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What is wrong with Starbucks? - The Ex-Communicator

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December 6th, 2011


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07:35 am - What is wrong with Starbucks?
There's a Starbucks in Central Coventry. I didn't used to go in, because it's very busy at the weekend, but now I work right next to it. I was in a hurry the other day so I went in for a coffee. I know Starbucks is a franchise, so this might not be typical, but god it stinks. It really smells bad - like something old and burned. I think it's because they use disgusting cheap coffee and roast it on the premises? Is that right? I found it really unpleasant. Plus the coffee was foul. And, you know, I drink Costa coffee quite happily so my standards are not high. Is this a typical Starbucks thing, or is there something wrong with this particular one.

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Comments:


From:emmzzi
Date:December 6th, 2011 07:46 am (UTC)
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Cov branch thing *nods*

Coffee pods and make at desk, perhaps?
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From:communicator
Date:December 6th, 2011 07:51 am (UTC)
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Right, so you've noticed that the Cov branch is worse than average? I would hope it's not typical. It's 'orrible.

There are two Costas and a Nero in the precinct, so I'll use those. Nero in particular I like, and it's in a nicer location. But of course I am trying not to spend money at the moment, so I am being careful not to go too often.
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From:archbishopm
Date:December 6th, 2011 07:50 am (UTC)
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Even while writing this I know that it sounds retarded but do they use American coffee, like something toasted and fermented and...okay I confess I know absolutely nothing about how coffee gets made, "Fair Trade" could very well mean "Now With 50% More Babies"...but flashing back to when I was 18 and smoked cos it was cool and cheap and they had only somewhat invented cancer--you could smell American cigarettes a mile away. They looked the same but smelled incredibly different and I never did learn why because I was eighteen so you know sex.
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From:communicator
Date:December 6th, 2011 07:56 am (UTC)
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I don't know how Starbucks works, whether it has a standard product or local suppliers or what.

I could set it as a term paper for my students. How global industries adapt to regional culture is a thing I am supposed to be teaching them anyway.

Costa and Nero are Italian chains I think. So I may just have an expectation of European tastes, so something American tastes wrong. The biggest example of that for me is Chocolate: Hersheys tastes like wax to me.
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From:redstarrobot
Date:December 6th, 2011 08:17 am (UTC)
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Starbucks probably uses quite a dark-roasted blend, which would account for some of the burnt smell if you're not used to dark roasts, though it seems unlikely that that'd be the issue. I've never heard of a Starbucks that roasts on the premises, they have centralized roasting plants, so I think that's another vote for "something is wrong with Coventry". Maybe their espresso machine is in bad repair. (Quality-wise, there certainly are better than Starbucks, but it's not cheap, low-grade coffee at all. Most of it's crazy fair trade single-origin arabica whatever. I could not speak to the baby content.)

Penny, now that you're no longer 18, and thus have no interest in sex any longer (because, as we all know, that's gross when it involves people over 20), you have plenty of time to read up on terroir, which is French for "America grows its own tobacco". (Although perhaps Philip Morris has been disposing of incriminating cancer studies by adding a few shreds to each pack.) We do not, alas, grow our own coffee. Would that it were so, because I hate to think what will happen when the economy turns us all into a rag-tag bunch of scavengers, bartering goats for handfuls of coffee beans.
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From:gfk88
Date:December 6th, 2011 08:53 am (UTC)
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I guess it must be Cov because we go to Starbucks quite a lot and it's usually pretty reliable. J especially is not forgiving of nasty-tasting coffee, so I think you must have been unlucky.
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From:communicator
Date:December 6th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
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Yes. I mean that Nero is alright isn't it? Nice cheery staff and all.
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From:iainjcoleman
Date:December 6th, 2011 12:10 pm (UTC)
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I always think of Starbucks as a coffee shop for people who don't like coffee. They're great at all the milky creamy flavoured stuff (i.e. all the things that mask the taste of the coffee), but the espresso? Oh deary me.

I could recommend you a cafe with excellent coffee as well as outstanding Danish pastries, but you would have to travel quite a bit.
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From:communicator
Date:December 6th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
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Oh, nice, my brother who lives in Northumberland works in Edinburgh so I think in the Spring I will be up there - I hope so.
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From:hugh_mannity
Date:December 6th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC)
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IMHO, it's Starbucks.

I loathe their coffee. They use cheap beans and over-roast them to disguise that, which results in the burnt taste. I'm a Brit living in the US and I've found Starbucks to be universally nasty. I don't think they roast on premises -- the taste has been to uniformly awful for that.

My standards aren't particularly high, but I could make better coffee out of burnt toast and ditchwater than I've gotten at Starbucks.

I don't see many people drinking Starbucks coffee, but I see a lot of people drinking their vaguely coffee-flavoured sugar bombs. Which is fine if you don't mind paying way over the odds for fashionable dreck, I suppose.
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From:communicator
Date:December 6th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
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The stuff at my local Starbucks is extremely bland, despite the strong smell in the room. I wonder if the machine has gone wrong.
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From:espresso_addict
Date:December 6th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
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I prefer Costa to Starbucks; though there are some Costas that tend to make very poor coffee, I've never met a really good Starbucks. I'd guess all outlets of a franchise would be using the same blend of beans and would roast centrally. Perhaps their espresso machine just needs servicing?
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From:communicator
Date:December 6th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
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Something's up anyway, it's an atrocious pong
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From:muuranker
Date:December 6th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
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It could be the water.

It is very hard to get good coffee in York, for example, but I tolerate Neros there. But only there (elsewhere I think Costa is best).

http://www.stwater.co.uk/server.php?postcode=CV1+1NF&show=nav.5635&btnWaterQualitySubmit= is a handy little web page - says that starbucks is getting Very Hard water.

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From:communicator
Date:December 7th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
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That's interesting. I live about two miles from there, so I think I'm used to that water. but I wonder whether it has messed up their machinery. Perhaps it's kind of blocked or something.

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