Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

I am sure that this topic has come up but I am wondering where egulleters stand as far as Starbucks goes.

I think the drip or american coffee is a little bitter. Depending on the barista (in general I think they do a good job training the staff) the espresso is good.

My problem is with the milk drinks i.e. latte or cappuccino. The cups are too large and even if you order an extra shot you end up with a cup of hot milk. In order to get a decent latte you have to order a double espresso latte in a short cup.

Why is this? Do most people like so much milk?

How do you feel about Starbucks? What do you like or dislike and if you go, what do you typically order?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've said this before and I'll say it again: where could you get a decent cup of coffee on in an airport before Starbucks? Or on an Interstate? Or at the mall?

No, it's not the apex of humanity's quest for the prefect cup of coffee, but if in an area of North America with a relatively low concentration of Gaggia's, it can be a sight for sore eyes.

Malcolm Jolley

Gremolata.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was carpooling with a friend to high school, I'd get picked up at the Starbucks down the street. I like iced lattes, the spiced cider in the wintertime, mochas in the winter also, with lots of whipped cream. Now there isn't one nearby but when I make the trip out there, I get iced lattes most of the time and sometimes a spiced cider.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a fan of Starbucks, but then again, I only drink espresso. I think theirs is horrible, and I really don't like the fact that they serve it in a paper cup even if I'm staying at the shop. If I'm forced to go there with friends, I ask for a real cup, and they rarely have them.

It's still awful coffee though. I'd rather end up at a real espresso bar or go without.

Link to post
Share on other sites

futronic -

Aside from the real cup issue (I agree and it bothers me that some stores have them and others don't), what don't you like about the espresso? Is it the roast? the abount of water? the temp?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally think of Starbucks as a form of a quick, hot dessert.

I'm not a big fan of their coffee, but I will go down (we have a store in our building) and get a soy hazelnut latte every now and again when I want something hot and nutty/sweet after lunch. I can hardly taste the coffee.

I tried their "spiced cider" a few times, but something about watery apple juice with a few overpowering spices thrown in just doesn't do it for me. It's atrocious. Akin to that Thera-Flu cider flavored crap.

Edited by sherribabee (log)
Sherri A. Jackson
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditto the dessert line of thinking. We usually stop in when we're out shopping and pick up a (decaf *hangs head in shame*) mocha or a mint hot chocolate for me and a 3x shot latte for hub. They have to make the shots 2 at a time and the one would get tossed otherwise, so he often gets a free fourth shot... so of course, he loves them. :rolleyes:

He buys his morning coffee there as well... they've been great about allowing him to return beans that weren't to his liking and exchange for a bag of something else (he otherwise tends to go for the Sumatra or the French Roast).

Coffee quality wise, I haven't much to say, though I'd probably agree on the bitterness, just knowing the way his tastes run...though, I found their chain competitor (Peaberry's) more to the bitter side, myself.

The one beef I have with them is our own dumb fault: they always have conflicting tastes to ours, so recommendations 9 times out of 10 go awry if we take them. The couple times he's taken suggestions for beans, he's had to return them. We need to stop taking suggestions and just go with what sounds good.

The milk - I think they cater to people like myself or Sherri who are more in it for the dessert beverage than the actual coffee... the mochas, the carmel macchiato, the mocha valencia, etc. I rarely overhear anyone in line other than hub saying just "latte" or straight espresso. So perhaps it becomes an assumption that everyone wants a ton of milk in their beverage and they designed the drink specs around that.

On the other beverages:

Last night's Mint Hot Chocolate had an off, vanilla type taste to it, but, sometimes they're perfect. It usually depends on whether they're using peppermint or creme de menthe...the creme de menthe seems to have a marshmallowy/fluffy taste - I'm not too keen on that, but sometimes it's all they have.

Their tazo chai is not what I expect or like out of a cup of chai. It has too much of a fruity sweet undertone to it -maybe too much ginger & anise - wheras I prefer something richer and more dessertlike...less ginger, more cardamom, cinnamon, etc.

The Caramel Apple Cider - I like this (ok, I admit, I'm fair game for nearly anything with sugar), but as Sherri said, it's not as rich as might be expected from a cider.

