Feb 27, NY Times

At Starbucks stores across the country on Tuesday night, it was time for the corporate version of re-education camp.

In its campaign to revive the intimate, friendly feel of a neighborhood coffee shop, Starbucks orchestrated the closing of 7,100 of its American stores at precisely 5:30 p.m. for a three-hour retraining session for employees.

It was an exacting enterprise. At a store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the drink-making employees, known as baristas, were told to dispense espresso into shot glasses instead of cups. They were urged to check the color of each shot. They were urged to pay more attention to the particularities of steaming milk.

A handout labeled “Espresso Excellence” informed them that “without aeration, the milk screams and lacks sweetness.” And: “The perfect milk requires surfing the tip of the steam wand until the sound is SSHHHH.”

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photo: A training session on Tuesday at a Starbucks on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which focused on making the drinks (Jacob Silberberg for The New York Times)