Why do some people hate Starbucks?

Interesting. Any details about this? I’d like to know more.

In UK Costa Coffee are much better than Starbucks, but Starbucks has the big image.

I always figured that name is a clever abbreviation of “Jesus H. Christ, have you seen the Costa Coffee in this place???”

I am ambivalent about Starbucks. I used to work on Piccadilly in London, and when they opened a second branch less than 150 yards down the street from the first, I thought it was getting a bit much. The coffee is OK, but nothing special. I like that they have those big chunky mugs when you have your coffee inside - I hate drinking it out of paper cups. The muffins are quite good. I’d like to see more fair trade products.

But… frappuccinos. Who on God’s green earth came up with these vile concoctions? “I know, I’ll charge folks £4 for a plastic cup full of ice cubes, with a dribble of cold stale coffee and horrible caramel syrup. Yeah, they’ll go for that.”


There is a bit of talk about it on starbucks.com as well.

My main beef: the coffee is low-quality and tastes terrible. Plus it is overpriced. Otherthanthat, Ihave no objections! :smiley:

I have been in Starbucks about 3 times in my life and I can’t figure out what the hell anything is. Frappucino? What’s the difference between that and a cappucino? I have no clue. The sizes are also confusing as well. The whole thing wreaks of pretension IMO. The coffee is simply a moot point. Do they not have those little machines like they do here in Europe? If you go to a bakery or any cafe, they have a machine that makes gourmet coffees. It grinds the beans and brews the coffee with milk. I think its pretty good, and I would rather have one of those than an unidentifiable drink from Starbucks. And really, who needs that much coffee?!?! 12 ounces is enough if its strong enough.

Any truth to the rumor I heard a few months ago that Starbuck’s ADDS caffeine to their coffees?

“I assume they have their grounds…” Funny

Actually, Starbucks is a front for Dr. Evil’s worldwide criminal empire.

What - no Battlestar Galactica jokes yet?

I like my coffee sweet and light, and I can’t dump enough cream into a Starbucks coffee without it getting lukewarm. If I put less cream (so that the coffee stays hot), it’s extreemly bitter or acidic.

I prefer the mom & pops in my area because the people who work there seem more friendly and willing to do almost any oddball thing you want (to your drink). Starbucks by comparrison seems like an assembly line.

There is one Caribou Coffee in my area and I like it because the place has the look and feel of a ski lodge. But they appear to be growing rapidly too.

I think the one thing to learn from Starbucks/McDonalds etc is do not frequent the same company too much or it will grow into a giant dog turd and rule the world.

Why pay a ton for mediocre coffee when there are so many other places?

A new Starbucks opened up in front of my workplace (in a mall), and I decided to go over and have a look, since there aren’t many in Montreal yet and I wanted to see what the fuss is about. I ordered a coffee. Just a coffee. Nothing fancy with syrups or whipped cream or “cino” stuck on the end of it. The coffee appeared in front of me and the cashier said “that’s $2.50 please”. :eek: So I paid up, thinking to myself that this better be the best damn coffee I’ve ever tasted.
It wasn’t.
What I also find odd about the Starbucks out front is how the line is always formed of American tourists. I actually hear them as they approach, saying “Hey, a Starbucks, let’s get coffee”… but they’ve just passed a half dozen other great coffee places! I think they must be keeping the Montreal Starbucks in business, because most Montrealers I know tried it once, were unimpressed, and never went back.

Starbucks, since installing themselves in my downtown, chased away a wonderful little local coffee shop (one that played real jazz all day and had an expansive menu with wonderful coffee.) They didn’t do this by outcompeting them; they instead waited until this small business’s lease was up, and offered a substantially greater sum to the landowner. They have not used this property; this was to kill competition with a Starbucks two blocks away.

Starbucks does not ‘outcompete’ smaller businesses - it’s the Microsoft of the foodservice world. They achieved success through selling a decent - but not great - product and heavily marketing it. They now use this past success to hurt other businesses.

