July 15, 2004

Bucks Bashing

I'll say it. I like Starbucks.

Do you have a problem with that? Some of my friends do. It seems to upset them that I actually like the plain ol' regular coffee at Starbucks. They're very quick to say things like "Coffee Bean is better!" But I've noticed there's a certain attitude that seems to accompany it-- a certain gleam in their eyes that makes me wonder if this goes deeper than coffee.

Maybe they're troubled by the whole monopoly of Starbucks. I'm not saying that they don't actually like Coffee Bean, but I think they also want to like Coffee Bean. Or Peete's. Or anything that's not Starbucks. Like on some subconscious level this is their chance to be Luke Skywalker shooting at the evil coffee Death Star.

Sure, you can goof on Starbucks if you must. I won't even try to make a defense. But I have to say, the whole-- "Starbucks is so pretentious, and confusing what with a small is "Tall" and medium is "Grande" and it's so expensive, and these teenagers today with their rock and roll and blah blah blabiddy blah blah blahbiddy." I know! You're right! But I don't care. I like it anyway. And those kind of comments are getting kinda creaky. It's all sounds pretty "Leno." (And I also think goofing on Leno is about ten minutes away from being very Leno itself.)

Some people tell me Starbucks tastes burned. What can I say? Maybe I've acquired a taste for burned coffee beans. And if it does taste burned, at least it's consistently burned. I remember when I thought beer tasted yucky, too. That little problem seems to have gone away. And personally I think Coffee Bean coffee tastes a little sour. So there.

Young Skywalker, if you must blast the Bucks, go ahead. As for me, it's 6:45 in the morning and I sure could go for a hot corporate grande cup of conformity right now.

Click here for The Sneeze Home Page!
Posted by Steven | Archive

In my little trendy town, there is a Starbucks and a place called Uncommon Grounds, a small business owners dream. It is right in the center of town and they roast their own beans in house and I happened to be friends with some of the people who work there. I go there for my coffee and bagels. Either way, both places are always brimming with people, burned coffee or not, and I refuse to take part in the "My Coffee Is Better Than Yours" Wars that people want to enagage in. My favorite new quote is very appropriate in this situation...
"This is not the hill to die on."
There is an assload of goings on in the world, order your Grande or your Super Happy Large and add your Sugar in the Raw or your Equal and your Soymilk or your Half and Half, and smile at the the person next to you in line as you wipe the sleep out of your eyes. Burned to a crisp with the nasty aftertaste and all like Starbucks or perfectly roasted and flavored to perfection like Uncommon Grounds. Either way, enjoy it, and be happy.

Posted by: Nicole at July 15, 2004 7:24 AM

My biggest beef with Starbucks is that they over-sweeten their drinks (I want my coffee drink to taste like.....coffee!). My husband likes his coffee to taste like dessert so he loves it. But, their shaken iced coffee drink is PERFECT!!! You can't get anything like it anywhere else.
But, I do like supporting the "little guy" so if I can find a decent independant store I'll go there. This was easier to do when I lived in Portland. Now I'm in Phoenix and there's not too much in the way of the little mom and pop's coffee stores.

Posted by: jonag at July 15, 2004 8:10 AM

I totally agree. I mean where does it stop. My latte is better than your cafe mocha? People will find anything to argue about just for the sake of conversation. Just get your coffee sit back relax and talk about how much you both love coffee in general. Or if you must argue about something, then argue over the coolness of IRONJAW!!! He's the best!

Posted by: travis at July 15, 2004 8:15 AM

I don't mind Starbucks, I spent some time in them when I was travelling (useful when you want to hide away somewhere and read for a few hours for the price of a coffee). I do, however, take issue with this damn Grande, Tall, whatever malarky. If it's a small, call it a small, if it's a large, call it a large.

But the thing that annoys me the most: I can't walk in a order a coffee! I want a regular coffee, not an Americano because someone thought it was cool to rename it and now all the staff will reply with blank looks or 'Oh, do you mean an Americano?' like I'm dumb.

I mean a coffee, a regular coffee like that which was being served some considerable time before Starbucks arrived, that's what I want. Corporate crap, that's what and Americano is.

And, another thing I take issue with, do we need 2 on the same street, let alone 2 opposite each other (they even take the p*ss on this point in Shrek 2)? No, we don't.

