Starbucks' Take On National Coffee Day Leaves Coffee Lovers Unimpressed: No Free Coffee

Starbucks is synonymous with coffee, yet the coffee giant, in the eyes of some coffee lovers and Starbucks fans, is completely dissing National Coffee Day.

For many people, National Coffee Day is an opportunity to drink free coffee at various outlets. And while Starbucks have participated in the free coffee giveaways in previous years, this year they are taking a different approach.

As AL noted, Starbucks has more than 13,000 stores throughout the United States alone, but this year has decided to make a donation for every bag of coffee purchased (note this is each bag of coffee, not each cup of coffee) rather than giving away free hot drinks like many other coffee outlets are doing.

Calling its initiative "Starbucks One Tree for Every Bag," Starbucks has committed to donating one coffee for every bag of coffee purchased: and not just today, National Coffee Day, but for the next 12 months.

Executive Vice President of Global Coffee for Starbucks Craig Russell thinks that the new Starbucks charity initiative is the perfect way to involve coffee lovers in their efforts to fight "coffee rust," an insidious fungus that has caused damage to millions of coffee plants worldwide.

"We have heard directly from farmers that helping them get new rust-resistant trees will make the most impact. We are figuring out the way to do that while offering our customers an opportunity to get involved."

Some coffee mothers are unimpressed with Starbucks for not handing out free hot drinks on this made up holiday.

However, other people can see the good in what Starbucks is trying to achieve.

It will be very interesting to see what Starbucks' charity initiative does to their profit levels over the next twelve months.

Over in the United Kingdom, Eater is reporting that Starbucks is offering housing assistance and increased wages to Starbucks staff.

Wages will rise from £6.77 ($10.28 USD) to £7.20 ($10.96 USD) per hour, with London Starbucks employees paid an additional amount on top of their hourly rate in an attempt to offset the cost of living in London, Kris Engskov, President of Starbucks EMEA, said.

"We want our partners to be able to live as close to work as possible. It's an issue with our proximity to cities and one of the problems with having much of our business in areas like Central London where it's too expensive to live in the city center."

Eater reported that the initiatives came about as a result of a 12-month corporate study, which concluded that Starbucks employees face two main financial challenges: education and housing. The initiatives will apply to Starbucks staff who have worked at Starbucks for at least a year, and Starbucks boasts that their staff can go through the application process and receive their loan within four weeks. The idea is that loan repayments will be taken from the employees' wages over the following 12-month period.

And if you're looking for a way to make your procrastination a little coffee-themed on this National Coffee Day, check out the fun VH1 online game "What Your Starbucks Order Says about You."

In case you were wondering, my Starbucks order comes up as "A Barista's Worst Enemy."

"You probably should just make your coffee at home. The barista might say they don't mind making you something off the "secret menu" extra hot, double blended, and upside down... but they do. They're paid to say they don't mind, so let's ease up a bit, princess."

Wait -- Starbucks has a secret menu?

[Photo: Wikipedia, "Starbucks Corporation Logo 2011", Licensed under Fair Use]