A brilliant inversion

When I said in the last post that the logic behind the name of the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is “known only to a room full of lame marketers,” I was wrong. My decidedly non-lame friend Wendy knows the truth and reveals it in the comments:

You can have a latte macchiatto, though, right? Where the milk is poured first, then marked with foam. Macchiatto doesn’t have to do with the amount of milk, but the marking. Most people get an espresso machiatto — an espresso marked with steamed milk. But there is such a thing (outside of the siren’s realm, even) as a latte machiatto. This is where the inspiration came from, because the Caramel Machiatto (insert registered trademark sign here) is steamed milk marked with both espresso AND caramel. It’s still misleading, yes, but not quite in the way you think.

Do you realize what a brilliant inversion this is? It’s as if Starbucks was publicly admitting, “We’re not a coffee company anymore, we’re a milk and sugar company. But sometimes we’ll mark our milk and sugar drinks with coffee so you can feel good about ordering them for breakfast.” I love it! I will no longer mock the company for the silly name of this drink now that I’m aware of the genius behind it.

Wendy also reveals that Starbucks once required all its employees to wear tie dye shirts for its 25th anniversary celebration. Weird.

And lest I defame Wendy, Seattlite and coffee lover, by portraying her as an all-out Starbucks apologist, I’ll link to her eclectic list of top five coffee experiences. None of them involve caramel, frappe powder, or the whir of a super automatic espresso machine.

[Cross-posted on Smelling the Coffee.]


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