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View Full Version : What are those little plastic sticks for at Starbucks?


patrician
03-27-2013, 07:59 AM
Even the baristas can't tell me. At one of the Starbuck's I frequent, they automatically stick a little plastic "swizzle stick" in that tiny hole in the lid of the to-go cup. Why?

At my favorite one, they never do, although they're there for folks to grab if they want. some people automatically put one in.

So I asked - "what's that do?" and no one knows.

Let's hear from the folks who use them to find out why. Inquiring minds want to know. something about the foam?

Shamefully trivial.

Alessan
03-27-2013, 08:03 AM
I don't go to Starbucks - don't have them here - but isn't it to stir the sugar?

Laggard
03-27-2013, 08:05 AM
I just figured it was to help the coffee stay hot longer or to keep it from spilling on you before you are ready to drink it.

Munch
03-27-2013, 08:07 AM
I don't go to Starbucks - don't have them here - but isn't it to stir the sugar?

No, it's much sillier than that. It's like a little lid for the drink-hole, and only sticks down about an inch, if that. I'm wondering if it's to keep foam from overflowing, or reduce little dribbles when taking it out to your car.

patrician
03-27-2013, 08:09 AM
These are only three inches long, they are not sugar stirrers. The coffee top is already on when they pop in these little spears.

And there are two holes in the top - the bigger one to sip through so that little hole's being plugged isn't going to keep it warm.

Anyone work at Starbuck's who knows what these are for?

Ruffian
03-27-2013, 08:11 AM
It's called a splash stick, at least around here. It's designed to keep the coffee from splashing out while driving it home. A couple of good bumps on the road can make an impressive puddle on my center console.

Frivolous, but quite useful.

An Gadaí
03-27-2013, 08:52 AM
I don't go to Starbucks - don't have them here - but isn't it to stir the sugar?

They don't? I smell a business opportunity. :)

Yorikke
03-27-2013, 08:54 AM
Even the baristas can't tell me. At one of the Starbuck's I frequent, they automatically stick a little plastic "swizzle stick" in that tiny hole in the lid of the to-go cup. Why?



Seriously, the baristas weren't told what they are? They are to stop the coffee from floofing out as you drive.

silenus
03-27-2013, 09:00 AM
Seriously, the baristas weren't told what they are? They are to stop the coffee from floofing out as you drive.

Exactly. It isn't that much of a problem for black coffee, but everybody orders a megafrothycrappaccino, extra foam these days and the slightest bump can cause that concoction to foam out the hole and all over your cup holder.

Acsenray
03-27-2013, 09:07 AM
Are we talking about this thing (http://pegasusnews.com/media/img/photos/2008/04/14/thumbs/cup.jpg.728x520_q85.jpg)?

As others have said, it's a plug to prevent spills.

Amateur Barbarian
03-27-2013, 09:16 AM
Exactly. It isn't that much of a problem for black coffee, but everybody orders a megafrothycrappaccino, extra foam these days and the slightest bump can cause that concoction to foam out the hole and all over your cup holder.
Well, then. Ban the sploosh sticks, then.

bouv
03-27-2013, 09:25 AM
Huh...weird. Twice in the past couple weeks I've read about these things on two different message boards, and I've never seen them before. I've been in Starbucks (Starbuckses?) plenty of times before, all over the country (well, 90% in the northeast, anyway) and never encountered them before.

patrician
03-27-2013, 09:39 AM
I'm in the northeast, some have them and use them, some have them and don't use them, and some don't have them at all.

I'm talking from NYC to Boston corridor. I regularly get a vente size thing with foam - depending on the time of day it might be a macchiato (not sweet), or a latte, and I never use a stick and I drive - no foam problem. a solution for which there is no problem in my opinion.

I also go to a non-Starbuck's upper-scale coffee house where they make designs in the macchiato and there is lots of foam. No sticks.

Mauvaise
03-27-2013, 09:43 AM
Seriously, the baristas weren't told what they are? They are to stop the coffee from floofing out as you drive.

They are told what they are in my neck of the woods.

Alessan
03-27-2013, 09:46 AM
They don't? I smell a business opportunity. :)

They tried and failed. Or more precisely - they tried, people liked it, local entrepreneurs copied their business model, the copies were better, Starbucks folded.

Doctor Who
03-27-2013, 09:48 AM
Ah, obviously no one here has ever been the low man sent out to get coffee for bigwigs.

You use stoppers when you are schlepping around two drink trays full of lattes and mochas and americanos that you don't want to spill or spill on the top. Because you will get yelled at. Or fired. Or both.

An Gadaí
03-27-2013, 09:56 AM
They tried and failed. Or more precisely - they tried, people liked it, local entrepreneurs copied their business model, the copies were better, Starbucks folded.

✡Bucks? :)

pulykamell
03-27-2013, 10:30 AM
Huh...weird. Twice in the past couple weeks I've read about these things on two different message boards, and I've never seen them before. I've been in Starbucks (Starbuckses?) plenty of times before, all over the country (well, 90% in the northeast, anyway) and never encountered them before.

Maybe it's regional. Here, they've been around for years. I initially wondered what they were for, but when I spilled hot coffee (just plain ol' coffee, which is all i get there) on myself walking home, I figured it out. (My initial encounters with the stick had me throwing it away upon receipt of the coffee.)

