Monday, May 3, 2010

Starbucks is Not the Evil You Think

It's a different kind of evil. Starbucks brews coffee I like, the way I like it. I’m not talking about cappuccino, latte, Frappuccino, mocha, caramel macchiato nonsense. It’s like vodka. Once you start mixing vodka with cranberry juice or orange juice or whatever, it doesn’t matter what you use as long as it’s not rotgut. If you drink martinis, you’ll know when it’s swill. You might not be able to distinguish Belvedere from Grey Goose from Diamond, but that’s another post.

I brew with a French press at home. I drink my coffee black. I know when I’m drinking swill.

At home in Miami, I’ll drink a cappuccino at Café Demetrio, espresso at the end of many an Italian meal (which can get dodgy), and cafécito or café con leche just about anywhere. No matter where I go, even the freshest black coffee doesn’t hold a candle to Starbucks. Yet I would never go to Starbucks when I travel. Where’s the fun in that?

Starbucks, answering complaints that their coffee is “too dark” or “tastes burned” started offering nothing but Pike’s Place throughout the day. They only have traditional offerings (now labeled “bold” because they're dark roast regardless of how hearty the blend is) before ten am. This made certain folks happy, but there’s a difference between fast-food coffee and gourmet coffee made quickly. Although it’s all I brew at home and the office, I’ve got little reason to walk into a Starbucks now.

Thanks, Dunkin’ Donut lovers. You fucked up my coffee ritual.

Or rather, Starbucks did, when they forgot the distinction which made them so successful. I don’t hate Starbucks for closing four coffee places within weeks of opening their first store on Miracle Mile, I hate Starbucks for succumbing to corporate think. Corporations became evil when they were awarded the same rights as individuals without the same personal responsibility, but they become stupid when they lose sight of what made them great. No one ever became great pursuing profit.

You used to care about educating baristas and redefining America’s palette, Starbucks. Now you care about building masses to suckle at your caffeine-filled teats.

Congratu-freakin-lations, Starbucks. You love money.

1 comment:

  1. Ha-lle-lu-jah Brother! Hallelujah. Back o' the net - to use a football adage.

    and that's proper 'footbal' by the way.