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Screw Starbucks

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Originally posted by felix:

For quite a while, Starbucks has had a variety both dark and medium roasts available, each with its own character.


And yes, I think for a bunch of people, an espresso drink at Starbucks is very much like a dessert. Nothing wrong with that, IMO.


I also enjoy a good cup of coffee from other coffee shops on occasion, and a "dessert-style" drink that is available at another local coffee shop, so I'm not a Starbucks "sheep" - but I can't stand the typical Denny's / Maxwell House / Convenience Store type stuff any more. Even some bolder "gourmet" coffees that are more widely available now (IMO, thank's to the popularity of Starbucks) (e.g. the coffee served at Krispy Kreme or some "gourmet" offerings now available at convenience stores), don't taste good to me.

What Starbucks considers "medium roast" is still very dark by normal standards. Starbucks doesn't carry a medium roast as it's defined by the SCAA.


Their various coffees do have their own character. There's crap #1, crap #2, crap #5, etc. I know I'm being harsh but I was in the specialty coffee industry for 9 years and I know my coffee - and theirs is shit.


As for the "gourmet" coffee in C stores and donut shops, marketing people can call robusta beans "gourmet" but it's still robusta. There's a good reason that coffee doesn't taste good to you.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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Originally posted by felix:

First off, I'll say I'm a Starbucks fan. A big Starbucks fan. They didn't take my business from any local coffee shop, they took it from Maxwell House, who hasn't gone out of business....


Anyway, I'm shaking my head. I just don't see Starbucks as evil, and I don't think that Hear Music is either.

It's like what I say to one of my young friends when they make me do a spit-take by saying something like "You know, I kind of like Kenny G."


I try to compose myself and I say, "Well... if you like Kenny G, you should try listening to some other sax players like Stan Getz, John Coltrane and then turn them on to Getz's bossa stuff and maybe the Coltrane for Lovers album. [if they're a tough case, I might mention John Klemmer or Courtney pines. ;) ]


Seriously, Starbucks does beat Maxwell house mostly (in a pinch I bought a can of preground MH 'French roast' -- it certainly wasn't any better than Starbucks.)


Now, it has to be noted that a lot of little coffee houses that popped up in the last few years had very bad coffee suppliers. (There's one distributor out there with just gawdawful coffee that would set up a coffee shop with acheap expresso machine and a full set of coffees (ie, a bunch of crappy beans, most of them tarted up with goofy artificial flavors) in exchange for an exclusive contract. (Happily for the general public if not for the clueless owners, most of those shops are out of business.)



Anyhow, if all you've got around you are chains, at least, for heaven's sake, try Peets, which is better than the truly mediocre roasts from Starbucks.


(We'll get you on to the Charlie Parker of coffee later... :D )




ADDENDUM: I like to think of these guys as the Sonny Rollins of coffee -- you won't find them in your local mall, they're not a chain, but you can order their hand-roasted coffee online (if you go to their store in Belmont Shore in Long Beach you can watch them roast it, the roaster is right there):



Polly\'s Gourmet Coffee

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Geez... I didn't mean to sound like I might actually be as much of a stinkin' snob as I actually am. Talk about a little too self-revelatory...


Anyhow, in the big scheme of things, what kind of coffee you enjoy is of strikingly little consequence.





(Although decisions about mom & pop vs. Walmonster may be of considerable more consequence... but later on that aspect.)

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