Melody Overton, who might know more about what's happening at Starbucks than most of its employees, passed along this item about a test in Chicago. At StarbucksMelody.com this week, she features a few other Starbucks tests, including a "drip only" line at another Chicago store.

EmailOrder.jpgMelody Overton, who might know more about what’s happening at Starbucks than most of its employees, passed along this item about a test in Chicago. At StarbucksMelody.com this week, she features a few other Starbucks tests, including a “drip only” line at another Chicago store.

Melody’s friend David Stone, a Chicago attorney and Starbucks regular, snapped this photo of a new service at his local cafe that lets customers order drinks by e-mail five minutes before they arrive.

The system works like this, he said: Using a registered Starbucks card, e-mail your order and pay for it before arriving. The drink will be waiting for you at the hand-off counter with your name on it. Like the sign says, it’s available from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

That’s even faster than the Blackberry app Starbucks recently launched, which lets you pay for your drink by displaying a bar code on your hand-held device. With that app, you still have to stand in line and order.

Workers at the Chicago store told Stone that fewer than 50 regulars are using the service, which is in a small store inside tall office building.