How are they compared to other local places? The trouble is *finding* local places. I stumbled across a place called "Central Perk" ...this is Denver, not a fictional NY sitcom, so it just kind of fell into the "auto-avoid" catagory.

Peaberry's is the other chain around here & has never yet failed to screw up an order no matter how simple (decaf mochas always would turn out to be caffienated... which, sucks if you don't like walking around shaking and feeling miserable for a day, but is great if you need to get the house clean) and I'm often back in the car and driving off or at home when I realize it (jitter jitter shake jitter "... oh crap, here we go"). I finally just gave up after the mint hot chocolate I ordered there came out as a (caffienated) mocha, then, when they offered to fix the mistake, the plain hot chocolate I ordered in its stead came out a vanilla cream. I didn't have the heart to ask where the chocolate was, so that was that.

I don't think starbucks is the best by a long shot, but I've settled into a couple drinks I always get when there, so I'm reasonably happy. So far, it's the only thing nearby that's offered a degree of consistancy from store to store and you know you'll see one on the next corner, so they're easy enough to turn into the only place you end up going because they're everywhere. The small private owned shops are often out of the way/odd places and y'never know what you'll get -but they're still fun to try when we find one (like an easter egg hunt!).

". . . if waters are still, then they can't run at all, deep or shallow."

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe this has been posted before but it's worthy of a second go around.

Starbucks Psychoanalysis

I know for those of you in Manhattan and LA Starbucks is very passe, but I live in a smaller city and was thrilled to have a starbucks move in. Reasonably good coffee, consistent, nice staff, friendly atmosphere and they take beautiful care of the historic building they are in. And they haven't put the local coffee shops out of business.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

Link to post
Share on other sites

On Robson Street (Vancouver) there are two Starbucks directly across the street from one another. :blink:

I usually order the fraps (usually mocha), but lately I've been having to cut down on my spending and Starbucks is getting too expensive for me. :sad: I've tried a few of their coffees, but I prefer Murchie's. I find the Starbucks brownie frap really weird. I don't like chunkies in my drink. :raz: The Caramel Macchiato with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle was another favorite of mine--but I haven't had that in about a year!

We have Green Tea fraps here too--I think it's only available in certain cities--and those are really popular.

Link to post
Share on other sites
futronic -

Aside from the real cup issue (I agree and it bothers me that some stores have them and others don't), what don't you like about the espresso?  Is it the roast? the abount of water? the temp?

My concerns lie in the fact that they can't pull a proper shot with an appropriate crema. They also roast the hell out of their beans making it a more bitter espresso than it should be.

Too much water + no crema + overly dark roast = bad espresso.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On Robson Street (Vancouver) there are two Starbucks directly across the street from one another.  :blink:

In Manhattan's East Village, if you stand at the cube, you can point to FOUR Starbucks without even turning around (OK one of them is hidden in the Barnes & Noble, but still).

And I have to admit, I'm all over their gingerbread latte during the holidays. It's yummy!

But when it comes to just a plain cuppa joe, I pull out my can of Cafe du Monde, throw a little cinnamon and/or nutmeg in the grounds before brewing and I'm a happy little camper. And it doesn't cost me $5!

Sherri A. Jackson
Link to post
Share on other sites

I never did get into "fancy coffee". Basic dripped Folger's will do the trick, as long as the pot is clean and everything is measured properly. I'll admit, I'm easy. My only other forays into coffee consist of cafe au lait, which I started drinking as a kid on cold winter days. Except my grandfather made his with chicory coffee, so I had to add quite a bit of sugar to mine...

I've been to Starbucks. Others around here are Joe Muggs and one or two local shops. My main beef with Starbucks, and Joe Muggs for that matter, is the nasty pastry they try to sell. Pre packaged crap one step up from a Twinkie (not that I'm knocking Twinkies, I just don't like to pay $4 for one). The paper cup, I can deal with. I don't drink as much coffee as I used to, but when I did, I had a travel mug attached to my left hand at all times. I never got any hassle once they realized I was being a regular customer. They'd even wash it out for me if it was a mid-day refill.

