Like many caffeine-dependent professionals, hearing the rumor that Starbucks ( SBUX) will now sell you coffee for a buck was all too exciting. After all, lesson number one in managing your money is often to give up your $4 latte-a-day habit.

After The Wall Street Journal reported that Starbucks in the Seattle region is now offering a "short brew" for just about a dollar, I hit the coffee vendor's Wall Street location to see if I could score one, too.

Starbucks for a Buck?

Upon speaking with one of the young baristas behind the counter, I found out that Starbucks' experiment in Seattle is just that -- a test run, to see if people are interested in $1 coffee. ( If? Haven't they seen the hoards of people in line at Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's ( MCD) where they can get their morning fix for less?) But, after the news of the test run broke, Starbucks baristas all over are being instructed to sell the "short brews" to those who ask for it. But don't look for it on the menu -- you have to know about it and ask for it by name.

Interestingly enough, in speaking with a woman named Susan in line ahead of me, who heard me ask for the short brew, I found out this is actually nothing new. The Wall Street Journal also reported that the eight-ounce size has been ordered for a long time by those who know about it. Susan confirmed this for me, as she said she's been ordering the short brew for three years at a vendor in midtown Manhattan.

So why aren't they advertising this inexpensive version of their elite cups of joe? My barista friend wouldn't answer that for me -- but he did say they've had quite a number of people asking for it since news of it hit the papers. After all, the cost of the Starbucks short brew beats out even Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's, whose coffees generally start in the low one-dollar price range. Starbucks blamed a slowdown in customer traffic on pressures on consumer spending last year, and even raised its prices in part due to rising milk costs.

If demand remains high for the short brew, maybe CEO Howard Schultz, who again assumed reign over Starbucks this month, will give it a spot on the coffee king's menu.
Brittany joined TheStreet.com TV in November 2006 after completing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers College. Previously, Brittany interned at the local ABC affiliate in New York City WABC-TV 7 where she helped research and produce On Your Side, a popular consumer advocacy segment.