Starbucks closing 3 hours Tuesday afternoon for barista training

SEATTLE (AP) -- Starbucks is shutting down its American stores today, but just for three hours.

CEO Howard Schultz has announced the closure, starting at 5:30 p.m. local time, to energize 135,000 employees.

Starbucks' 7,100 stores across America will participate in the brief barista re-education.

Schultz says he wants baristas to share their passion for making espresso, or as he says, "to pull the perfect shot, steam milk to order and customize their favorite beverage."

Schultz says it's part of his refocusing on the coffee customer experience.

Since the chairman returned as CEO in January he has been making changes to revive Starbucks' growth.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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