I would say that their coffee is reliably ok - I’ve never had a terrible cup of Starbucks coffee, even from their locations on the Ohio Turnpike and in small booths in stores. However, their coffee isn’t excellent either. I don’t think it’s particularly ‘burnt’, but they do offer some darker roasts than many people may be accustomed to (it’s no more ‘burnt’, for instance, than the French roast at another café I frequent.) Dark roasts are not a universal taste though (I myself don’t like them much) and people who don’t realize what the Viennese roast they’re ordering is like may be disappointed.

The coffee industry as a whole is terribly exploitive - I don’t see how Starbucks could be any worse than other coffee purchasers, especially since, as far as I know, they purchase beans from other growers - I don’t think they maintain their own plantations.

Starbucks does, in fact, sell Fair Trade coffee, which is subject to a certification process and is supposedly a much better deal for the workers in tropical countries who grow it. I don’t know the details of the Fair Trade program, nor do I understand why Starbucks has any particular greater obligation to coffee pickers than any other café.

What’s wrong with Starbucks? Well, their coffee is worse than that of many cafés in my neck of the woods, and they have managed to insinuate themselves into downtowns, malls, bookstores, grocery stores, and seemingly every other place that a coffee shop could be squeezed into. I think there’s a certain fear that Starbucks will manage to completely eliminate other specialty coffee shops, which is a concern to the addicts among us.

What irritates me, however, is the fact that Starbucks seems to try to ‘provide an experience’, to ‘sell an image’, rather than to provide coffee. This is a very calculated marketing tool that more and more businesses use, and it comes at the expense of the product. Starbucks’ image is a plasticky McDonaldized immitation of sophistication - they sell slightly bland, very sweet versions of ‘fancy’ coffee drinks, they play slightly bland low-key music (and sell compilations of banal lite-jazz at their counters), their businesses have slightly bland faux-funky decor - the business seems to be based upon a bland, easy-to-tolerate ‘sophistication’ that appeals to yuppie-types who don’t know enough about coffee (or music) to realize that they’re buying something that is second-rate and formulated to be above all tolerable - Starbucks lacks edge.

The problem is that sophistication is inherently at odds with mass-marketing; their chain is immensely appealing only to those who haven’t had better coffee, in a café that plays better music, in more interesting surroundings (one café around here covers its walls with the works of local artists; another has multicolored walls clearly painted by its employee-owners). Starbucks attempts to reduce the ‘café’ to a lowest-common denominator product - and as any college student with a lot of homework knows, hanging out for hours upon end in cafés is an important part of life.

Starbucks’ ‘image’, then, is irritating because it’s false. It’s as though McDonalds decided to start providing waiters and pretending that it provided gourmet food. Starbucks is like a restaurant that expects you to order your diet Coke off a wine list; what makes Starbucks annoying is not that it’s unsophisticated but that it maintains a pretense of sophistication. It makes up fake Italian names for coffee-flavored milkshakes (Frappuccino, by the way, comes to the chains in powder form) and sells CDs of elevator music. Starbucks is pretentious, and it’s filled with pretentious people, and it gives it’s coffee pretentious names, and underneith it all you can see the work of 60-year-olds with marketing degrees.

Plus, they call their drinks “tall”, “grande”, and “venti” - how friggin’ irritating is that? Then their damn “baristas” look at you funny when you ask for a medium or a large instead of memorizing their goddamn coded words.

Shit, I probably sound like the most pompous idiot to ever walk the earth. I’m not really like this, I swear.

I’m kind of disappointed to hear all the Starbucks bashing here. I must admit that I am a frequent customer and contributor to Starbucks Nation. There are a few things that I would personally change about the place but it’s not my call. If you want it to be something else, tell them so. Instead of showing everyone what I dislike about the establishment, I choose a more positive outlook:

  1. I like their coffee. I like the fact that I can have it different on every single visit (supposedly 19,000 different ways to order). Anytime I walk into a SB away from home I know that it will taste the same as the one back home. BTW, have you ever noticed that the people saying “SB beans are burnt” are local coffee shops or Italian coffee nuts that insist their favorite coffee is the better than mine? OMG, maybe it just comes down to personal preference.

  2. Starbucks is an American success story. If everyone hates it…why have three new stores opened within 5 miles of each other in my town? I feel SB is now an American tradition of sorts that I can be proud of. Do some reading about the company if you don’t believe it to be a great company. And no, I don’t work there.

