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November 30, 2006

Starbucks Confessional

I must admit that I have been going to Starbucks a lot lately. For a long time, I resisted patronizing this "evil empire" of coffee (with the exception of the summer of 1998, when I worked there) on moral and ethical grounds (exploitation of coffee growers, competition with local coffeehouses), but I have recently lost my power to resist.

Starbucks offers many attractions to the helplessly-addicted coffee drinker. To begin with, they offer quantity: Starbucks's economy of scale allows it to sell a 12-oz cup of coffee for the same price at which our local coffee chains sell an 8-oz cup. Second is the quality: it is just a better cup of coffee, and I can tell you why (I don't think I signed any confidentiality agreements when I worked there). Starbucks roasts its coffee longer than other roasters, resulting in a darker, richer bean. Then its baristas brew the coffee at a ridiculously high ratio of coffee to water (2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water), resulting in a darker, richer brew. While others may prefer to be able to see through their morning cup of coffee, I like mine strong and dark. The dishwater the local competitors sell literally pales in comparison. I also like my coffee hot, and am tired of the lukewarm lattes baristas in other establishments serve me.

At other times of year, it is easier for me to resist the call of Starbucks's hot, strong coffee, but in November and December, I am drawn to Starbucks like metal filings to a magnet. Why? I am just a sucker for those red cups they use during the "holiday season." I know this sounds pathetic, but I have a strong appreciation for good design, and those red cups just call to me, despite the fact that, as a Jew, I should probably be more critical of the Christmasization of the month of December. But I can't. There is something about the sight of a red cup against a gray winter sky that just makes me feel warm inside (though ingesting a 170-degree beverage probably helps with that too).

Posted by eklanche at November 30, 2006 09:18 AM


I agree wholeheartedly about Starbucks and local brew. ERC is nasty.

Posted by: lwinling at December 12, 2006 01:17 AM

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