Posted by: Lee at July 15, 2004 8:18 AM

I like Starbucks, but I did have to get used to the price. I got 2 blended coffee iced sweet whatevers and 2 chocolate cream cheese brownie things and it was about $17. That's a little pricey for me. I put the other $3 out of my yuppie food stamp into the tip jar. I know it's hard to remember how to make all those things and retail sucks. Then I sat down with my girlfriend to enjoy our goodies and we broke wind. It was magical.

Posted by: Benford at July 15, 2004 8:38 AM

Starbucks does a shit-load of good in the world. Their stores may occasionally drive some local vendor into retirement but that has to be balanced against the enormous ammount of philanthropy Starbucks performs. Starbucks is the single largest buyer of Fair-Trade coffee in the world. That alone helps improve the lives of thousands of people around the world.

As far as big nasty evil corporate monoliths go, Starbucks is pretty okay by me.

Posted by: kevin at July 15, 2004 8:57 AM

I liked Starbucks at one time. A lot. But I discovered through trial and error that my body can't handle the Starbucks Latte. Is it the whole milk? Must be some sort of special brand because I'm not lactose intolerant. But for some reason, about 1 hour after downing a Starbucks' Vanilla Latte the acute pain in my groin area makes me head to the little boys' room for about 30 minutes while gushing noises you don't usually associate with stall-sitting echo throughout the chamber.

That's a cute little picture I painted wasn't it?
Maybe I'll try the non-fat latte.

Posted by: Topcad at July 15, 2004 9:21 AM

Starbucks Gingerbread Latte, when available, is the best thing they have to offer. Generally their frozen drinks are too sweet and always irritate my system. Coffee Bean is perfect for frozen drinks, but not hot ones. The vanilla Ultimate is perfect.

Posted by: Melissa at July 15, 2004 9:24 AM

The prices are high, but they aren't much different from other places. Even Dunkin' Doughnuts is on the pricey side these days.

Posted by: Jason at July 15, 2004 9:26 AM

Starbucks pours a good cup of joe, you can't take that away from them. I do appreciate that they make their blends available for homebrews, which not everyone does. My only real gripe with them is they won't give me coffee with bourbon in it, which is what I really want.

Posted by: Matt at July 15, 2004 9:27 AM

I don't drink as much coffee as I used to, but I like both Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. As long as it's better than the stuff I have at work (lousy gutrot), I'm okay with it.

Sometimes the "local" place has better stuff, sometimes it doesn't. I find that Starbucks' Chai Latte is better than anywhere else, so I get that most often.

Posted by: Jon at July 15, 2004 9:28 AM

I can't spit without a hitting a goddamn Starbucks, it makes me sick! My beef with it is the same problem with those Ginormous Evil Death Star Corporations, they put the good places out of business. THe little mom & pop shops that have been on the block for 50 years that really know how to make good coffe, or an awesome burger and fries, and possibly charges 50 cents more a cup or sandwich but essentially blows the big companies out of the water, with quality, service, and most of the time some fucking personality and character!! If I had the knowledge and downright nuttiness I'd pull a "Fight Club Takedown" on every damn "Bucks" in the greater Chicago Metropolitan area. (Sorry this issue gets me worked up)

Posted by: collin at July 15, 2004 10:04 AM

Anyone who complains about Starbuck's, Wal*Mart, The Gap, etc... is a freakin hypocrite! You self-righteous, high-horse, white-washed tombs! If you were in their shoes you'd do the same things. Don't you try to save a buck here and there evrywhere you go? Don't you try to sell your product or service to everyone when you know they really don't need it or there's another one out there that's cheaper than yours? Don't you try to beat your competitor at everything in whatever business you're in? You're so lame pointing the finger at these big corporations calling them names. You're just jealous, deep down that's what it is. You want what they want (success, money, power). Business is business man!

Posted by: EB at July 15, 2004 10:09 AM

I'd get my coffee at Starbuck's, but I can never seem to find one of the darn things.

