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What is so great about Starbucks?


Tropicalsenior

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Recently @liuzhou mentioned the topic of Starbucks coffee and I found out that @kayb and I share an opinion about the quality of the coffee.

I know, they have a lot of fancy concoctions and supposedly their pastries and cakes are good but their coffee, as coffee, sucks. It always tastes burnt and it leaves an aftertaste that is reminiscent of pencil shavings.

I'm from Seattle and I would never ever go to Starbucks for coffee but it is shoved down your throat everywhere. To me there was nothing worse than having a fine meal and then to be served a cup of Starbucks.

I live in Costa Rica now which is coffee country and about four or five years ago Starbucks arrived. It is failing miserably. Soon after they arrived they started putting their coffee on the supermarket shelves. It finally wound up in their sales bins and they couldn't even get rid of it at half off.

So please tell me, if you are a Starbucks fan, is it just the mixed drinks that you like or do you actually drink their coffee?

Edited by Tropicalsenior (log)
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3 hours ago, Tropicalsenior said:

Recently @liuzhou mentioned the topic of Starbucks coffee and I found out that @kayb and I share an opinion about the quality of the coffee.

I know, they have a lot of fancy concoctions and supposedly their pastries and cakes are good but their coffee, as coffee, sucks. It always tastes burnt and it leaves an aftertaste that is reminiscent of pencil shavings.

I'm from Seattle and I would never ever go to Starbucks for coffee but it is shoved down your throat everywhere. To me there was nothing worse than having a fine meal and then to be served a cup of Starbucks.

I live in Costa Rica now which is coffee country and about four or five years ago Starbucks arrived. It is failing miserably. Soon after they arrived they started putting their coffee on the supermarket shelves. It finally wound up in their sales bins and they couldn't even get rid of it at half off.

So please tell me, if you are a Starbucks fan, is it just the mixed drinks that you like or do you actually drink their coffee?

Totally agree. Several years ago my neighborhood celebrated when we were able to keep Starbucks out of our block-long little shopping area. However, I admit that on a hot summer road trip when you spot a pathetic mall on the side of the freeway you can count on there being a Starbucks in there. An Espresso Frappuccino can be a life-saver. But I have absolutely no use for Howard Schultz. 

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Not a fan either, but there is probably worse coffee. 

 

It's a small treat/indulgence and endlessly customize-able, people can feel special for <$10.

 

When they started, they actually made coffee.  Espresso wasn't everywhere and the standard was cans of Folger's at the office.  The drinks with a pint of milk and heaps of sugar gained traction with the masses so they went after that market.  The biggest companies don't necessarily make the best products, they just know how to sell.

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I do have to admit to being a bit prejudiced because I just do not like the company. To me, they are overhyped and overpriced. And I don't like the way that they reinvented their history. Their first coffee shop was not in Pike Place Market. It was in Old Bellevue about a quarter of a mile from where I lived. I remember when they opened the Pike Place Market location. They now claim that it is the first one because that is in the tourist district.

If their company image was the best in the world it would still be the last place that I would go for just a cup of coffee because it is terrible.

Edited by Tropicalsenior (log)
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As far as I can make out, the main reason people here use the SB stores is to access the free wi-fi. People sit there nursing a cold coffee all day while tapping away on their laptops.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

Yuck! The coffee is bad enough hot but when it starts to cool off it is totally vile.

 

I don't think they actually drink it. It's just a ticket to the wi-fi. At least, I hope that's the case.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
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Well the nickname is Charbucks.  There are 2 close to me in adjacent shopping centers. Some major chain grocers have a SB kiosk inside.  The bigger one closed during Pandemic. Its true value was as a gathering place/free office space. Job interviews, tutoring, good WiFi.  An iced Passion tea and a spinach feta wrap "grilled" set me up for hours. The smaller older one was managed by a friend for a while. She won a contest for branch selling most capuchinos and won a VW convertable bug. SB finagled it so she did not personally have to pay the tax!

Edited by heidih (log)
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I don't what it is about their coffee but it gives me an almost instant stomach ache. Have not been to one in years except for when my daughter had Covid and I was dropping off treats, I got her a pumpkin spice latte🙄.

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7 minutes ago, MaryIsobel said:

I don't what it is about their coffee but it gives me an almost instant stomach ache. Have not been to one in years except for when my daughter had Covid and I was dropping off treats, I got her a pumpkin spice latte🙄.

What a fabulously clever mom you are. Now she knows better than to get covid again! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Kids, grown or otherwise, should have whatever they want when they are sick. Even a pumpkin spice latte.

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5 hours ago, liuzhou said:

As far as I can make out, the main reason people here use the SB stores is to access the free wi-fi. People sit there nursing a cold coffee all day while tapping away on their laptops.

