5 Questions with Kenneth Brown, author of Inside the Cup

Does the thought of going into Starbucks and ordering a drink intimidate you? Or, do you simply wonder exactly what separates a grande nonfat cappuccino from a venti caramel macchiato? Well, Kenneth Brown has cleared up the mystery in his book Inside the Cup: Translating Starbucks Into a Drinkable Language.

1) Why write a book about Starbucks drinks?

When I worked at Starbucks customers had so many questions about their drink, the offering, and the mystique of Starbucks. Even regulars who had been customers for years had plenty of questions. I didn’t attempt to write an exhaustive piece of work that left no Starbucks stone unturned. I simply wrote a book to answer the questions that the average customer has. After speaking with so many customers over the years it seemed like a no-brainer.

2) Why did you decide to use Kickstarter to fund the book, instead of going with a traditional publisher?
Kickstarter has been an interesting process. I’ve gotten more out of it than funding. Funding it through Kickstarter would be icing. My media blitz is a little mistimed to aid Kickstarter since most of the attention I’ve been getting will be printed in April. That’s far from a problem since it will coincide with the release of my book. What Kickstarter has done is give me an additional platform for vetting my offering. I’ve received some solid feedback and made some adjustments (some which I continue to make) ahead of my launch. Lastly, Kickstarter is one more way to market my book at no cost. There’s no reason to pass that up.
3) Are there any drinks that you left out? And why?
There certainly are some drinks that I left out. The drinks that I wrote about, and really anything that’s in the book for that matter, are all North American drinks that Starbucks always offers. I focused on staples and not promotional drinks that might show up once and never come back again. Lattes, mochas, caramel macchiatos – Starbucks will always sell these. However, I didn’t leave out all promotional drinks because some are offered every year. These include Eggnog Latte, Pumpkin Spice Latte, and Peppermint Mocha to name a few.
4) What’s your favorite Starbucks drink?

Author Kenneth Brown

Tough question. I’ve had so many opportunities to experiment and taste drinks. Protein Latte, short breve hot chocolate, and Awake Tea Latte all make my rotation. If I had to choose a favorite I would probably say an unsweetened Black Iced Tea Lemonade.

5) Are you planning on writing any more books? Or is just a one-time thing?

I’ve heard a lot of funny and heart warming stories over the years from customers and partners alike. If the response is there I’ll put together a compilation of these stories (which can be submitted via my website). I also have the notes to write a book on managing a Starbucks/coffee shop. Initially, this book was a one time thing. Ultimately, it will depend on the interest. So far the interest has been quite high. So we’ll see.
For more information on Inside the Cup: Translating Starbucks Into a Drinkable Language, please check out the official Inside the Cup website, or help fund the book on Kickstarter.
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