Posted by: Pete at July 15, 2004 11:08 AM

love this blog!

i never go to any of these fancy coffee places (even though their coffee is great). i can't take the poodle owning bored house wives ordering:

double tall half caf soy milk not so hot lite foam machiato cappucino with whip

get a life - it's a f'ing drink not your next novel. :)

starbucks even published a little book on how to order - thought that was very funny.

outside seattle, wa (of course)

Posted by: ben at July 15, 2004 11:25 AM

I agree with the "burnt taste" of Fourbucks, I mean, Starbucks coffee. However, I do love a good cup of joe. Here's the trick... Go to a nice gourmet food store and buy some WHIPASS coffee beans. Then, when you get 'em home, BREW them. It is so cool how I can get a refill without some pretentious fuck or some "look-at-me-what-are-you-looking-at-quit-looking-at-me" shit behind a counter giving me some bored sigh about it. It's also really cool when I check my tip jar next to my coffee pot and I've left myself some change.
Brew your own and enjoy it. Play with the recipes. You can even froth your own milk at home. Hell, I've set up a nice little coffee station in my kitchen. (the chicks dig it)
Now, if it's the status that you're in search of, you can get around that too.... Lie. Spring for a "Vente'Grande'Cup-e' of coffee-e'" at Tarbucks and reuse it with your home brew. It's not against any laws and it will still make you look oh, so, cool.
Also, if you just love the taste of Tarbucks, you can save the $5. and burn the shit out of your own coffee.
Just a thought.

Posted by: Ron at July 15, 2004 11:38 AM

I'd have to agree with the poster about 10 posts up...I like Starbucks coffee (actually, their beans, because the coffee is just too damned confusing to order), but the one thing that I absolutely CANNOT order there is a frappuchino. I don't know what kind of chemicals they put in there, but I know if I ever need a case of explosive diarrhea, just add Frappuchino. My god, a half of one of those things will get me travelling down the hershey highway in about 7 minutes. The sad thing is that I forget this EVERY YEAR and have one in the beginning of the summer, only to remember once I hit the bottom of the cup and the stomach starts percolating. Damn, those things are good, though.

Posted by: ralph at July 15, 2004 11:53 AM

When I was in Seattle I rarely had a mocha (my only coffee drink) at a Starbucks. There were so many corner stands that made them so much better I would rather go to them. Especially the 24 hour ones...mmm, miss those.

Anyhow, down here in the Inland Empire any coffee shop (the few that exist) besides Starbucks DO NOT know how to make a damn mint mocha. So, if I'm craving one I find a Starbucks because at least they have mint (which many other places don't).

I say all this but I used to have mochas all the time and now probably only five a year. :P

Posted by: Alicia at July 15, 2004 12:31 PM

Mmmmmm, we love the Starbucks. Not only do they make a geat product, they are also a responsible employer who is very good to their employees, as I was once.

Starbie's is convinced that longer roasting brings out more flavour in the coffee. Maybe yah, maybe nah, but I think they're onto something, even though I do not typically drink coffee.

And don't worry y'all, you can order half-sweet fraps. Ask for half frap mix and half milk.

Posted by: Shiz at July 15, 2004 12:49 PM

The only thing I don't like about Starbucks is that it is, like Jesus, Omnipresent.

Only Jesus should be Omnipresent.

Starbucks is obviously the anti-Christ.

Posted by: Jim at July 15, 2004 12:55 PM

As a Canadian I can only say two words: Tim F-ing Hortons, Baby!

I like plain coffee, eh? And I can't count.

Do you like how I can simultaneously rip off the Sneeze title bar AND Midnight Run? I'm good.

Posted by: Glen at July 15, 2004 1:45 PM

Starbucks probably intentionally has their coffee roasted more than others. This is due to the fact that as you roast coffee beans more and more, the specific character of the coffee beans disappears and a roasted or burnt character becomes dominant. This is not a bad thing at all; many people like this dark roast character and roasting coffee darker normalizes the coffee by removing most off flavors (and desirable flavors along with it) and gives a very consistent, recognizable taste. The Coffee Bean probably uses older coffee (Starbucks must have a very high turnover in comparison), under-roasts their coffee, or uses coffee that is too low quality to roast so lightly.

Posted by: Mark at July 15, 2004 1:59 PM

I'm with Glen. Who needs that preppy pseudo-bohemian oh-so-trendy shit when at Tim Horton's they'll give you a decently priced cup of coffee - not half-caf carob mocha low-carb with whip or whatever the fuck they call it, but COFFEE!

Posted by: Meg at July 15, 2004 1:59 PM

I'm pretty sure they sell "COFFEE" at Starbucks.

Posted by: phil at July 15, 2004 3:19 PM

I used to be anti-Starbucks preferring the more underground mom'n'pop coffee places... Then I changed jobs. My new boss owns stock in Starbucks... and whoever goes to get his coffee gets theirs paid for by him. With a deal like that, I couldn't help conforming. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford my coffee habit!

