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#1
Old 01-04-2017, 07:51 PM
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Resolved: Starbucks Coffee is Bad

Sorry, it doesn't taste good. i think that's why most people who drink it bury it in sugar, caramel and chocolate. I love the taste of coffee (coffee ice cream is one of my favorites) and I drink coffee a ton every day but every time I have had Starbucks (which admittedly is not often) I regret it because it just tastes bitter and burnt and gross.

Do you like it? Am I missing something? Or is it just convenient because it's ubiquitous?

They do have good cake and cookies, I will say that. But the coffee is barely drinkable.
#2
Old 01-04-2017, 07:52 PM
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Was there ever any doubt about Starbucks coffee being undrinkable?
#3
Old 01-04-2017, 07:57 PM
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Agree. Their regular roast is just burnt. The Blond is OK, but then, so is McDonalds coffee, and it's half the price.

Last edited by silenus; 01-04-2017 at 07:57 PM.
#4
Old 01-04-2017, 07:57 PM
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A counter-theory is that Starbucks has intentionally searched for a blend of coffees which are undrinkable if you don't add milk, sugar, and a crapload of flavorings. However, once you add those flavorings, it's kind of nice. The coffee, being relatively undrinkable, is remarkably cheap for them to buy in bulk. What you're really paying for is milk and a teeny bit of flavoring.

I, however, like Starbucks coffee, if I have to buy something somebody else made. Peet's is undrinkably strong in spite of the hippie cachet it tries to carry, and the local chain, Caribou, refuses to give their coffees names that make any sense ("Obsidian". What the hell does that taste like? Where is it from?)
#5
Old 01-04-2017, 08:06 PM
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I love Starbucks coffee. Granted, I add some cream, but I don't add sugar or flavorings. My favorite is their Caffè Verona dark roast.

The alternative here in New England is Dunkin' Donuts, where there is a location every 100 feet, it seems. Dunkin' Donuts coffee tastes like bland, coffee-flavored dishwater, IMHO.
#6
Old 01-04-2017, 08:08 PM
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I agree. I like my coffee black and so the only time I get Starbucks is if I'm in the mood for a flavored coffee.

I keep meaning to try Dutch Bros, but they're on the wrong side of the street for me, so I haven't gotten around to them yet.
#7
Old 01-04-2017, 08:38 PM
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Starbucks is my go-to coffee on road trips through those countless lifeless cookie cutter American towns. Reliably drinkable if you just add enough milk. Other than that, no use for it. I don't take sugar or flavoring in my caffeine.
#8
Old 01-04-2017, 08:57 PM
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I fully endorse the OP. Starbucks coffee tastes like someone poured the contents of a well-used ashtray into the coffee grounds before the coffee was made.
#9
Old 01-04-2017, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus View Post
Agree. Their regular roast is just burnt.
That's exactly what I've noticed. I only get coffee there when I have no other choice, and whenever I do I think it tastes burnt. Do they over-roast or something?
#10
Old 01-04-2017, 09:41 PM
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Who goes to Starbucks for the quality of their coffee?
#11
Old 01-04-2017, 09:46 PM
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They get the same mediocre beans that are used for canned ground coffee and then roast the shit out of them to cover of the lack of actual flavor. Starbucks is a "coffeehouse" in name only; what they sell is sugar and dairy additives with some barely detectable coffee flavoring.

I may also be bitter because a Starbucks replaced the bar where I literally spent hundreds of hours working on unsolicitied proposals for various space weather surveillance and interplanetary communications systems. But I'm not biased; Starbucks coffee is objectively terrible.

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#12
Old 01-04-2017, 10:00 PM
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Their coffee is distinct, hard to duplicate, much like you can not make a M-D's hamburger at home. It is not my favorite, but I will sometimes chose them when I want to get a cup of joe I that I know will be up to a certain standard. At least I know I will get a halfway decent cup of coffee.

