Starbucks: pros and cons

Starting with the obvious:

Pro: They resurrected (or maybe created) the modern coffeeshop. They created reasonable places for people to go to spend time. (think about it: where else can you go just to BE, without paying to eat something or drink alcohol?)

Con: They’re all the same. As far as homogenization goes, they’re no better than McDonald’s.

Pro: However, by creating the coffeeshop business, they allowed OTHER coffeeshops (with personality and perhaps even a soul) to prosper. Go to Kiva Han, go to Kiva Han, for God’s sake if you are at the corner of forbes and craig and you go to Starbucks you have made the wrong choice.

Con: Their drinks are too expensive. It’s tough to walk in with a $5 and walk out with any real amount of money*. Obvious solution: get a “small cup of coffee” ($1.50 or so- still reasonable I guess, if it’s good quality coffee)
*note also that if you have acquired a daily Starbucks habit, at $3 or so per drink, that’s over $1000 per year.

Con: It’s not good quality coffee. Ergg… and this is where I wish I bookmarked articles to back up points like this. I read a couple of articles by people who knew coffee, and they said Starbucks espresso is pretty awful.

Pro: Well, at least they’re tasty!

Con: So is a pie tin full of whipped cream and a bag of marshmallows. I’ll just say it’s unhealthy, and leave it at that. I could quote facts if you want (like a *small* white chocolate mocha- my mom’s favorite- is 410 empty calories) but you probably already agree with me. (look at that, I sneaked in a fact while I was saying I wasn’t going to quote facts!) They hide the not-so-well-prepared coffee with gobs of cream and sugar. And flavored syrups.

Con: drink sizes! Come on. When a single drink can have as much caffeine as a 12-pack of coke (see the table about 1/4-way down… a Venti is 24 oz. of brewed coffee… 3*135 = 405 ~ 12*34 = 408), that’s a little excessive. And empty calories, etc. The insidious thing is that they market it as just a thing to drink, not a dessert. But whatever, you can write this off, because people choose what they want to drink. If they want to drink the equivalent of a few slices of cake in a coffee cup, it’s their call.
What you can’t dispute is that “tall”, “grande”, and “venti” are obnoxious. Making fun of them is lame by now, but I will anyway. (trivia and ordering tip: there IS a “short.” But you have to ask for it- it’s not on the menu. It’s 8 oz.)

Pro: They serve fair trade coffee. How much fair trade coffee? 3.7% of their coffee is Fair Trade certified. (see wikipedia) Still, better than nothing.

Pro: They’re sorta left-wing. And good for them! Hard to find, in the corporate world. You know, they donate lots to liberal groups I think. Okay, that’s not very convincing. Here’s one actual fact I know: (also from Wikipedia) they had some quote about being gay on their cups, and some crazy religious right group tried to bully them into taking it off, and they didn’t. Great!

Con: The Green Tea Latte. This was an abomination of a drink. Do you know how to make a Starbucks Green Tea Latte? (as I saw it when they made it)… two scoops green powder, a bunch of squirts of some mango-flavored syrup, and then he went behind the espresso machine, I assume to put some warm milk in it, and then it looks like that April Fool’s Day prank where you dye the milk green and everyone gets weirded out. Plus, it tastes awful.

Okay, I’m still no fan of Starbucks, but it turns out there are two sides to the coin! Well, there are two sides to every coin… but this one is less unbalanced than I thought. They’re still a little evil though.


Anonymous -

I had no idea that a white chocolate mocha was that many calories… that’s what I get too. I’ll be more aware of that from now on.

~ash -

just wanted to say that while Starbucks offers a ridiculous amount of caffeine, they also tend to have the most options of non-caffeinated in my experience, which has led to other coffee shops slowly following suit, so that’s a pro…

Anonymous -

The green tea latte has no mango flavored syrup, research your facts more and then blog.

Dan -

Wow, blog comments hero! This post is 9 years old! It’s possible that it’s changed since then. It’s also possible that nobody cares.

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