Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks’

Cappuccino Starbucks Farnborough

October 3, 2019

What is it with tax-dodging Starbucks, incapable of serving a decent coffee, but still managing to overcharge? Greed.

Starbucks Farnborough, very noisy, has about as much character and ambience as a railway station waiting room.

The only good point staff are pleasant.

Sunday evening before they closed, to my surprise, music by Kronos Quartet. My curiosity piqued, I asked. Tita – Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet. Starbucks is full of surprises. A pity about the coffee.

Disgusting undrinkable coffee at Starbucks

September 22, 2019

A cappuccino, looks disgusting, tastes disgusting.

Every mistake. too hot, bitter, all foam and froth.

How can anyone make coffee this bad?

Sadly the norm for tax-dodging Starbucks.

Offered three cups sizes, normal, too big and far too big.

Put off my coffee even before it was served by the girl who served constantly scratting at her hair.

A bunch of out of control kids, no parents, shouting as though in a playground. No one deals with the problem, either shut them up or kick them out.

Also very very hot inside.

The only reason I am here with reluctance, to use the wifi.

Starbucks Protaras touting for business

June 2, 2019

Whenever pass by, Starbucks Protaras always empty.

Now signs of desperation, Sunday illegally touting for business, handing out free drinks Fig Tree Bay.

It is easy to see why always empty. Two places to drink coffee in Protaras, Café Amárena and Miyu Coffee. Unlike Starbucks or any of the other corporate chains serving undrinkable coffee, these two indie coffee shops serve drinkable coffee.

Starbucks Protaras

May 26, 2019

Starbucks Protaras opened end of season last year. On the corner of the road leading down to Fig Tree Bay. Always empty.

Not somewhere I would be seen dead, but out of curiosity I walked in.

Staff with glum faces. No one spoke. No, hello, how are you, may we help you, would you like a coffee.

I walked back out, still glum faces.

One minute down the road on the left overlooking Fig Tree Bay, Miyu Coffee serving excellent coffee supplied by Taf.

Cappuccino at tax-dodging Starbucks

November 15, 2018

What was I doing in Starbucks, a place I would not normally wish to be seen dead in?

Curiosity, just how bad is coffee in Starbucks? Maybe I would be pleasantly surprised? Though I doubted.

I ordered a cappuccino.

I was offered a choice of three different sizes, normal, large and extra large, what Starbucks calls grande.

No, a cappuccino is not made this large.

I was told to go to the end of the counter to wait for my coffee.

I watched as my cappuccino was made. The girl was completely clueless on how to make a cappuccino.

It was made in a glass. The contents of the glass dumped in a large cup, more like a mug. Spilt on the side, no attempt to clean the cup, or better still, start again,

The coffee was not brewed direct into the cup, nor swilled around the cup in a circular motion to coat the sides.

The steamed milk was dumped out of the side of the jug into my cup. No attempt made to pour into the cup.

Watching my coffee prepared the attitude was one of, don’t care, don’t give a shit.

The coffee looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, brewed too hot.

The only positive I could say, no chocolate dumped on top.

It was then find somewhere to sit in amongst the rubbish, tables not cleared, dirty coffee cups, half empty cans.

Several minutes later, the girl who took my order cleared the tables.

She brought me iced water when asked. Brought in a plastic cup.

I noticed around half the customers were drinking out of plastic-lined paper takeaway cups or plastic cups.

So much for the bullshit from Starbucks caring about the environment.

The coffee was not as bad as I expected, it was far, far worse. But then what to expect from over-roasted burnt commodity coffee?

How do people drink this rubbish?

The simple answer is they don’t. What they do is add sugar add syrups in an attempt to make the coffee palatable. Hence the row of syrups prominently displayed.

The reason I asked for water was to take away the unpleasant taste of the coffee. I had to ask as no water available or brought to the table.

Beneath my table, 13-amp sockets to act as footrests.

The ambience of the coffee shop that of a station waiting room. Awful music playing in the background.

When this coffee shop opened, the then imbecile leader of the local council bragged Starbucks had made Farnborough its home. No, a tax-dodging corporate chain had opened a coffee shop to drain money out of the local economy. Home, if by home imply a company head office, is for Starbucks in Netherlands to avoid UK tax.