While not bad, it is also not good, somewhere in between.
#13
Old 01-04-2017, 10:04 PM
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I'm not going to defend it. But I do enjoy the atmosphere at some of the "after dark" locations, and as long as I have some half and half to put in it, it's drinkable enough. Though I'm also not against a nice dark chocolate mocha from time to time. I guess my palate isn't so discerning.
#14
Old 01-04-2017, 10:18 PM
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The first time I had Starbucks was one early morning when I had run out of my regular brand in the truck and had spent the night in a service plaza on the Ohio Turnpike. I got a cup,black, to go, got in the truck and headed down the road. After I got to speed and easing into my day I took my first ever sip of this coffee that so many people had raved about. Absolutely undrinkable. Bitter and just plan terrible taste. I chalked it up to Turnpike plaza poor quality food and drink like I had experienced many times in the past.
A couple months later I was making a delivery in Seattle about a half block from a Starbucks and thought, hay their home, they probably do it right. The girl ask three times what additives I wanted and seemed both shocked and insulted I wanted it black. I got back to the truck, took a sip and found out why they have all that foo foo surgery stuff to put in it.
I wispered an apology to the folks I had cussed in absentia that morning in Ohio.
#15
Old 01-04-2017, 10:37 PM
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Nobody likes Starbucks, they're too popular.

It certainly is true that Starbucks is determinedly middlebrow, where downscale people can purchase 5 dollars of sophistication, and the trendy can slum it. And it certainly is true that the prototypical Starbucks customer isn't a guy getting a cup of black coffee, but a soccer mom getting a venti caramel frappuccino. If you just wanted a cup of coffee why'd you go to a fricken Starbucks then? That's not what Starbucks is for.
#16
Old 01-04-2017, 10:49 PM
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I drink coffee black, and I haven't found Starbucks to taste burnt since they changed the house blend to the Pike Place blend several years ago. I don't seek them out, but I find myself at a Starbucks once or twice a month to meet potential clients or current clients. They run a fine company, they treat their employees well, they don't kick me out the occasional time I forget to order something and just use their space as a meeting space, and I generally enjoy their coffee.
#17
Old 01-04-2017, 10:52 PM
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Starbucks coffee isn't especially good, although I'm not convinced it's worse than the average cuppa joe, either. You can get better from some of the fast food places, but then again, not everything is open early and late and has locations everywhere either.
#18
Old 01-04-2017, 11:42 PM
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I like the idea of having a place to relax and slow down a little bit; I just don't like coffee. I do go into Starbucks on occasion and have a hot chocolate, but their hot chocolate isn't all that great either; too much foam and never mixed well enough so the chocolate is always settled in the bottom of the cup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Nobody likes Starbucks, they're too popular.
The perfect song for this thread.
#19
Old 01-04-2017, 11:46 PM
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I get a flat white about three times a week. It's my favorite coffee drink out there. Their bakery items are so-so, but I do like the Bantam Bagels and their bistro boxes.
#20
Old 01-05-2017, 12:17 AM
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I've seen the words "burnt" and "ashtray" bandied around this thread. I came in here to bandy those words myself.

I've had a gift card to Starbucks in my wallet for over a year now with $25 on it. If I ever end up using it, it'll only be because I've given in to eating a lot of lemon cake.
#21
Old 01-05-2017, 12:36 AM
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I like their coffee. Mostly their darker roasts. Back in the day, I didn't used to like Peet's: found it too burnt tasting. Now I like their coffees too. I think as my tastes have developed in coffee, I have moved away from milder roasts to more robust ones.
#22
Old 01-05-2017, 12:45 AM
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I've never actually had their coffee because it always smells burnt. I'm hardly a coffee snob but if I'm at a gas station and it's burnt I dump it and walk away.

We have a number of really good coffee houses in my town and you can order it black from any of them and it tastes good so it's not some kind of secret blend.

