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1)Starbucks and their Disney-like drinks.
            Starbucks’ coffee is pretty bad. They over-roast all their coffee so as to give it a uniform taste to be had at all their gazillion shops.  This leaves it with an overly bitter, burnt taste. I will never get an espresso there and the few times I do order from these shops, I REFUSE to go along with their lingo. I will not call any coffee a “Venti” or call the dazed and spaced out Starbucks employee a “Barista”.  I say, “Can I have a coffee in that cup”, only risking an American coffee, pointing to a size, and always saying “Please” before and after.
            I remember watching “You’ve Got Mail” ---I have NO idea why--- and Tom Hanks’ character said something to the extent, “ People love Starbucks because it gives them all these choices to make.” In other words, it “empowers” them.  But what is on offer at these coffee circuses?  They serve drinks, which seem to be more concoctions than coffee.  Some drinks have so many ingredients, you wonder if there is any coffee in there at all. 
            You can go there and design whatever you want. Does anyone get that they are essentially drinking desserts?  There are so many layers of ingredients and each one is applied with it’s own design, it leaves me confused as to how to even go about consuming it. They all seem to be sprinkled with magical dusts that are supposed to conjure up fairy tale images of the weather, seasons, festivals, or whatever dumb book or CD they are promoting.  As a side note, if they promote my book, I’ll change what I wrote :-).  I prefer drinking coffee from diners that come in the blue and white “Ancient Greek Disk Thrower” themed cups.
            Then there is the problem of the stupid, big cups. Does anyone need that much liquid? If so, why not drink water? It’s better for you.
            I am happy to report that Starbucks is all over the world EXCEPT ITALY. They know they have will have a hard time breaking the back of Italy’s culture. Thank God.  Though young Italians seem keen on throwing away their culture, it is heart warming to see some things are holding on.

2) “Hipster” coffee spots
            Emotionally frustrated and physically feeble, the people who open these places pretend to be “small business” because their shops can be small, or grungy, or a “neighborhood place”.  But guess what? Their coffee still sucks!!! You can go for any theme you want, but if your coffee is no good, then who cares?  As I said in my wine book Wine Made Easy, “enthusiasm doesn’t necessarily qualify you.”  These people may have the determination to make good coffee but still can come up short.
            I don’t care about your coffees, which can only pass off as acceptable thanks to them being masked by milk, cream, foam, or whatever.  You may be fooling new Williamsburg or L.E.S.  residents, but not me.  How can they possibly say “that’s good coffee” without knowing anything?

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