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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What's Happened with Starbucks?

A Rant

I am a lover of good coffee. I have always rolled my eyes at those unsophisticated rubes who tell me there is no difference between coffee and they all taste the same.

"I wouldn't pay no 1.75 for a cup of coffee! What idiot pays 1.75 for coffee? It ain't no different than Maxwell house and I can get an entire can of it for like 4 bucks."


Well, Nugene, there certainly is a difference and if you are content to drink swill with your fried apple pie in the morning it certainly is a free country. I, however, find 1.75 for a brilliantly brewed cup of coffee to be a worthy investment.

Philistines...

So at any rate,

Starbucks has always been one of my favorite coffee shops where I spend my 1.75. Yes, I realize they are pretentious in an annoying, ultra-liberal elitist way. Attempting to make horrible music appear important by selling the CD's at the register, the whole "Fair Trade" nonsense, the eco-friendly approach with buckets of left over coffee grounds for your garden, and the brainless quotations from such luminaries as Robin Williams and Steve Jobs printed on the side of their cups. I also engage in my own personal, self imposed boycott of any coffee grown in Indonesia because of that country's severe persecution of Christians, and Starbucks has a lot of coffee from that region of the world.

Yet, for being hippy-doofus leftists, the folks at Starbucks brew an outstanding cup of Joe in my opinion. Coffee is probably one of the few things hippy doofuses do competently. If only we could keep them corralled in their coffee shops so they wouldn't spill over into politics the world would be a more peaceful place.

But what has happened to Starbucks these last few months? I understand they are in a financial slump, but the measures they have taken to dig themselves out appear to be potentially disastrous. It use to be every week a different roasted blend of coffee would be available. Every week would be a coffee from Brazil or maybe Costa Rica, or perhaps Papua New Guinea from where one of my all time favorite peaberry blends is grown. I would buy an entire bag of beans based on how just good the coffee tasted that week on that morning simply because they were offering that particular blend.

But the last few months Starbucks is only brewing Pike's Place, a blend of coffee that is suppose to return us to the roots of their original shop located at the Pike's Place Market in Seattle. Pike's Place is an okay coffee. I certainly like the fact the beans are ground fresh every morning rather than stored in a vacuum packed bag. Fresh ground beans definitely improves the taste of the coffee. But why are they serving it exclusively as the only coffee I can buy? Have the CEOs of Starbucks smoked too much weed? Did the head of marketing get hit too hard with a baton at the latest anti-war riots? I am not a guy who likes change, so I want to take that into consideration as I level my criticisms, but it just seems like to me this exclusive brewing of one blend of coffee is not a move in the right direction to increase consumer satisfaction.

Without fail for the last 8 years on Thursday mornings, after I buy my volunteers' donuts, I stop in to the Starbucks next door for a cup of coffee. Once it dawned on me a couple of months ago that I will be drinking Pike's Place for now until eternity, my Starbucks purchases have diminished. I have skipped several Thursdays going to Starbucks. If Peet's was opened at 5 AM, I would be headed there instead. And folks tell me those hippies make a better coffee.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Ken Abbott said...

Well, I suppose there are your coffee unsophisticates, and then there are those of us who just don't like the stuff no matter who makes it.

Don't get me wrong--I like mud pie, and I like (a good) tiramisu, but those are desserts. Chocolate and mascarpone cover up a lot.

9:31 AM, June 19, 2008  
Blogger P.D. Nelson said...

Fred, Fred, Fred here you go knocking fried apple pie. What's next baseball? I bet you don't even eat your pie with a slice of Wisconsin cheddar melted on top of it. But getting back to Starbucks. I have never liked any of their coffee it was just too bitter. There are too many other latte shops that serve a superior brew. Just look around I'm sure you'll be able to find another coffee shop that appeals to your tastes.

8:33 PM, June 19, 2008  
Blogger Hayden said...

Fred,

Here is an update from the Midwest.

About a month ago I used an illustration of people buying their Starbuck's coffee and realized that many people had never been there. I confirmed this by having the people raise their hands if they ahd ever been to a Satrbuck's (there were maybe 15 hands out of over 200 people). I then started asking people why,and they gave me the line "too expensive". I almost had a heart attack!

Anyway, the thing that has bugged me recently about Starbucks is their new cups. I mean, do they really need the nude mermaid? How does that enhance the coffee?

7:15 AM, June 20, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Peter,
The bitter is what I love about Starbucks. Believe me, if Peet's was opened at 5 AM I would make the mile drive out of the way to pick up coffee on my way to work on Thursdays. That is another thing I appreciate about Starbucks, they are opened early, like 4:30 AM, rather than 6, after I have made it to work.

By the way, as a man who has yet to meet a fried apple pie he doesn't like, be rest assured I mean no animosity against frying fruit. From my understanding, however, such pastries aren't a typical breakfast item, and those individuals I have encountered who insist they are, tend not to have the sophisticated pallet to enjoy a cup of good coffee. They're usually Folger's instant people.

Hayden,
I never noticed the new, topless logo until some morality alarmist group pointed it out. I just drink the coffee. I never pay attention to the artwork on the cup - unless it is Team Pyro mugs.

Fred

10:05 AM, June 20, 2008  
Blogger Marcella said...

Peet's is GREAT!

3:46 PM, June 20, 2008  
Blogger Hayden said...

Fred,

You're a better man than I am. Heather and I enjoyed a Starbucks on our first night out in a couple of months. We talked about you and drank latees in your honor. (If we were Emergent it would have been Guiness, but I digress).

8:43 AM, June 21, 2008  
Blogger Carl said...

Starbucks may be THE place to get coffee where you live but here in Tallahassee, Starbucks ranks low in just about ever category regarding coffee. Stale. Overly bitter due to overheating. Weak. Poor flavor. In short, lousy coffee. And definitely overpriced.

The local Circle K has better, fresher coffee. The local Kangaroo Convenience Store has better coffee. The local Bad Ass Coffee Shop has better coffee. The local Black Dog Café has better coffee. Beieve it or not, this is reflected each year in the local paper and local magazine surveys.

Personally, I prefer whole bean custom roasted which I grind and brew myself. My favorite supplier being Coffee Fool and a close second being Branson Bean.

Just my opinion...

5:23 PM, June 21, 2008  
Blogger Rosa said...

Hey, a lot of the coffee grown in Indonesia is grown by Christians! As is chocoltae. My motto: Eat chocolate, drink coffee. Support farmers in Indonesia! :-)

4:12 AM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Carl said...

Interesting take, rosa. Of course, this adds to my wife's long list of reasons why she should consume chocolate. :-)

9:53 AM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger DJP said...

Peet's.

4:53 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I must say I am amazed to see so many folks who have passionate opinions on coffee, one of God's greater creations...

Rosa,
Do you know if the farmers get the money or does the Indonesian government take it? Your input makes me rethink my boycott if I knew Christian farmers were getting the money and not the radically anti-Christian government.

Fred

7:20 PM, June 22, 2008  

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