Inside Starbucks' First-Ever Sign Language Location

Starbucks Just Opened Its First-Ever Sign Language Location And We Are SO Here For It

Complete with the cutest mugs we've ever seen.

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On October 23rd, Starbucks opened their doors to the first ever U.S. signing store in Washington, D.C. In addition to the 20 to 25 people who are all fluent in American Sign Language, this location features lower tables, lower ordering counters, brighter lights, no background music, and larger text sizes, to accommodate for easier communication between baristas and customers.

Along with these features, the Washington, D.C. store, located in an existing Starbucks, includes tablets for customers to write their orders and screens to alert customers when drinks and food items are ready.

Aesthetically speaking, the new location will feature brighter lighting and many displays of ASL artwork. These original touches include "Starbucks" written in sign on aprons and in the window, a mural meant to encapsulate and celebrate deaf culture, and mugs designed by a deaf artist.

An article from Starbucks Newsroom says that there will be "a variety of enhancements to support the Deaf and hard of hearing partner and customer experience. Deaf baristas will have ASL aprons embroidered by a Deaf supplier, and hearing partners who sign will have an "I Sign" pin."

These are all initiatives put in place and sponsored by the Deaf Leadership of the Starbucks Access Alliance.

Store Manager Matthew Gilsbach, who is deaf himself, told Washingtonian in an interview, "We often talk about being the third place. We are your third place, you have your home, you have your work, and then you come here for a break between those two things to enjoy your day and your coffee," says Gilsbach. "So too does the deaf and hard of hearing community. And now they have direct access to other options for their third place. They don't have to feel isolated. Deaf and hard of hearing people have a place to come to call their own."

Starbucks has a history in both the positive and negative lights for getting involved in the news, and this store, creating opportunities for Deaf and hard of hearing customers, is yet another step in the right direction.

To find out how to sign your Starbucks order, Manager Matthew Gilsbach offers some tips here:

To all the pumpkin spice latte fans out there...

Starbucks Manager Matthew Gilsbach signing "pumpkin spice." Washingtonian

For all my friends who just like coffee...

Starbucks Manager Matthew Gilsbach signing "coffee." Washingtonian

And if you're trying to be polite...

Starbucks Manager Matthew Gilsbach signing "please and thank you." Washingtonian

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.
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Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.


6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!


7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.


9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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I Prefer Locally Owned Coffee Shops Over Big Corporations, Any Day Of The Week

This famous green mermaid is notorious for selling low-quality coffee, stealing business from locally owned shops, and underpaying those who make their business possible.

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In a world plentiful with caffeine addicts, one would be stumped to find a person who has never heard of the "biggest and baddest" in the coffee business: Starbucks. This corporation led by the famous green mermaid is untouchable. Starbucks does not hesitate to grow and drive out competition. They have not only taken over, but meanwhile, they sell low quality coffee, steal business from local coffee shops, and underpay the people in developing countries who make their irresistible coffee reality.

Starbucks is undeniably successful, having businesses in America — and in over fifty other countries, according to a 2015 study. Although Starbucks markets and promises the best, a Starbucks' advertisement is a prime example of how they claim to search the world to find those beans from "some exotic destination" that produces a "spirited conversation." However, they tend to release as little information on quality as possible to consumers. What customers don't know won't hurt them, right? Starbucks buys in bulk, sacrificing the "quality" ensured, ultimately minimizing their costs and maximizing their profits. All the while, small businesses are more likely to roast their own beans and even buy them locally.

This is an unmistakably well-known brand, which is why many Starbucks fans believe that this business is economically beneficial. However, their success causes local owners of coffee shops to struggle with other factors, not just competition. To start, an owner can expect spending $40,000 in equipment, $10,000 in marketing with hopes of only 30% to 35% of monthly revenue. In this way, it's a big commitment and investment of not only money, but also time, energy, and morale. No one ever tells you that a barista has "toilet cleaner" in their job description, and no one is ever in a good mood about it. Only profiting off at $3 a cup, cashing in a collective caffeine addiction and breaking even is not set in stone, proving why corporations usually weed out the competition with smaller scale coffeehouses.

This evil green mermaid disempowers, and is ungrateful for, the people who put blood, sweat, and tears into working on the coffee farms. All over the world, about 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed, produced by over 50 developing countries and involves several million small farmers. Not surprisingly, those who make this product possible live in poverty. Many coffee growers are, at best, barely surviving at close to $1 a day wages and are being driven out of business and off their land. We would love to think that this system benefits everyone. This beverage is known to link the daily routine of millions of consumers and producers living thousands of kilometers apart and experiencing vastly different lives...as if the overworked farmers in developing countries are treated equally as the stereotypical American girl inhaling her overpriced Frappuccino.

If consumers continue to feed into big corporations, rather than the genuine, smaller scale coffee shops, more people have the potential of experiencing the agony of poverty and mistreatment. Large coffee corporations have the full advantage over the start-up businesses, although they have low-quality products, take away from local businesses, and cause poverty to their growers. In order to prevent this from happening, coffee customers should shop locally. By supporting smaller cafes, they will not only be supporting the local and global economy but also, avoid surrendering their sovereignty to businesses who have made more than their fair share of profit.

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