We also have a gas station chain headquartered in my area that's having coffee issues. They weakened their regular coffee to the point its colored water and then cam back with a an espresso machine where you can gets shots dumped into your regular coffee that makes it taste like..... coffee. I think it's in the testing stage. They could cut out the expensive machine and the time wasted and just add more coffee grounds but what do I know.

Last edited by Magiver; 01-05-2017 at 12:46 AM.
#23
Old 01-05-2017, 12:53 AM
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I love me some coffee. I come from Norwegian roots. We were given coffee before kindergarten. Starbucks is the worst coffee ever. My ignorant children think its the nuts. They know nothing of coffee. I have never been able to drink a whole Starbucks coffee even when I'm at the dang airport at Oh dark thirty in the morning. I buy it, think: yeah coffee, then sip it and toss it. Bleh.
#24
Old 01-05-2017, 01:22 AM
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Starbucks coffee and food are mediocre, but the service and atmosphere can be good. It's better than Tim Horton's and not as good as Timothy's, Tim's Coffee or Tim Tam Tim.
#25
Old 01-05-2017, 01:52 AM
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One of the worst coffee shops ever.
#26
Old 01-05-2017, 02:09 AM
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The few times I've had it Starbucks has tasted fine to me. Note that I don't value coffee as an experiential drink whatsoever, and have no (and desire no) coffee palate. I drink it for a morning infusion of caffeine, and can and do drink basically coffee brewed with dirty water strained through old paper towels and am 100% fine with that.

My biggest objection to Starbucks is given my extremely unevolved coffee palate, I am fine with the very low quality coffee we can brew at work or in a moment of largesse the $1 coffee you can get from gas stations or fast food places. So there is little reason for me to patronize their business.
#27
Old 01-05-2017, 05:34 AM
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There is always a "Mitchell and Webb" sketch for any situation.
#28
Old 01-05-2017, 08:23 AM
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I've always considered my morning Starbucks stop a breather period before work, and my peppermint mocha a milk drink, not coffee.

Coffee is not really what Starbucks is selling. The idea was to have a European style cafe where you could hang out as long as you wanted. Most American fast food joints both before Starbucks and even now have a customer philosophy of "Eat your burger or chicken and get the fuck out." They want turnover.

Starbucks is different in that you can sit and read, or surf the web, or write that novel, or play chess if you bring a pal. You can hold informal meetings for business, or meet your perspective online romance in person in a safe environment.

If you hang out at a neighborhood Starbucks enough to become a regular you can make all sorts of acquaintances, and have interesting conversations with people.

Plus they do treat their employees well, which is nice....and rare.

I like Starbucks. But their coffee straight does make me nauseous.

Last edited by Two Many Cats; 01-05-2017 at 08:23 AM.
#29
Old 01-05-2017, 08:37 AM
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Their espresso is horrible!!
#30
Old 01-05-2017, 08:44 AM
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Is there a clear context for this POV? I am trying to recall.

- Has Starbucks' coffee always been held up as bad? If not, what changed, when and why? Did they pass a certain size and sacrifice taste for consistency or something?

- As it was growing, how was the taste of its coffee regarded? I recall comments about how strong it was - statements about burning their coffee - but never remotely to the point of limiting their growth. I guess I took it as a coffee purist thing, like a wine person slamming Two-Buck Chuck.

- I know Starbucks is known for having a strongly-roasted-to-the-point-of-burnt aspect to their coffee. Was this considered cool and "real coffee-er" vs. Folger's back in the day, but now can be evaluated against truly artisanal-type coffees? Were they an agent in their own demise by increasing coffee awareness?

I simply look at Starbucks as a coffee option. At home, I use Dunkin' Dark. I notice that the SB is a bit more acidic. I guess I have assumed it was a flavor profile they chose because it worked for them.
#31
Old 01-05-2017, 08:53 AM
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Worst coffee ever?