Motorgirl
03-27-2013, 12:50 PM
a solution for which there is no problem in my opinion.


I use the sticks because when I walk with a cup of liquid the liquid shoots up out of the hole in the lid onto my hands, gloves, sleeves, chest. There's something wrong with the way I walk that makes it incompatible with lids with openings.

Qadgop the Mercotan
03-27-2013, 01:31 PM
Did Lieutenant Starbuck (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/85/StarbuckSystem.jpg) have a specific question?

I always wanted to know where he got those damn fumerellos from.

epbrown01
03-27-2013, 02:00 PM
I'm talking from NYC to Boston corridor. I regularly get a vente size thing with foam - depending on the time of day it might be a macchiato (not sweet), or a latte, and I never use a stick and I drive - no foam problem. a solution for which there is no problem in my opinion.

I just don't see how that's possible. Until Stabucks started using/issuing stoppers, there was no way to avoid spills and splashes in my cars. I have had FIVE different aftermarket "spill-proof" cups I bought trying to fix the issue and they all failed - the stuff could not be contained (two cups actually broke). My Boxster still has coffee behind the speaker grill on the passenger door from the time they didn't have any, and I carry spares in both of my cars now in case they ever run out again.

I've had cars with aftermarket cupholders, cupholders mounted on the center console, dash, air vents - ten different cars in all - and the cups just wouldn't stop spilling. There was no suspension so soft, road so smooth, driving style so tentative and ginger that I wouldn't end up wiping Starbucks off some surface of the car. The stoppers have resolved the fluid dynamics engineering problem of our age.

DiosaBellissima
03-27-2013, 02:18 PM
Well, then. Ban the sploosh sticks, then.

Fuck that, the stoppers are awesome. Do you know how annoying it is to try to walk into work, juggling a purse, a briefcase, client paperwork, and your coffee, to have your coffee sploosh out on your suit? No matter how carefully you walk, no matter how delicately you hold that fucking cup--- SPLOOSH. Those stoppers are amazing.

And if your Starbucks doesn't have them out-- just ask. Sometimes the baristas will have them tucked in a holder next to their set up, rather than sitting out for folks to grab.

Gangster Octopus
03-27-2013, 02:53 PM
I always ask for the splash stick unless I am going to be drinking it right there.

Southern Yankee
03-27-2013, 03:56 PM
Those things make great tools for (fairly) safely digging out ear wax. I know, I know, I shouldn't put anything in my ears. But one day I had a terrible itch deep in my ear canal at work, and there it was, on my desk. The good thing is that the business end is rounded, and flat, so when you carefully jam it in your ear, you can twist it around and scoop out any excess wax rather than pushing it further in.

kaylasdad99
03-27-2013, 04:46 PM
Did Lieutenant Starbuck (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/85/StarbuckSystem.jpg) have a specific question?

I always wanted to know where he got those damn fumerellos from.He was a spaceman on a science fiction show. Obviously, he got in his time machine and came forward to the 20th century to steal a box of them from George Peppard. (http://greenandgoldrugby.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/George_Peppard_Hannibal.jpg)

TBG
03-27-2013, 05:44 PM
Local (to MI) chain Biggby uses short straws (maybe full size straws cut to smaller length?) folded in half for much the same purpose. Works really well. Anyone who thinks this isn't a problem or doesn't need solving, sorry, you're wrong. Coffee splashing out in the car is a danger that is all too real.

SeaDragonTattoo
03-27-2013, 06:07 PM
In all my years of coffee drinking, I've never seen one of these. I wonder if they have regional popularity and they're just not popular here for some reason. I'll have to ask about them next time I'm at a Starbucks. I've had a sploosh happen a couple times while walking, but it hasn't been a regular enough thing to think/know it's a problem for a lot of people. Something new every day!

DiosaBellissima
03-28-2013, 01:00 AM
I quite literally asked for and received a splash stick last time I was in Chicago and got coffee. I remember because I made my grandmother wait in the cold as I ran back to get it, proving once again that I am the greatest granddaughter in the world.

rat avatar
03-28-2013, 01:12 AM
Crazy...I live in Seattle and thus am too snobby to go to Starbucks anyway :) but I wonder if they do limit where these are distributed at. I have been to the original store several times with out of town guests over the past year and unless I am just oblivious these were no were to be seen.

But they let us order a "tall" or a 12oz here too which is not true in most of the ones I have visited in other parts of the country will not accept as a valid request.

We do have some pretty strict recycling requirements for to go food containers, maybe you have to ask for them here.

guizot
03-28-2013, 01:36 AM
Exactly. It isn't that much of a problem for black coffee, Really? I get only black coffee, and sometimes it shoots out from careless handling.

I've never seen one of these things, but really, it would be pretty obvious to me what they're for.

KinkiNipponTourist
03-28-2013, 04:33 AM
I don't have a cite on hand, but my impression is that they started here in Japan. US friends/coworkers used to ask me to bring them when I visited the US. I asked a barista once (this is going back 5 years or so) whether he knew whether the US would ever get them, and he said they were Japan-developed.

Enright3
03-28-2013, 06:33 AM
Wow. I learned something today. I always just assumed they were for helping mark the coffee. I.e, "the one with the stick has the double shot of espresso."

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