Posted by: Danielle at July 15, 2004 4:11 PM

chains are successful based on one specific characteristic; consistency. everywhere you go, you spot them golden arches, them anatomically incorrect breasts (shouldn't there be nipples?) you know what you're gonna get. all well and good, except that i prefer variety. when visiting another city or country, i'll happily trade a little awkwardness while i learn the lingo on a local shop's menu for maybe the chance of having something that's at least slightly different than what i can get at home. i'd much rather live in a world of variety and texture, and that's why you'll never see me in line at starbucks.

Posted by: dood at July 15, 2004 5:14 PM

Thanks for the great post Steve. I didn't read the rest of the comments so I'm sure people have said the same thing, but I always hear people talking about how starbucks/walmart is terrible and evil and such. I mention walmart because it is the same nonsense. "Walmart makes other companies go out of business! Wah wah wah!". Yes, it does, that's what a succesful company will do in a free market capitalist society. Sorry.

Posted by: Lon at July 15, 2004 8:29 PM

i often feel that i SHOULD remain idealisic, and stay faithful to my favorite local coffeehouse... but honestly, there's a starbucks right next to where i work, and it's just so convenient. thanks for validating my lapses into conformity.

Posted by: audrey at July 15, 2004 8:59 PM

Oh my god !!!

what a very interesting debate "I love Starbucks".
Thats amazing to see the best example of corporate america working so well. You re so full of shit drinking coffee all day long, from a big company that is raping the environment, bying some "fair trade" coffee to decorate the front of the counter and selling you expensive creamy sugary camel pee, making huge profit on each cup they sell and fucking you and the producers deep in the ass. And the most funny stuff is that people are writting about it and so enthousiatic about is, I love starbuck oh yeah give me some more baby deeper deeper!!!!.
I am not saying starbucks is worse than the rest but this debate sounds like " whats your favorite crap or shit ??".
You guys dont know what coffee is and you are fuckin hopeless.
see you tomorrow for the I love "burger king" debate

Posted by: Tristan at July 15, 2004 9:22 PM

There are few things on this planet that have provided me with glee and joy like the Starbucks nonfat peppermint latte. I love it so. I do. I would hump it, were humping a coffee beverage acceptable in today's society.

I know it's all haute and shit to support the anti-establishment... damn the money-grubbing, corporate, cookie-cutter man and all that malarky, but what it boils down to is that I can go 30 feet and find a Starbucks that will crap out a fancy $5 coffee in 30 seconds and I can go about my day.

If it had time to fart around and support Mom and Pop, I would, but I've got shit to do.

Posted by: Joelle at July 16, 2004 3:57 AM

As a native of Buffalo, New York (in close proximity to Canada), I've got to agree with Glen about Tim Horton's coffee. The top price for the biggest cup of joe they offer is $1.45 (American currency).

I no longer live in Buffalo and I no longer drink coffee, because I really need to sleep once in a while.

Posted by: Danielle at July 16, 2004 6:22 AM

I worked in Osaka, Japan, for one year--and the first three months were hell. The best cup of coffee on the Kansai peninsula was served in a chain of French bistro-ish coffee houses called Dutour (or something like that). The coffee tasted great, but it cost about $3 for 4 tablespoons. I nearly went broke just trying to wake up every morning.
A little more than two months after I arrived in Japan, I noticed a new coffee shop under construction not far from my office.
Starbucks. Hallelujah.
I pressed my nose against the frosted glass, trying to get a peak inside. I wasn't all that excited about the coffee, itself. I wanted to see the cups. Tall? Grande?
I trembled with anticipation for three weeks. Passing by the coffee shop each day--still tantalizingly under construction. I quivered with delight when I saw a team of movers carrying tables and chairs into the coffee shop.
All the while, my co-workers (all from England, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, etc.) sneered at the unborn Starbucks, heaped their scorn upon it. "Cultural imperialist pigs," they said. "Worse than McDonald's" (which was and is everywhere in Japan). "Why can't you ugly Americans stay in America?" And the worst... "Starbucks coffee tastes like pisswater."
But I waited, unfazed.
And then...the doors were open.
How do you order a large coffee at a Japanese Starbucks?
"Goh-rande ko-hee, onegai shimas."
Say it. I still find myself wanting to say it whenever I walk into a Starbucks, and I've been back in America for 2 1/2 years.
"Goh-rande ko-hee, onegai shimas."
In the summertime...
"Goh-rande I-so ko-hee, onegai shimas."
Say it. It will set you free.
Within two weeks of opening day, I began noticing co-workers surreptitiously sneaking venti lattes and grande caramel frappuccinos into the office under their coats.
I thanked them for their continued support in our effort to civilize and Americanize the world.