Yes, they got to the point of being the largest chain of coffee stores in the whole world by selling the worst coffee ever. Of course.

I'm no particular fan of Starbucks, but seriously, if you think their coffee is the 'worst ever', you need to get out more.
#32
Old 01-05-2017, 08:54 AM
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My favorite Starbucks item is the chocolate covered espresso beans. I overdid it on those once, and thought my heart was going to explode. I also once got a really cool Bob Dylan CD there.
#33
Old 01-05-2017, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Worst coffee ever?

Yes, they got to the point of being the largest chain of coffee stores in the whole world by selling the worst coffee ever. Of course.

I'm no particular fan of Starbucks, but seriously, if you think their coffee is the 'worst ever', you need to get out more.
If there's worse, maybe I don't want to get out more.

Disclaimer: I don't drink coffee, I just wanted to make the joke.
#34
Old 01-05-2017, 09:18 AM
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I like Starbuck's coffee. I don't drink it often because I can't handle the caffeine, and most places don't seem to have brewed decaf. They offer to make a cup with a filter, but it doesn't taste the same (too weak), and I don't like having to pay more for a decaf Americano. Either way, no sugar, no flavouring, just coffee with cream, preferably the 18%.
#35
Old 01-05-2017, 09:27 AM
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Not a fan of Starbuck's, when I have no other option it's one of those "some coffee for your half and half?" situations.

However, the winner of the World's Worst Coffee trophy goes to the McDonald's in Smyrna, DE. Every time it was watery, bitter, burnt, and repeated on you for the rest of the morning. Why did we keep drinking it? To see if it was as bad as we remembered.
#36
Old 01-05-2017, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Is there a clear context for this POV? I am trying to recall.

- Has Starbucks' coffee always been held up as bad? If not, what changed, when and why? Did they pass a certain size and sacrifice taste for consistency or something?

- As it was growing, how was the taste of its coffee regarded? I recall comments about how strong it was - statements about burning their coffee - but never remotely to the point of limiting their growth. I guess I took it as a coffee purist thing, like a wine person slamming Two-Buck Chuck.

- I know Starbucks is known for having a strongly-roasted-to-the-point-of-burnt aspect to their coffee. Was this considered cool and "real coffee-er" vs. Folger's back in the day, but now can be evaluated against truly artisanal-type coffees? Were they an agent in their own demise by increasing coffee awareness?

I simply look at Starbucks as a coffee option. At home, I use Dunkin' Dark. I notice that the SB is a bit more acidic. I guess I have assumed it was a flavor profile they chose because it worked for them.
When it first expanded broadly, it represented a clear improvement over the vast run of fast-food coffee then available and the first exposure to espresso drinks (at least as a daily item rather than a special occasion) for a lot of people. It has always been mocked from both above and below, if you will. Many people who were accustomed to robusto coffee from the supermarket at home or in the breakroom found Starbucks' drip coffee to taste unusually strong and "burned." Many people who were accustomed to getting espresso in nice Italian restaurants or making it at home found Starbucks' espresso to be poor quality. But the company definitely hit a quality point that was not then being served.

That Starbucks is now routinely described as downmarket is an aspect of its success in transforming the coffee market. They expanded the public's taste profile in a way that created market niches for local boutique coffee shops to succeed with higher-end offerings.

Finally, don't forget that Starbucks offers multiple varieties of drip coffee. Personally, I tend to find their dark roasts (Gold Coast, Komodo Dragon) "smoother" somehow, and their blonde roasts taste oddly nutty. But that's just me, and you might find something different that you like better than the default offering.
#37
Old 01-05-2017, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Is there a clear context for this POV? I am trying to recall.

- Has Starbucks' coffee always been held up as bad? If not, what changed, when and why? Did they pass a certain size and sacrifice taste for consistency or something?

- As it was growing, how was the taste of its coffee regarded? I recall comments about how strong it was - statements about burning their coffee - but never remotely to the point of limiting their growth. I guess I took it as a coffee purist thing, like a wine person slamming Two-Buck Chuck.

