seconds, others practice 23 to 30 seconds.

Generally, extraction time over 30 seconds will produce bitter coffee (over extraction). Anything lower than 18 seconds will produce espresso that is bland or sour (under extraction). Personally I prefer mine between 23 to 28 seconds.

So, what has all these to do with Starbucks. I was at the Pavilion 2 days ago. I thought, well since they put in the new machine, does it making more consistent drinks?

And horror of horrors. Espresso produce in less than 13 seconds. I think it may be even lower still. What kind of espresso is that? I actually ordered a cappuccino. Yucks, i’m not drinking coffee man. I’m just drinking milk. It was horrible. What am I gonna do? Last time, I can just ask the machine attendant (they called themselves “barista”) do redo a drink. They can always adjust the grind or increase the tamping pressure.

But now, its a Super-Auto. They can’t do shit. No calibration allowed. So there you go. RM 10 Ringgit for a cup of milk plus some added coffee water (I can’t call them espresso).

Can you imagine this? Cappuccino is espresso with frothed milk. But if you don’t make espresso anymore, what do you call that “drink”. I called it “Weak Coffee plus milk”.

Wanna get an espresso? Latte? Cappuccino? Go to Gloria Jeans, Dome, San Francisco Coffee. Not Starbucks. At least not the new outlet with Super-Auto machine.

13 thoughts on “The End Of Espresso in Starbucks???

  1. espresso_lover1628

    “Weak Coffee plus milk” …. That is like Dutch Lady Milk with coffee flavor for kids 🙂

    I never step in to starbuck and paid for the expensive dutch ladys milk 🙂

  2. Lingzie

    i heard about this super auto machine from a friend who works in starbucks in penang. and yup, he told me that this machine is available at the newer outlets and is much simpler to use cos everything just press button….and he said it’s not so ‘fun’ anymore cos you can’t show off your ‘skill’. do not know if they are gonna implement this machine at all the outlets… 😦

  3. Pingback: Starbucks’ Blackberry Green Tea Frappe « Coffee in Malaysia

  4. Jim

    yeah starbucks is implemented it stage by stage… so even those old stores, they’ll also receive their new machine, which we called it verismo…

  5. barrista

    u can get best hot choc at starbucks but for espresso, latte and cappucino the best is at coffee bean and tea leaf…trust me..:) their barristas more friendly and skilled than starbucks..

  6. kfchan Post author

    Hi Barrista,

    Any particular Coffee Bean and Tea Left to recommend? I usually like their Vanilla Latte.. but purely because their vanilla powder is very nice. In fact I have caught them a few times using dead shot of espresso. (dead shots refer to espresso that has been made mroe than a few minutes ago. Espresso should always be made fresh and serve fresh)

  7. Simon Yeo

    Hi Barrista,

    Yes I am curious to know which Coffee Bean you might want to recommend. So far I’ve yet to taste any decent espresso based hot drinks in Coffee Beans…and I probably had tried more than 10 of the different branches…


  8. Mark Harris

    Won’t find a true espresso at Starbucks. That’s been the sad case for some time.

    A lot of changes at Starbucks this year (2008). Seems with every effort to restore vitality to the business, they get a little further astray. The recent introduction of Pike Place Roast as the everyday brew seems to drawing a lot of criticism.

    That’s seems to be the consensus of our visitors at the Gourmet Coffee Zone.

    Mark Harris

  9. Marco

    Superautos have tons of adjustment features – they’re just hidden in the machine. Just because they’re not user-adjustable doesn’t mean they’re not there.

    Now, if you took a stopwatch to the machine, I think you’d see pour times around 18-20 seconds, which is appropriate given that they’re using rotary, not vibration, pumps and don’t need time for pressure to build up at the grouphead.

    Starbucks may be a lot of things, but they’re not idiots.

    If you want to be a coffee snob, there’s plenty of resources out there to learn from. Check out

  10. kfchan Post author

    Of course Starbucks is not an idiot. There are one of the Biggest Coffee Company in the world.

    But their coffee is getting worse. Though Superautos are adjustable, 18 to 20 seconds extraction is still bad. Not just in theory mind you. They are basically extreamely under extracted. What came out was a very weak shot of “espresso”, and one can hardly taste the coffee drowned by a huge mug of milk. So, in order to “improve” the taste, you need pay extra to add another shot in. Idiots??? No. Genius actually.

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