Ever since I started getting nasty notes from my kidneys, I've cut back on the coffee, but in the winter, it's nice to have a warm place that smells like that to duck into for a few moments.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
Link to post
Share on other sites
On Robson Street (Vancouver) there are two Starbucks directly across the street from one another.  :blink:

In Manhattan's East Village, if you stand at the cube, you can point to FOUR Starbucks without even turning around (OK one of them is hidden in the Barnes & Noble, but still).

I wonder why they do this?

There's also two Starbucks in Richmond (city next to Vancouver) separated by about 50 paces? One is situated inside a Chapters bookstore though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose I should say I am not a coffee or espresso connisseur (where's the spell checker?) so I really don't know if my latte tastes better or worse than most places and I don't really care either. If it's good and refreshing, fine. As for the spiced cider, I get it when it's cold out because I don't care for hot coffee/espresso drinks.

I totally forgot about the mint hot chocolate--that stuff is good too.

One thing that bugs me though is that it seems to be a place to take your kids. Whenever I used to go, it would be impossible to drink it there because it's overrun by children taking up chairs or simply causing too many hazardous situations. It really doesn't seem to be the right environment to please children, and I understand maybe you're toting them around and suddenly you're in the mood for a coffee, but please, consider the people who want to sit down and have a relaxing cup of coffee. Or maybe those people should just make their coffee at home, save time, money, and nerves. :biggrin:

Link to post
Share on other sites

As for me, Starbucks is a great quick fix to get large amount of caffeine in my body! :biggrin:

I usually order a..get ready for this...a triple grande non-fat latte. In know, I am one of those particular freaks that has a specific drink.

I sometimes drink their coffee at home, but think you can't go wrong with Sweet Maria's or Killer Beans coffee, just far better quality in my opinion !!

I completely agree with many of the above posts. For one, I think there is way too much milk-to-espresso ratio. Which is why I even will order a quad sometimes. But man, those gingerbread latte's are great! :raz: When are those bad boys coming out!!??

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.

-- Aristophanes (450 BC - 388 BC)

Link to post
Share on other sites
On Robson Street (Vancouver) there are two Starbucks directly across the street from one another.  :blink:

In Manhattan's East Village, if you stand at the cube, you can point to FOUR Starbucks without even turning around (OK one of them is hidden in the Barnes & Noble, but still).

But when it comes to just a plain cuppa joe, I pull out my can of Cafe du Monde, throw a little cinnamon and/or nutmeg in the grounds before brewing and I'm a happy little camper. And it doesn't cost me $5!

what's the cube? where is it?

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Down here in South Florida, there was a big buzz when Starbucks came to town, wondering how all the Cuban coffee devotees would react. Every office here with a sizable Latin population has one person who brews up lethally strong and sweet cafe cubana, also known as cortadito, or cafecito (depending on how it's made). Miami is dotted with little walk-up Cuban coffee windows, and I don't see any of them going out of business even though every Starbucks I ever visit is crowded, no matter what time of day. They have knocked out a couple of local places, but I think that's the McDonald's effect: the coffee is the same at Starbucks no matter where you go. I get a tall raspberry mocha these days, and the quality is consistent. When I try to order that drink at local joints, they often have more limited variety or inconsistent quality.

Neil

Author of the Mahu series of mystery novels set in Hawaii.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a fan of their drip coffee nor do I like their roasting style but as a diehard coffeegeek and espresso enthusiast, I'm indebted to for increasing awareness of coffee and espresso issues in general. They roast too dark which masks the subtleties fo flavor in most varietal beans. The upside for them is that it's a "signature" roast but much more important, roasting dark masks the variations that occur in varietal beans and allows them to have their massive batches come out with a fairly consistent flavor profile (even if it's not a good one). I've had their coffee ground on someone's home and made on a good drip coffee maker - it was not bad at all. The problem with their prep method in the sotres is that they use way more than the proscribed amount of coffee grounds per ounce of water. The result is a murky brew with amped up caffiene content. I can tolerate it only if I add about 1 part hot water to each 4 parts of coffee in the cup.