Posted by: fxbarlowe at July 16, 2004 10:07 AM

Love the Starbucks: coffee and lattes (but not the frappucinos - they ARE intestinal death in a cup) ...And talk about loving Starbucks - I know someone who has part of the logo as a tattoo. Really.

Posted by: Sue at July 16, 2004 2:05 PM

Ah, another being who recognizes the absurdity of the obviousness of the humour that is Jay Leno. He makes me cringe, with his explaining everything after he tells it. Yeesh.

And for the record, coffee wars is kind of a (sadly) mid-90's kind of thing to care about. I'm glad you didn'y get your knickers in a bunch over it. Heh.

Posted by: Kirstin at July 16, 2004 2:12 PM

In all fairness, Tim Hortons is not even owned by Canadians anymore. They are as "corporate" as Starbucks (and much more dominant 'round these parts). What's funny is the national grocery chain (Loblaws) has released their own "Canadian Blend" of coffee in a can. Canadian Blend? We don't grow no coffee here, Chief! They are marketing a blend that tastes like TH! Weird!

Who wants a Coke?

Posted by: Glen at July 16, 2004 4:21 PM

saying something is "10 minutes from being Leno" is so Leno...

Posted by: Micah at July 17, 2004 2:58 AM

Less than 1 percent of the coffee that Starbucks buys is "fair trade". And they put it up front on the counters in bags so you can see it. Try asking them for a cup of fair trade coffee and see what they say.

The only reason they buy "any" fair trade coffee is because of a long arduous campaign by activists to get them to.

So, they are unfairly paying pennies to impoverished workers for over 99 percent of the coffee they buy. Then they charge you $4 for a cup. There are people starving because of the prices that Starbucks is paying for coffee beans, yet they have the unmitigated gall to charge so much for a cup of plain old joe.

No one has even mentioned that they use bovine growth hormone laced milk. Yum!

I don't blame them though, it's the consumer's fault. Corporations like Starbucks rely on the ignorance or apathy of consumers to not know or not care what they are buying. If you knew the truth about the conditions that the non fair trade farmers faced and you cared about how Starbucks buying tactics impacted them, then you wouldn't be buying their lattes or Americanos or whatever.

I'm not an activist or extremist, but I know right from wrong, and you won't catch me drinking their coffee while families are starving for my "convenience".

Posted by: Ted at July 17, 2004 8:44 AM

I have no idea about their politics or evil business model, and you can tell me it all tastes burnt, but I must point out that REGULAR COFFE AT STARBUCKS DOES NOT COST $4.00. Their largest regular coffee (20 oz.) is $1.60. And refills are only 50 cents.

I will not argue that the fancy macchiatos and lattes are all overpriced, but people need to stop saying that coffee is $3.00 and up. It's not.

Posted by: Steve at July 17, 2004 10:45 AM

i'm indonesian. fyi, starbucks is a brand new 'plague' here in my country.

never came to my mind before that it has created this kind of matter-of-choices in its own parent country (well, USA isnt it?).

i thought it has became one new 'religion' in your country and even the tastier coffee bean couldnt beat it. oh yes, i personally like the coffee bean's better.

while few of my friends that dont know how to differ a taste of 'this' kind of coffee and 'that' kind of coffee just dont choose starbucks because they dont wanna be seen 'following the stream'.

u see now guys, how to be 'too much' or 'being the most' of anything can be so self-destroyed. in this case, starbucks has became the most popular coffee brand and somehow turned out that it's became its own victim.


Posted by: mod at July 17, 2004 1:44 PM

Happily ignorant...

deliciously apathetic...

Sorry to say it, but higher consciousness tastes like crap.

Posted by: fxbarlowe at July 17, 2004 1:45 PM

See my April 23 Blog Entry @ http://ranger-bob.net. Star-Schmucks Coffee -- Indeed!


Posted by: Ranger Bob at July 17, 2004 1:53 PM

Also see Rob's latest prank here.


