One way to learn how important coffee is to some people is to sit in a jury room under bailiff lock & key without coffee for 7 1/2 hours. This pretty much describes my current existence at the aforementioned SF Glamour Slammer. I’m tempted to sneak in my own personal French press — if not for facing down 11 other irritable jurors who might use me to re-enact violent criminal conduct. Purely for demonstration purposes, and not necessarily to get at my coffee, of course. After all, there will be 11 witnesses.

Living in a claustrophobic box where the walls block out all possible physical and electronic contact with the outside world hasn’t afforded many opportunities to read, let alone report on, some of the latest coffee news. But this one blog post oddity from The Weekly Standard caught our eye today: More Bad News for Starbucks – The Weekly Standard.

Starbucks and the Death of the Shotglass

Originally reported as a rumor by one of our readers last February (and later verified in The Washington Post), Starbucks management (read: CEO Howard Schultz) decided to introduce shotglasses in the production of their espresso drinks. Their idea was to add a little showmanship for the customer by introducing a practice we frowned upon as “anti-quality”.

Tell me why this palid dreck needed a shotglass to begin with again? The Weekly Standard‘s post suggests the practice was a quality measure. But they now cite Starbucks Gossip (a site that seems about as pointless as “Wal-Mart Gossip”) with a new corporate directive: cut out the extra five seconds of showmanship, the extra labor is costing us. The blog post interprets this shift as a move further away from quality towards cost savings, saying, “The company has decided that the quality of its product isn’t what has hurt them. Instead, the new espresso regime is an admission that it’s the economic environment that is weighing on SBUX.”

While the cited reasoning is credible — even if a jury room full of deprived caffeine addicts is direct evidence for the definition of “recession proof” — the great irony here is that eliminating another pointless device used as a “middleman” in the delivery of an espresso drink actually improves the beverage. It’s one less heat sink; it’s one less step to manhandle the espresso’s crema. So it sounds that Starbucks is unwittingly making a move towards better espresso, and they don’t even realize it.

As if there was any question left that Starbucks wasn’t already bankrupt in the quality espresso department.