Now that we live next to a Starbucks, Rachel is starting to train their baristas (coffee makers). Rachel has specific taste when it comes to coffee, and it's not uncommon for her to have a drink remade, only to have me ask for it to be remade a 3rd time. An example of Rachel's discriminating palate: anything hot should be 170 degrees, and anything iced should have an extra shot. Not only this, but a mocha should have half the chocolate, and 1 pump of vanilla. Her summer drink is an "iced double tall 2-pump caramel latte with pump caramel instead of real caramel." (My summer drink is an iced grande no-water Americano with extra ice, Rachel just calls this "3 shots over ice." When at The Coffee Cottage, we both get a double iced white chocolate mochas, because they're fabulous)
1) Baristas should have a license (like bartenders, only optional) so customers will know where to find the consistently good coffee.
2) A great idea is to have a computer screen where complicated drink-orderers can enter their drink information, and the information is sent to the barista ensuring that the drink will be correct.
3) Any coffee shop that invests the money in a La Marzocco machine probably cares about the coffee they make. Two places to find great coffee and La Marzoccos: Dog River Coffee in Hood River (owner thought I was swiping the logo from the machine), and Vivace Coffee & Crepes on Portland's 23rd Street (owner winked as I exclaimed, "ooh, La Marzocco").