Manhattan alone has over 70 Starbucks stores - the reason they have them so close together is that they've done their homework - they know the pedestrian (or vehicular in the suburbs) traffic patterns and they put them where the numbers work for them. By the way.... the airport kiosk Starbucks are all owned and run by Host Marriott Corporation - all other Starbucks are corporate stores. The rapid growth has led to a staffing issue - many baristas are just there to push the button and get a check. It's understandeable and the response has been to shift from the venerable La Marzocco machines over to high end superautos. like it or not, in the hands of an inexperienced or indifferent barista, a superauto delivers a much better and more consistent result than the LM.

The issue of espresso to milk ratio is a big problem and the Starbuck approach (lots of hot milk with a little espresso) has crept into many other cafes who hpe to be successful by patternign themselves after the 'bucks. A better approach is to focus on espresso quality - good espresso will stand up to smaller portions of milk and taste rich not bitter. There are many indepedents out there following this approach and having great success. I myself prefer a 1 part espresso to 3 parts milk ratio but only a truly quality shot of espresso will taste good at this ratio unless you dose the drink with sugar.

When I'm in South Florida? Cuban coffee walkup windows win out every time - it's half the price (or much less) and tastes better.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Manhattan alone has over 70 Starbucks stores - the reason they have them so close together is that they've done their homework - they know the pedestrian (or vehicular in the suburbs) traffic patterns and they put them where the numbers work for them.

There was a very interesting article a while back in the Washington Post's business section about how they choose their locations. If I can find it I will post a link.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

Link to post
Share on other sites

6 bucks an hour for wireless internet at Star*ucks that I can get free elsewhere has sent me scampering to all manner of cool funky locally owned coffee shops I never knew existed.

So... thank you SB :biggrin:

Tripe my guacamole baby.. just one more time.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in New Orleans. Coffee is huge here and has been for a very long time. More coffee (in green bean form) passes through the port of New Orleans than any other port in the US. We roast a bunch of Coffee here in a couple of huge, national brand plants plus a myriad of smaller roasters and importation companies exist. People here know coffee and many of these businesses are in their 4th and 5th generation. The Folgers Plant on the Industrial Canal under the High Rise Bridge coming into New Orleans on !-10 from the east can be smelled for miles, especially on still humid nights in the summer. I love that smell. Reminds me I'm getting close to home.

My point here is that Starbucks, while not uncommon, has not caught on here like it has in some other areas of the country. We have two chains that are locally owned that serve as a replacement of sorts. PJ's, a locally owned company started in the early eighties has outlets all over New Orleans and many more in the Gulf SOuth. CC's Coffeehouse, which is wholly owned by Community Coffee (the local king of Coffee) also has a number of spots in New Orleans and South Louisiana.

Both places have strong local followings and make a good cup of joe. No computer driven espresso here (Thank God, I hate those machines). Both places are similar in that they serve locally made pastries, from a number of sources and are generally more casual and lean pretty heavily towards New Orleans "funkiness", as opposed to the corporate slickness of Starbuck's. I like Starbucks coffee, but given a choice, I will go to a local place. And trust me, finding coffee in New Orleans may not be as easy as Seattle, but it is damn close. But come to think of it, I hae never seen a cart pushing espresso (except at the convention center) so maybe we have a ways to go. :wacko:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how large/widespread the Peaberry's chain is...but, in my post I mentioned I had troubles with Peaberry mint hot chocolate not tasting chocolately.

We ran in there the other night on the way in to Denver and I thought "oh, what the hell, I'll try again" once again, bland vanilla/milky tasting beverage. Turns out they use hershey's syrup. I asked the girl to add more chocolate, so she pumped in more hersheys...still insipid and flat without a chocolatey taste. ugh.

I have no idea what happened to the mint -I think they used the creme de menth,which doesn't have that nice bite to it and seems to fade into the background w/o a fight.

So, if you visit Peaberrys and think of trying the mint hot chocolate, don't.