- I know Starbucks is known for having a strongly-roasted-to-the-point-of-burnt aspect to their coffee. Was this considered cool and "real coffee-er" vs. Folger's back in the day, but now can be evaluated against truly artisanal-type coffees? Were they an agent in their own demise by increasing coffee awareness?

I simply look at Starbucks as a coffee option. At home, I use Dunkin' Dark. I notice that the SB is a bit more acidic. I guess I have assumed it was a flavor profile they chose because it worked for them.
My take:

1) Starbucks Coffee has, since I remember encountering it first about 20 years ago, been regarded as middle-of-the-road to bad coffee by the coffee cognoscenti. I used to work in an independent coffeeshop for several years that served coffee made from a local roaster's beans, and we all kind of hated them for their coffee, but especially their espresso.

2) "Burnt" and "over-roasted" was (and apparently still is) a common complaint about their coffee. As you'll see below, Starbucks did respond to that sentiment a few years ago.

3) While I agree that this reputation was true, I don't feel it still is true, which surprises me that people still find their coffee over-roasted. A few years back, responding to consumer sentiment that their coffee was over-roasted, they changed their house blend to Pike Place roast, which was a more medium-bodied roast. And they also have the Blonde, which is a very light roast, closer to donut shop coffee. I did not like their old house blend, but their Pike Place roast was absolutely palatable and fine middle-of-the-road coffee.

As for whether it was considered "cool" in the day, I can't say. For my area, it was always the McDonalds of coffee and the cool cats went to the independent coffee houses. But I lived in an area that had those. Elsewhere, the reputation may have been different.

They also, of course, have the reputation of having very expensive coffee, which is not quite true. Their regular black coffee is the same price at about $2 as the same size at Dunkin Donuts. Their espresso drinks are the ones that get to the $4+ level that people complain about when they say it costs $4 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It does not.

And they also get slammed for having their naming system of "tall, grande, and venti" and people claim you have to order using their terminology. This is wrong. I always order a "large coffee" when I go there and I get a large coffee. Nobody forces me to use the word "venti." There are humans behind the counter and they know what small, medium, and large means.

I still think their espresso is not very good and the only way to enjoy it is to drown it in milk & cream & stuff (which I don't do), but their black coffee is perfectly serviceable middle-of-the-road coffee.
#38
Old 01-05-2017, 10:52 AM
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I drink my coffee black, and absolutely love Starbucks coffee. Then again, I also love IPAs with absurdly high IBUs, and sour beers that most people can't handle.
#39
Old 01-05-2017, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justmeetee View Post
...The girl ask three times what additives I wanted and seemed both shocked and insulted I wanted it black.
I have been to Starbucks hundreds of times and have never once experienced this. On the contrary, what I am almost always asked is if I need room for cream or not. Period.

With respect to all the people in this thread who complain that Starbucks' coffee tastes burnt or overroasted, they now sell a so-called "blonde roast" in addition to their dark roast coffee.

Personally, I love their dark roast coffee, and I am someone that absolutely hates burnt coffee.

Years ago, I regularly drank McDonald's coffee, and the only way I found it drinkable was if it had just been brewed (i.e. within the last few seconds). Commercial coffee that sits on a hot plate for more than a few minutes is awful, in my experience. One thing that Starbucks does is to brew its coffee into thermos-type carafes (with no hot plate) instead. For a short time, my local McDonald's did this as well, but then went back to their traditional glass carafes and hot plates (undoubtedly to cater to customers whose only criteria for their coffee is for it to be served as hot as possible).
#40
Old 01-05-2017, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robby View Post
I have been to Starbucks hundreds of times and have never once experienced this. On the contrary, what I am almost always asked is if I need room for cream or not. Period.
I missed that from the other poster. I don't even know what additives there could be for coffee at the counter. The only question I've ever heard asked for an order of coffee (out of the 100 or so times I've been) is "room for cream?" (And if you just say "black coffee," you avoid that question.) And you put in the cream and sugar yourself at the little cream/sugar station. When you order a coffee, you just get a black coffee--the difference is whether it's filled to the top or not.

