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Starbucks!

OK, I am expecting a harsh reaction to this post, as Starbucks is - to many - one of several evil corporations helping to create a more homogenous, boring culture in the world. Hooooowever - you do get a great Caffe Mocha there, you can find their cafės anywhere, and ordering and watching the workflow can be fun. And as I am now visiting the land of the brave and home of (most) evil multinationalx - and since I've been having my breakfast in a independent cafė most days - I feel I can indulge myself and have corporate coffee when I feel like it.

Perhaps this is a sign thst I sm growing old and soft. Perhaps.

Earlier this week, I visited Starbucks during what must have been the busiest time of day. Six people were working behind the counter, taking orders, shouting instructions to each other, making coffee, heating sandwiches, getting my blueberry muffin. The place felt frantic and energic. Perhaps they do their own drugs? Perhaps.

Splash! Half a litre of icetea on the floor! Bang! The broomstick fell over, smashing into the floor. It looked like accidents were happening every thirty seconds while I was there, but I think that must have been coincidence, or maybe something was affecting chance? Reminds me that I'm looking forward to the next Wheel of Time book. 

When taking the order, the guy - there were only guys at this Starbucks, I think that contributed to the frantic, warzone-like atmosphere- wrote my nsme on a cup. Thst is, he asked me what my name was, and of course, a sort of subdued hilarity in writing was the result:

 IMAG0571

I hope to report to you from McDonalds in the somewhat near future.
Camilla likes this

Comments

Camilla,  23.09.10 10:04

[insert obligatory objection to homogenising evil]

See, Are, the point of a boycott is that you don't put it aside because the Mocha tastes good. I doubt it is due to your being old and soft, more like old and EVIL. &c.

I am sure the frequency of accidents was not so much coincidence as karma -- they are getting their own back for trying to kill cool cafés around the world.

The corruption of your name, moreover, is probably just an outward expression of the corruption of your soul as a result of this foray into places where humans should not go.


There.


But I suppose if you have to go to Starbucks, America is the place to do it. It is almost acceptable.

.

Jørgen,  23.09.10 12:06

I think Matteus has something to say about Starbucks, as in Seattle they apparently support some independent shops. That is, they give money to people who want to run a more proper café.

Or

Camilla,  23.09.10 12:19

to put it another way, they have caught on to how people are reacting adversely to seeing the same stupid thing on every streetcorner and realised they could make more money if they made them look different and gave them individual names. From what I understand it is not so much about "supporting independent shops" as it is about changing their own shops, calling them "The Grind House, supported by Starbucks" instead.

.

Jørgen,  23.09.10 13:20

Well, what Matteus told me, and he spoke to the people who worked at one of these places, is that they more or less did what they themselves wanted to do. Independently from S. But I don't know. And personally I don't care too much about milkbased coffedrinks, and certainly not enought to visit places where they allegedly serve a good caffe latte or some other abomination, like mocha. For good coffee, I stick to Tim.

For something completely different: when will tea experience the same artisanal revival as coffee? Where did the tearooms go?
Camilla,  23.09.10 13:33

You shouldn't be mean to it just because fourteenyearolds think it is coffee. A well made mocha is not a latte with chocolate in it. It is a deliciously sinful, dark chocolate drink with coffee.


As regards tea, it is happening. Chai, which used to be our regular haunt in Edinburgh, closed down because it was too cool, too hidden and too early. But I read somewhere about how tea is now becoming "cool". I just hope that does not mean we'll be assulted by some centralised tea emporium.

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Anders K.,  23.09.10 15:47

when will tea experience the same artisanal revival as coffee?

About a year ago.

I just hope that does not mean we'll be assulted by some centralised tea emporium.

About a year ago. Even people in Northern Norway now have Palais de Thés-bags on display in their kitchens. Which, by the way, is no stress for them, as they don't have to talk to the salespeople there.

I've nearly had to stop drinking tea in public because I am no longer free of the forced hoity toity high-brow connosieur-conversations coffee-drinkers have had to endure since the nineties. Mind you, it's not that I want to avoid things that are mainstream cool. I just want to do it in peace and quiet. By the way, Starbucks has great tea. How's that for anti-coolness?