Posted by: Ranger Bob at July 17, 2004 1:54 PM

The BEST java in the world.. but Krispy Cremes has the market on doughnuts (soon).


Posted by: Ranger Bob at July 17, 2004 1:56 PM

::sarcasm::In the small town of (Omitted for security reasons) we have no Starbucks.
So instead of some quality, the-price-is-just-right, fresh brewed Starbucks goodness I'm forced to drink Oregon Chai with a triple espresso at the Brown Bag, one of those abhorrent privately owned, well-maintained, service-with-a-smile kinda places.::sarcasm::

Seriously though, if I can get really good coffee from some small time shop where they actually care to have my business, I'm going to. But if I'm out of town and going into withdrawals, and there's a Starbucks on the corner (and there always is) I’m probably going to grab a Grande, because, lets face it, at 6:30am coffee is coffee.

Posted by: Tristan the Unworthy at July 17, 2004 3:24 PM

I’m probably going to grab a Grande, because, lets face it, at 6:30am coffee is coffee.

Then you have no tastebuds is what you're really saying?

Posted by: Ranger Bob at July 17, 2004 4:35 PM

I actually had someone tell me yesterday that Tim's coffee tasted "burned" to him (Tim's for crying out loud... a Canadian institution!). I told him he was nuts - maybe he was just too used to all those other places where the coffee tasted like water. He wasn't used to what coffee tasted like anymore.

But I actually find Starbucks to have some bitter aftertaste, so I don't drink it, even though there's one across the street from me at work. The Tim's is a little farther and packed with the five-line line-up (I like hyphens), but I choose to drink there.

Posted by: jafer at July 17, 2004 9:49 PM

jesus people. its coffee. get over it. if you dont like starbucks, fine. but stop shoving your environmentalist views in everyone elses faces. maybe it IS an american steriotype but i'm lazy and when i want my coffee i'll take what i can get. and lets face it, theres no where you can hide from starbucks.

Posted by: Allison at July 17, 2004 10:13 PM

Lima, OH has no Starbucks. To those who dislike the chain: I'll take your Starbucks if you'll take our conservatives.

Posted by: red_beard_neo at July 17, 2004 10:30 PM

I think that there are so many starbucks because....it's actually fuckin good! But I live a block away from a 7-eleven and I enjoy paying a mere $1.33 for my daily 24 ounces of warm caffienated fluid.

Posted by: Rachael at July 18, 2004 1:24 PM

Does Tim Horton's sell their beans? I'd love to brew some up.

Posted by: Steve at July 18, 2004 3:03 PM

They do indeed sell cans of pre-ground coffee but I don't think they sell beans, per se. Drop me a line and I'll send you some.

Posted by: Glen at July 18, 2004 5:44 PM

If you don't mind donating your $$$ to some corporate millionaire instead of some hard working person in your community who will spend it in your community then you should definately go to starbucks. Don't forget to get the paper thingy that goes around your paper cup so you can also donate to the millionaires at International Paper.

Posted by: Forest at July 18, 2004 9:50 PM

I don't hate nor love Starbucks. If I have a choice of a number of coffee places to go to, I will choose the locally owned shop that tastes the best. I get skim mochas and americanos mostly.
It's important to me to support small local businesses because I enjoy the atmosphere and the 'flavor' of my downtown business district. Giving a nice local shop my business, even if their coffee is slightly less tasty than a chain's, is small sacrifice to me to keep the ambiance and small boutique/independant community in my town. But if I am traveling I have no problem stopping wherever is convenient to grab a coffee.
I don't think Starbucks is evil nor the people who patronize it, but I'd just rather patronize a small locally owned business. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's all about just doing what's important to you. If Starbucks coffee tastes better to you and that's your main concern, then you go on with your bad self.
Our town, for example is growing less and less unique and artsy as the big chains move in and put the small businesses out of business. The small businesses and ambiance of my town is really important to me and I would be one of those people who would suggest "this local place is better!" just to give people alternatives to something they mght not know about. Starbucks is an obvious coffee choice. They have a huge presence and some people may not be aware of the local alternatives because they can't advertise like Starbucks can. The average joe who supports local businesses and encourages other people to, by saying something like "coffee bean is better!" is the main form of advertising for the small independant shops. Don't be too hard on them. If the taste of Starbucks coffee is better to you and that's your most important requirement then you go on with your bad self.