  3. The stores are comfortable and stylish to spend time in. Whether I’m reading the paper or meeting friends I am always pleased with the atmosphere. Another nice thing is that the bathrooms seem to always be clean at SB.

  4. The service is outstanding. NEVER have I walked into a SB and been treated less than royalty. When business is slow many of the Baristas will come out on the floor and make conversation or give away SB freebies. They make it a point to greet everyone with a smile…can you find that in any other large-scale businesses? I would hope so, but I doubt it.

ok, flame away…I know you want to. :smiley:

I must admit, I go to my coffee place to drink and coffee and maybe read a paper. Not to socialize. So Starbucks annoys me becuse it’s trendy and I can’t sit quietly in pece. I don’t go to Barnes & Nobles anymore for the same reason, now I go to Border’s. People think it’s strange that i want to go to the bookstore to browse/read not socialize.

But then I’m a bit of a hermit.

Please don’t tell me that Venti is 20 ounces of coffee. That’s really excessive and gross. Stupid super-size culture. :frowning:

In the small but growing town I live in, we’ve only reached critical mass of population in the last few years. This has meant chain restaurants such as Outback, Johnny Carinos and Chili’s have begun to move in. People are clamoring for a Starbucks because it isn’t going to run out any local coffee shop. There is no place here in town to get a good cappuccino, except my house. There is a place for decent coffee; but nothing like the variety of a Starbucks. Well, there is the Joe Muggs in the Books-A-Million bookstore, but the less said about that the better and I did say “good cappuccino”.

I’m a pretty big fan of Starbucks. I don’t go there often because of the cost and because one of their fru-fru coffees is so damned unhealthy you can get a day’s worth of fat from it, but I sometimes go there as a treat. Comparing Starbucks versus local mom&pop coffee houses, Starbucks is usually better. For example, if I get a mocha at a mom&pop coffee house, it’s usually all milk, with a tiny bit of espresso and chocolate powder. But at Starbucks, you can actually taste the espresso, which I love. I also really like their brewed coffee, but that’s really expensive, too, so that’s another thing reserved only for “special” days, like when I get a new contract or something. I also like the environment - on days I go there for a treat, I’ll also bring some work with me, and because so many other people do the same, I get a nice, quiet place to do some editing, along with a big cup of good coffee.

Starbucks’ food, though, is really nothing special. But then again, it’s nothing special at a mom&pop, either - after all, they’re both coffee shops, not bakeries.

Last time I had a Starbucks coffee (just plain coffee with a little thing of creamer!) I a lot of the rest of the day in the bathroom suffering from severe abdominal discomfort.

When I got it I almost didn’t drink the entire thing because it tasted BURNT, and I do mean nastily burnt, like the beans were charred. But it cost almost three bucks, so I couldn’t just pour the thing out – I’m a po’ college student. I was cold so I drank it, thinking it would warm up my insides. It didn’t.

I am on medication for panic attacks, and I haven’t had a panic attack for over a year – until I drank that thing of coffee. It made me shivery, distressed, sick, and panicky, and I spent the rest of the day covered in blankets on my bed and shuffling back and forth to the bathroom. I actually started to have my panic attack in the middle of Legislation. It was terrible!

I am never, ever going back to Starbucks! I’m sure they didn’t do anything funny to my coffee, I’m sure it was just the way that particular batch was roasted or burnt or carbonized or whatever. But I’m not about to experience that again!

I also got a chai from there a couple of years ago, and it tasted like dog vomit. I had to throw it out, and I think I spent three-fifty on that.

I would rather drink hot fresh coffee from a drip coffee machine at my local Dunkin’ Donuts, thank you.

Elysian I suspect caffeine conributed to your panic attack.

Starbucks is dire though. Too much sugar, dull coffee, too expensive, dull funiture, dull atmosphere. Far better going to a pub and ordering an irish coffee.

When I travel one of the main attractions is to try the local food and drink. The fact that Starbucks coffee tastes exactly the same is therefore not necessarily a plus. Also, if you believe, like I do, that Starbucks unfairly outcompetes other options that means that your personal preference becomes everyone’s only option.

Not a flame, just a differing opinion. :slight_smile: