That's it, I'm switching to Starbucks.

Whatsit the Youngest is in preschool three days a week, mornings only. So that is three mornings per week in which I have free time to get work done. Right now I am working on completing a distance training course for career development purposes. I need Internet access for this.

So my usual routine is that I drop off WtY, then drive a mile away to where there are a Starbucks and a local coffee shop across the street from each other. Previously I have patronized the local coffee shop. It’s local, and the coffee is OK, and they have free Wi-fi. Except that 3 out of the last 5 times I’ve been there, their freaking Wi-fi service has been down, and they don’t have any signs up notifying patrons of this, so I waste money buying a coffee and I waste a bunch of time getting seated and setting up my laptop and starting it up, before realizing, shit, the wi-fi is down again.

This morning was the last straw for me. With exactly 6 hours per week of work/study time, I do not have the time to waste on this crap. So I walked over to Starbucks. The service is better, there are outlets near almost every table (as opposed to the local coffeeshop, where you have to hope that one of the three outlets in the whole store isn’t taken if you want to plug your laptop in), and it turns out that the wi-fi access doesn’t even cost anything as long as you have a Starbucks card (which you can use to buy your coffee with). And the coffee is even better!

Sorry, local place. I’m going with the clean, convenient, and tasty corporate behemoth from now on.

You and I have a radically different definition of “tasty.”

That may have something to do with my taking my coffee black, and predominately for the taste of caffeol, which is vapourized out of Starbucks’ beans before they even have a chance to get wet.

You could probably substitute Inka for the coffee in a cream-, sugar-, and syrup- laden Starbucks offering without anyone batting an eye.

Have you tried the Pike Place blend? It’s the one I’d go out of my way for, due to price and IMHO superior flavor . . . .

You know that Starbucks doesn’t actually force you to purchase anything containing cream sugar or syrup, right?. They actually do sell just “coffee.” Some people think it tastes burned and don’t like it, I hear that. But to say you can’t taste the coffee because of additives is ridiculous.

No, I haven’t.

From the description on their website, it sounds like a straight espresso roast., although they don’t say what kind of bean they use for it, so it’s hard to guess how it would express.

Thanks for the tip - if I find myself at Starbucks again, I’ll give it a shot. It’d be nice if they actually offer something that won’t find it’s way into the gutter before it starts to cool.

That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that the crappy taste of every cup of coffee (drip or espresso) that I’ve had from Starbucks would most likely be mitigated if it was mellowed out by the addition of cream, sugar, syrup, etc. So far I have not tasted a cup of “just coffee” from there that wasn’t vile. The reason for this is that the typical Starbucks roast is much darker than a City roast - so dark, in fact, that the conventional wisdom for the past few hundred years has been that any beans roasted to this point were a regretable accident and ruined beyond use. (Because the essential oils that give coffee it’s pleasant, mellow taste have been completely burned away.)

This is the first I’ve heard of a particular roast that is alleged to be more in line with what coffee drinkers have come to expect from coffee - I’ll give that a shot. So far, my experience has been that even a supposedly “medium” roast is closer to cafe del fuego. Blech.
***** Dammit, I pressed “quote” instead of “edit” to add to that post. Sorry. Need more coffee.

Yeah, I take my coffee with skim milk and Splenda, and I like Starbucks coffee just fine. My brother-in-law takes his coffee black and can’t stand Starbucks. I think that “adulterating” the coffee definitely makes it more palatable. Also, saying that I prefer to the Starbucks coffee to the stuff the local coffee place makes isn’t saying much.

I understand the feeling. I love going to coffee shops to work. I always get my laptop set up before I buy coffee, so if the internet is down I don’t waste money there.

Unfortunately, where I’m living now the only coffee shops are chains. It’s a good twenty five minutes into Austin to get the nice local places. Oh well, I love the skinny vanilla lattes at starbucks. Hmm, I want one now!

I don’t care for their House Blend, but their Gold Coast is quite smooth and powerful. I also enjoy the Americano.

Welcome to the fold, we owners of Starbucks salute you. (OK, I have a lot of stock but we are addicted at my house). Its not just the coffee, the service, the wifi, the atmosphere all contribute to our love of starbucks.

