Irony: just a day or two ago I was saying “oh, I miss the fall in Boston, it’s so warm and sunny here in Oklahoma City…” Like hell! I’m freezing here! I miss the warmth!
Since its cold and rainy and gray and dismal outside and I don’t want to do anything other than go to a cafe and get something hot and read my book (The Confusion by Neal Stephenson, if you care) I thought I would write up a couple coffee shop reviews.
I realized that while I’ve written about Dunkin Donuts I’ve never talked about the one coffee shop I’ve been to most often, the one that’s the standby where you can always get mediocre coffee based drinks and a faux coffee-house atmosphere: Starbucks.
I think that Starbucks has perfectly captured what 99% of people think a café should be like: Indy music on the radio, cushioned chairs, drinks with Italian sounding name (though no self-respecting Italian would ever order a triple venti non-fat latte. For one thing, there’s no such thing as a latte in Italy).
Do I think they make great coffee based drinks? Of course not! The fact is, they don’t have to, to a very large extent Starbucks is now in the business of selling hot or cold sugary cream to millions of people. I would imagine most of their customers don’t even WANT to taste the coffee in their drinks. I think of their drinks as more of like a hot milkshake.
I do think that I wouldn’t be as into coffee as I am today if it weren’t for Starbucks; I probably had my first straight shot of espresso from Starbucks, and definitely my first latte or cappuccino. I actually remember my first latte, now that I think about it. I was on audit in New Jersey as an intern and was sent on a coffee run. They screwed up the order and made my managers latte with regular milk, not soy, and being lactose intolerant he gave me the latte (I was of course trying to play it cool “oh yeah, of course I love lattes, I drink them all the time” or whatever). It was terrible! In retrospect it was probably because it had tons of vanilla syrup and also splenda in it, but even on their best day Starbucks doesn’t produce a top product.
I don’t know, I’m certainly not qualified to do a review of Starbucks business practices (generally pretty good from what I understand) and all I can say is that every once in a while, while traveling or far from home, seeing a Starbucks can be a godsend.