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Jørgen,  23.09.10 18:24

You misunderstand. The whole coolness-thing or the silly statements like «Our intrepid employees have scoured the earth for the best tea, ever! Just 4 U!!» is all just a sales pitch, and it's certainly not a new one. So, let me reformulate. When will we see the revival of the tearoom? Palais de Thés is obviously crazy-french for «Starbucks» except that you will have to make your tea at home. It's a store, not a place to go for a quiet cup of delicious tea and a fag. And you most certainly won't be left alone. The clerks will hover around you like swarms of gnats.

A mocha, however well made it is, should not be confused with actual coffee. And I don't go near hot chocolate, unless it is too thick to drink, so bitter that anyone classified as 'normal' will loathe it and so dark that you have trouble seeing it.

I never drink tea outside the comfort of my own home (or someone else's home), as you always get a criminally large mug of hot (probably around 90 degrees celsius) water and a teabag. Or worse, you get those small metal objects that compact the tea into a ball the size of an egg yolk. Or worse yet, they stuff your selected green tea into mentioned metal object and plump it into the near-boiling water as they hand it to you. Thereby guaranteeing you a foul cup of tea. Borderline snobbish? I'd say so, but I don't mind. This is also why I have no trouble buying coffee at Tim Wendelboe, instead of doing so at one of the hundreds of kiosks selling hot mudwater at half the price.

Why is it that people think that 37 kr for a cup of coffee is mindbogglingly expensive, while they have no trouble coughing up 35 kr for a shot of miserable espresso, topped up with two or three dl of boiling milk? Or 25 kr for a cup of really awful, lukewarm drip coffee that's been sitting in an airpot all day.

Chai was precisely that, except the fag-bit.

Your aversion to hot chocolate really is your loss, Jørgen. And a proper mocha is thick and dark -- it is not the sweet abomination you find (probably) in Starbucks.

.

Anders K.,  24.09.10 08:54

Of course it's a sales pitch, and it's the oldest and most annoying one of them all: The allure of "good taste". When you talk of coffee, I can see that of all the coffee available, you know which one suits your taste: That is good taste. Other people, however, let themselves be told what products are in good taste, and buy them hoping that the good taste will somehow rub off on them. That's why people buy books about wine and whisky, only to make the highest-rated one their immediate favourite. That's why people pay hilarious sums for a brand logo that even in some cases is made ugly just in spite. (I am, of course, thinking of the hand-bags.) That's why people talk for hours about something that is meant to be felt, in order to make everyone, and perhaps even themselves, believe they have full, satisfying lives. And that is the kind of person they try to turn you into with the artisan revival of anything.

.

Anders K.,  24.09.10 08:54

Of course it's a sales pitch, and it's the oldest and most annoying one of them all: The allure of "good taste". When you talk of coffee, I can see that of all the coffee available, you know which one suits your taste: That is good taste. Other people, however, let themselves be told what products are in good taste, and buy them hoping that the good taste will somehow rub off on them. That's why people buy books about wine and whisky, only to make the highest-rated one their immediate favourite. That's why people pay hilarious sums for a brand logo that even in some cases is made ugly just in spite. (I am, of course, thinking of the hand-bags.) That's why people talk for hours about something that is meant to be felt, in order to make everyone, and perhaps even themselves, believe they have full, satisfying lives. And that is the kind of person they try to turn you into with the artisanal revival of anything.

.

Jørgen,  24.09.10 13:41

I feel that you hit the nail right on the head there. And on that topic, I've always wondered what makes a nightspot (club, bar, disco, pub) popular. People always talk of atmosphere and a certain coolness. I've overheard hundreds of braggers boasting to have been to THE best place in such-and-such town or city. By retelling events that have occured at a specific place, or embroidering upon the characteristics of the clientele or the working staff, they somehow wish to tangle themselves up in all that coolness. The idea that people visit such places because maybe it'll rub off on them, makes perfect sense. To me, at least.
Camilla,  24.09.10 13:46

the best places are the ones with no people in them.

Of course, that is why the best places never last long.
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san francisco
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