Last edited by pulykamell; 01-05-2017 at 11:08 AM.
#41
Old 01-05-2017, 11:12 AM
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I've had worse coffee, including from a local coffee service that was known by employees of businesses throughout the area as terrible coffee. A company switching to that service was a warning sign.

Regarding Starbucks, it's okay if you get one of the lighter roasts. It'll never be as good as a really fancy local place, and I'd rather have Duncan Donuts coffee most mornings, but it's okay in a pinch.
#42
Old 01-05-2017, 11:15 AM
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People don't go to Starbuck's for coffee-they go there for liquid dessert, which usually has low coffee content to it. I like my coffee black(not like those of you who claim to like it with nothing in it...just milk or cream), and I have never had a cup of coffee from them that wasn't burnt. McDonalds is better, as is Burger King and even Jack In The Box. Haven't tried Black Rock yet-any good?
#43
Old 01-05-2017, 11:19 AM
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A Starbucks mocha is an occasional treat for me. I like it just fine. I have a sweet tooth, so I like some of the seasonal coffees, too.
#44
Old 01-05-2017, 11:25 AM
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My brother works there so I know their culture is getting better. He gets free coffee every week and their lighter roasts aren't that bad at all when you make them at home. They have some knowledgeable staff if you find the right locations. They sell decent, if over priced equipment like pour overs and chemexes. In other words, they seem like a good business, so I'm trying to say good things about them even though I basically feel like silenus here about their flaghsip product:
Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus View Post
Agree. Their regular roast is just burnt. The Blond is OK, but then, so is McDonalds coffee, and it's half the price.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
Did they pass a certain size and sacrifice taste for consistency or something?
I think that was it. Like all chain stores they wanted a consistent experience. The only way to make coffee beans sourced from all over the world taste the same is to roast them until they're charcoal. I think they're getting better on that front, but it's taking a while because like others said, coffee isn't really their main business, their customers mostly come for the milk and sugar.
#45
Old 01-05-2017, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
People don't go to Starbuck's for coffee-they go there for liquid dessert
As this thread demonstrates, there are in fact many people who do just go there for the coffee, and not the "liquid dessert."
#46
Old 01-05-2017, 11:31 AM
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Another thing to keep in mind is that fast food and diners used to have absolute shit coffee. Sometime around the turn of the century I remember Denny's, McDonald's and others completely revamped their coffee, and now they're pretty good. So Starbucks probably used to be a lot better than your average fast food coffee and more accessible to a lot of people than independent coffee shops. But the fast food companies squeezed the gap, and now Starbucks looks worse in comparison.
#47
Old 01-05-2017, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
The only way to make coffee beans sourced from all over the world taste the same is to roast them until they're charcoal.
Their regular roast isn't even a dark roast, so how could it be that they're roasted "until they're charcoal"?
#48
Old 01-05-2017, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
As this thread demonstrates, there are in fact many people who do just go there for the coffee, and not the "liquid dessert."
No, there aren't. Starbuck's lines aren't long because people order plain coffee a lot-that takes no time at all to prepare.
#49
Old 01-05-2017, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
No, there aren't. Starbuck's lines aren't long because people order plain coffee a lot-that takes no time at all to prepare.
While I"m sure the majority of people who go there get the fancy pants drinks, I always see a few orders for coffee while I'm there. And I don't know about long lines. I don't usually have to wait more than 1-2 minutes to get served.
#50
Old 01-05-2017, 11:50 AM
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It's fine. It sure is coffee! But Starbucks doesn't sell Combos and beef jerky, and 7-11 does, so I get coffee there instead.
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