Since I assume you would have dumped Starbucks if they had repeated outages, I can’t see any other issue. It’s not big vs small or one kind of bean over another. My own Starbucks are each different. Living in Silicon Valley, there are 5 within one mile of me. One has the sound turned up too much, another has some regulars that are obnoxious, and one smells of bleach. Same as the mix of local coffee vendors I also have in my rotation.

Yes, you have correctly deduced that this was my major issue. It was just a nice additional bonus to discover that the local 'bucks also has good outlet placement, pleasant service, clean facilities, and a nice-tasting brew, all of which my local coffee shop was lacking. I am certainly not suggesting that anyone make some kind of sweeping generalization about Starbucks or local coffee shops being better overall.

I’m with you. I un-hip-ly like Starbucks. I can’t stand black coffee, so that may be why I like their drinks where more hard-core coffee fans don’t. The lattes taste good to me. The chai is ridiculously sweet, but in an addictive way. Their baked goods leave much to be desired most of the time, I will admit.

But the service is great and it’s a nice atmosphere. If the wifi is reliable, all the better. They really won my heart, however, the time I went to the drive thru and forgot my wallet, and they were very nice about it and gave me my drink anyway. (I realize they couldn’t do anything alternative except throw it out, so very little skin off their noses, but it was still nice.)

Sometimes corporate behemoths deliver a better product. Being small and local doesn’t automatically make you better!

During my college years, I frequented local coffee shops and I occasionally stopped at Starbucks.

Now, in my home town, there is a local place where in the summer the owner’s kids got to run around, watch ICarly and generally make the place their home. Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t know what the situation is now that they are in school, but I will be there infrequently from now on.

I will now patronize Starbucks on my days off. And then there’s always McDonald’s.

I put a lot of cream/milk and sweetener in my coffee, and Starbucks coffee STILL tastes like it’s been burned, to me. I think that most of the Starbucks’ drinks would be rather pleasant, if they were made with some other roast. For instance, I sometimes make a coffee slush at home, with my own brewed coffee, milk, sweetener, and ice. It’s like a Frappuccino, without that burned taste.

I thought I was the only one who thought Starbucks drip coffee tastes burned. I just assumed I was always getting an old batch of it. Even when I added cream and sugar and a dash of their powdered vanilla, it just tasted like…burnt coffee with cream and sugar and vanilla. Kinda gross.

I finally gave up; if I’m in a Starbucks now I always get a latte instead of drip coffee, because it’s far more drinkable, even if I get a double-shot of espresso.

I should note that I’m not a big coffee drinker to begin with, so finding a good local coffee joint is not high on my priority list. It’s more of a “could use some caffeine today oh look there’s Starbucks cuz they’re everywhere” kind of thing.

Just some unsolicited advice: a local coffeehouse near me when I was living in suburban Cleveland used to have wifi outages all the time. Usually, it was a burping router. I’d tell the person behind the counter, and they’d run off to reboot it. If they didn’t, they’d be dealing with increasingly upset laptop-wielding patrons that kept the place full during what would otherwise be an off-hour.

I didn’t mention it in my OP, but yesterday I did go up and mention the problem to the guy behind the counter. He said, “Oh, yeah, it’s been out all morning,” and shrugged. This is actually what made me more irritated than anything else. I understand that sometimes routers burp, and sometimes the Internet goes down. However, it seems to happen very frequently at this place, and if you’re going to advertise “Free Wi-Fi” on signs all over the store, then in my opinion you have a responsibility to 1) maintain a reasonable level of wi-fi service, and 2) inform your customers, by at least putting up a little sign, when you know damn well that the Internet is down.

Has he just tried to get an Americano? I don’t care for Starbucks drip coffee as I think it has a burnt taste, but the Americano is fine in my opinion. That is usually my morning drink, a Tall Americano, black, typically from Starbucks but I often go to smaller shops too.

I learned to drink my coffee black, that way I always get it the way I want. Drinking regular coffee like at a restaurant, always seems weak to me after getting used to the Americano.

I tried getting an Americano a couple of times. Still didn’t like it. I think that Denny’s or IHOP or a little local coffee shop has much better coffee than anything Starbucks has to offer (that I’ve tried).