". . . if waters are still, then they can't run at all, deep or shallow."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Objective Foodie
      During the past year, our coffee consumption at home has increased substantially. We have tried beans from different roasteries from the UK and Europe, but we are constantly in the search of new ones. The speciality coffee market has been rapidly increasing in past years and it is becoming easier to find high quality beans.
       
      The best roasteries we have tried so far:
      UK based: Round Hill Roastery, Square Mile, Monmouth,  Pharmacie, New Ground, Workshop, James Gourmet, Ozone. Europe based: The Barn (Germany), Gardelli (Italy), Hard Beans (Poland), Calendar (Ireland), Roasted Brown (Ireland), Right Side (Spain), Coffee Collective (Denmark).  
      Have you had any exciting coffee beans lately? Do you have any other recommendations?
    • By Kasia
      INSTEAD OF COFFEE? - MORNING GREEN COCKTAIL
       
      After waking up, most of us head towards the kitchen for the most welcome morning drink. Coffee opens our eyes, gets us up and motivates us to act. Today I would like to offer you a healthy alternative to daily morning coffee. I don't want to turn you off coffee completely. After all, it has an excellent aroma and fantastic flavor. There isn't anything more relaxing during a busy day than a coffee break with friends.

      In spite of the weather outside, change your kitchen for a while and try something new. My green cocktail is also an excellent way to wake up and restore energy. Add to it a pinch of curcuma powder, which brings comfort and acts as a buffer against autumn depression.

      Ingredients (for 2 people):
      200ml of green tea
      4 new kale leaves
      1 green cucumber
      half an avocado
      1 pear
      1 banana
      pinch of salt
      pinch of curcuma

      Peel the avocado, pear and banana. Remove the core from the pear. Blend every ingredient very thoroughly. If the drink is too thick, add some green tea. Drink at once.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      My Irish Coffee  
      Today the children will have to forgive me, but adults also sometimes want a little pleasure. This is a recipe for people who don't have to drive a car or work, i.e. for lucky people or those who can rest at the weekend. Irish coffee is a drink made with strong coffee, Irish Whiskey, whipped cream and brown sugar. It is excellent on cold days. I recommend it after an autumn walk or when the lack of sun really gets you down. Basically, you can spike the coffee with any whiskey, but in my opinion Jameson Irish Whiskey is the best for this drink.

      If you don't like whiskey, instead you can prepare another kind of spiked coffee: French coffee with brandy, Spanish coffee with sherry, or Jamaican coffee with dark rum.
      Ingredients (for 2 drinks)
      300ml of strong, hot coffee
      40ml of Jameson Irish Whiskey
      150ml of 30% sweet cream
      4 teaspoons of coarse brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of caster sugar
      4 drops of vanilla essence
      Put two teaspoons of brown sugar into the bottom of two glasses. Brew some strong black coffee and pour it into the glasses. Warm the whiskey and add it to the coffee. Whisk the sweet cream with the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Put it gently on top so that it doesn't mix with the coffee.

      Enjoy your drink!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for swift autumn cookies with French pastry and a sweet ginger-cinnamon-pear stuffing. Served with afternoon coffee they warm us up brilliantly and dispel the foul autumn weather.

      Ingredients (8 cookies)
      1 pack of chilled French pastry
      1 big pear
      1 flat teaspoon of cinnamon
      1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
      2 tablespoons of brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar
      2 tablespoons of milk

      Heat the oven up to 190C. Cover a baking sheet with some baking paper.
      Wash the pear, peel and cube it. Add the grated ginger, cinnamon, vanilla sugar and one tablespoon of the brown sugar. Mix them in. Cut 8 circles out of the French pastry. Cut half of every circle into parallel strips. Put the pear stuffing onto the other half of each circle. Roll up the cookies starting from the edges with the stuffing. Put them onto the baking paper and make them into cones. Smooth the top of the pastry with the milk and sprinkle with brown sugar. bake for 20-22 minutes.

      Enjoy your meal!
       
       
       

    • By Johnhouse
      Hello everyone!
       
      I have been working in food and beverage industry for almost 10 years in different countries. I am looking forward to learn new things on this forum to expand my food and beverage knowledge as well as sharing my experiences that I gained in my journey!
       
      Have a good day! ☺️ 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...