Posted by: edna million at July 19, 2004 6:45 AM

Well, I tend to be a bit of a beverage snob. I prefer good local microbrews and even Sam Adams to Bud and other mass-produced suds, and I prefer the complex flavors of good coffees. Starbucks beats the heck out of a lot of places, but they do roast their beans to the point of killing a lot of the more complex flavors-- but that's fine sometimes. Personally, I'm offended by the really high prices of so many coffee shops, monster chains or not. I find it is far, far, cheaper to buy some fresh roasted whole Jamaican Blue Mountain beans and grind them myself. The flavor can't be beat, and I'm not into coffee shop atmosphere anyway.

Posted by: Mac at July 19, 2004 11:49 AM

If you think that Sam Adams isn't "mass-produced suds", think again. The bulk of Sam Adams beer is contract brewed by megas like Strohs, Blitz-Weinhard and Genesse.

Same vats, same people, different label. Sad but true.

As for Whorebucks, the regular drip coffee they brew tastes like ass. I much prefer Peets if I can get it, or even the lighter than air blends shelled out at Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' D's.

I've had 2 day old church bingo coffee that tastes better than Starbucks drip.

Posted by: Monkeyface at July 19, 2004 2:30 PM

I'm not a big fan of Starbucks, if only because I go in and order a 'large coffee, two sugars, one milk' I then get about 10 other questions like do you mean grande? Or what kind fo coffee? I get too frustrated going in there early in the morning, or between classes when I was at school only half awake trying to get a cup of coffee. Besides, I'm from Hamilton, home of Tim Hortons, and they are like the Canadian starbucks around here with regrads to the number of stores floating around. ALthough an extra large is about $1.60 Cad. Sadly, their donuts are shitty know, since they decided to go to frozen product instead of the old fashioned, hand made from scractch by bakers donuts that they used to have. All in the name of uniformity. I personally drop in a complaint once in a while about the quality of them just to show my personal disatisfaction. Not to mention that bakers used to get paid a lot more, but now all they really do is unpack them and deep fry them, so they get about $8 an hour, where as before they'd make anywhere frpm $100-160, depending on the size of the bake, that usually took a little over 6 hours.

Posted by: Canadian Pete at July 27, 2004 1:03 PM

Starbucks coffee is not great, but I have no big objection to it. Its the atmosphere that really goads me. Whoever designs that garbage on the walls should be shot. Its also too noisy. Id rather drink coffee in a high school cafeteria.

The food is atrocious. Their pastry should be featured on "Steve dont eat it".

The "goddess" on the logo is actually a Norse goddess of war. In the original glyph, she is standing atop a mountain of human skulls.

Posted by: Mackinson at July 27, 2004 8:26 PM

I don't like coffee. I have been to Starbucks once, to order a caramel macchiato, and I didn't like it. But I blame that on the fact that I don't like coffee. I prefer Mt. Dew. You see, no matter where I go, the price of Mt Dew is always roughly the same....maybe with a standard deviation of roughly 10 cents. Not bad. And I can get it at mom and pop places, wal-mart, gas stations, my refridgerator...hell, I could go on for hours.

Oh, and stop saying that corporate America sucks. It is just trendy now to say that you prefer mom and pop places....its ok, go on and differentiate, but don't bash on assimilators. They have feelings too.

Posted by: melissa at July 28, 2004 5:56 PM

You coffee snobs! You don't even appreciate your coffee anymore! I drink whatever I can find... day-old gas station coffee, Mickey D's mud, instant Folgers from the lunch cart, and as a result, I know good coffee when I drink it, and I appreciate it every time. You people and your high-class drugs... ;-)

Posted by: Mongo at July 29, 2004 12:02 PM

I too, have come to terms with my Starbucks lust. When I worked in Biotech in Boston, I could have Starbucks everyday and I fucking LOVED it. Not only was there Starbucks on every corner in the city, but my company ground Starbucks beans FRESH[!] at our coffee machines. It was AWESOME. It felt so decadent and not just a little bit naughty. Like surfing porn sites at work or something. Or moblogging about your boss while in a meeting given BY your boss. Alas, now I work in a rural South Carolina town at a facility that is 20 MILES FROM THE CLOSEST BUSINESS. Plus, we have to pay a quarter, a fucking quarter, for the scalded shit juice labeled as "COFFEE, INSTITUTIONAL USE ONLY". God Damn I miss that corporate coffee.

Posted by: Francis at July 30, 2004 7:37 AM