 

This, sort of. There's one across the parking lot from the Costco I frequent, so when I'm getting some tire work done (mostly the complementary lifetime rotation and balance that came with the set on my car), I'll order a decaf Americano and kill some time reading -- often an actual book or magazine (gasp!). Not the worst coffee beverage I've ever had, but far from the best. I do indeed sometimes use *$$ for the wi-fi, most recently at the airport in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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Restrooms also and A/C. Used to wait at the one nearest LAX for a text that my guests were here They did not have a public restroom for customers - sent you across parking lot to the large chain grocery. Claimed issues with homeless...

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We had a Coffee Connection in town that morphed into a Starbucks; my neighbor and I would go there on a Saturday afternoon and have a great time chatting and catching up (this was in the Dark Ages before cell phones 😉) and the coffee at the time was pretty good and it didn't cost an arm and a leg either.  Now they are on Every. Single. Corner. and the coffee isn't all that great (although I do enjoy the iced Burnt Sugar Oatmilk one on a hot summer day).  I like some of their drinks, but not the coffee.  I too find it bitter.  I did have a pumpkin spice latte last fall and I have no clue what the hype is about that.  It tasted like cinnamon milk and it was a waste of $.

 

And then they started selling OLIVE OIL in the coffee.  🙄🤦‍♀️

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9 minutes ago, JeanneCake said:

And then they started selling OLIVE OIL in the coffee.  🙄🤦‍♀️

When I saw that earlier this year I Googled and found that supposedly this is a big thing in Italy. It's supposed to mellow out the bitterness. Seems like they would save a lot of time and money just by not burning the beans.

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One time in DC we went to the local coffee shop near where we were staying and had probably the worst espresso drink of my life. After that it was the Starbucks across the street, where the coffee was consistently average. Can't drink their drip but the espresso is adequate, not up to Melbourne standards and they haven't done well in Australia. Then again, you can get a coffee in the afternoon there and it is a good place to hang out, which isn't really part of our coffee culture. I confess to liking a little darker roast than you usually get here.

 

And green tea frappuccino. No syrup and extra matcha. Guilty pleasure. 

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It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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There is also the culture of the staff knowing you. And it is also round here a safe after school hang or taxi wait for kids as they wait for pick-uo from parents or for tutoringg, Kinda like that old TV show Cheers about the bar  "where everybody knows your name" There is one closer to the ocean look out with outdoor firepits. Major hang out spot. I was there once working n area and they had a major West Coast barista competition.Fun to watch.

https://www.yelp.ca/biz/starbucks-rancho-palos-verdes-3?hrid=edZEOj_HjYgkk_b1Mpdaug&rh_type=phrase&rh_ident=fire_pit

Edited by heidih (log)
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I don’t drink coffee; I never really did. 
 

That said; I think, in my experience, Starbucks became a legit excuse to get out of the office for a break. 
 

 I found this to be true when I worked in the suburbs (but since I don’t drink coffee I never participated) and even more factual when I worked in Manhattan. 
 

I lived off Venti Green tea and lemonade unsweetened ice teas. The Starbucks across from my office was usually filled with people from my office or the parent company I worked for (think advertising) and it was totally acceptable to out your phone on DND and mutter “Starbucks” and walk away. 
 

 Starbucks, in my experience, was the modern day “water cooler”. We all eventually gravitated there; it wasn’t particularly good, but their iced tea is decent. Dunkin doesn’t have remotely decent iced tea. 

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10 hours ago, C. sapidus said:

Hey I prefer darker roasts

I also prefer the darker roast. I freely admit that I am not a coffee connoisseur and I can drink coffee anywhere from dark roast to coffee flavored water. I think I've tried every brand of coffee that they sell in Costa Rica (except the Starbucks). I've had hundreds of cups of coffee in restaurants and nowhere do they have the burnt, bitter flavor that you get in Starbucks coffee. It's all in the roast.

A lot of the coffee that Starbucks uses comes from Costa Rica. Within 10 miles of me there are huge farms that have signs proclaiming that their coffee is destined for Starbucks. Something happens between the field and the cup and it's not the fault of the coffee beans.

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When I'm dying for coffee and Starbucks is the only option around, I'll drink a latte with an extra shot. The milk tamps down the bitterness enough to make it drinkable, and hey, it's caffeine. Their chai latte is pretty good. And the ones at airports always have the prepackaged yogurt/fruit/granola cups.

 

 

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I'd be surprised if even those who go there every day would describe Starbucks as "so great."

They're ubiquitous, reliable (consistently average, in @haresfur's words), they provide addictive substances (caffeine, sugar) that many develop strong cravings for, and offer a relatively comfortable place to consume them or make it easy to take them with you.  Like @MetsFan5 said, it's an escape from an office, from home, from a car or delivery van.  A safe place for an informal meeting.  Pretty soon, like @heidih said, you've become a regular.  They know your name and your order.  It's a routine, a habit.   Nothing "so great" about the coffee itself,  the greatness is their marketing genius at getting so many to buy in....daily... or even more often! 

 

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