Outside three shed selling tat and a third shed selling disgusting German sausages. This is what in Farnborough constitutes a Christmas market.

Farnborough a run down dying town centre destroyed by decades of poor town centre planning, a council in bed with greedy developers. A council with no idea what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function.

Those who have the means or the time go elsewhere. And most certainly go elsewhere if they wish for a decent cup of coffee or somewhere decent to eat.

The sad bitter truth of undrinkable coffee

September 18, 2018

In May, I met with a friend in a coffee shop in Cyprus.

Where we met in Cyprus, Robustos in Paralimini is a rarity, a speciality coffee shop that serves decent coffee.

Cyprus has more coffee chains than can shake a stick at. Chains you may have heard of, chains you will never have heard of, Costa (now owned by Coca-Cola), tax-dodging Caffe Nero, tax-dodging Starbucks, Coffee Island and Coffee Berry, the Greek versions of Starbucks, Second Cup, the Canadian version of Starbucks.

My friend Georgia does not like coffee. I explained why she found coffee to be unpleasant and bitter, poor quality coffee, bad machine, brewed by someone who not a skilled barista, too hot. Yes, she had found coffee to be served scalding hot, and yes, it was unpleasant and bitter.

Owner George joined us for a chat and I asked him to make Georgia a cappuccino. To Georgia, I said please try, if you do not like it, you are not obliged to drink it.

Georgia took a tentative sip, found it to be OK. Only when her cup was empty and she had said she enjoyed it, did I point out that that she had not had to add sugar.

The only reason chocolate is dumped on a cappuccino, sugar and syrups added, is to mask the taste of bad coffee.

Visit a speciality coffee shop, they will source their beans from a quality coffee roastery, who sources quality beans from a farm. The roast will be light to medium roast to bring out the characteristics of the beans. The roast varies with each batch of beans. It then takes a skilled barista to bring out the best from the beans, and the skilled barista needs a quality grinder and quality espresso machine. Any error en route from farm to cup will ruin the beans and produce a poor cup of coffee.

The coffee chains buy cheap low quality beans. These are over roasted to hide any defects in the beans. This though is not the only reason for the dark roast, it gives uniformity of the beans, a burnt coffee bean is a burnt coffee bean, it requires no skill of the barista, a robot could do the job, the only reason McWorkers are employed they are cheaper than robots.

An analogy would be McDonald’s. All their burgers are identical, maybe 200 cows in one burger. No skill required to cook the burger.

Brian Stoffel from the viewpoint of a coffee farmer in Puerto Rico explains in an excellent article The Bitter Truth About Starbucks Coffee why cheap coffee is dark roast and preferred by the global coffee chains and speciality coffee a lighter roast.

In a dark roast, bitter is the predominant flavor. That’s because bitter is the flavor you get when things get burned.

At El Toledo, he demonstrates to tourists how the beans change over the course of just a few minutes of roasting, and what those few minutes means for the taste that ends up in the cup. Beans sampled at one-minute intervals, beginning 15 minutes into the roasting process.

The main difference between the three different roasts (courtesy Brian Stoffel):

  • In a light roast, the flavors are more fruity and acidic. That’s because the coffee cherries that the beans come from are fruity and acidic.
  • In a medium roast, the coffee tastes more balanced and sweet. That’s primarily because the glucose has been heated up and activated, but it also hasn’t burned away yet.
  • In a dark roast, bitter is the predominant flavor. That’s because bitter is the flavor you get when things get burned.

Two speciality coffee shops to try light roasted beans, Base Camp on Steep Hill in Lincoln and Outpost Coffee in the Lace Market area of Nottingham.

Dark roasted coffee can be tried in any coffee chain, and sadly too many indie coffee shops that buy cheap rubbish catering supply coffee. One of the worst I have tried, Jacobs coffee served in an indie coffee shop in Cyprus, the coffee undrinkable, the beans, black, over roasted and the disgusting smell of the beans turned the stomach.

To buy quality coffee beans, from most speciality coffee shops or direct from the roastery.

Coffee chains ripoff their customers

September 16, 2018

Last week, The Mail on Sunday had an article Barista bandits on how the coffee chains are ripping off their customers.

Caffe Nero and Starbucks dodge tax, Costa owned by Coca-Cola, Pret a manger by Vulture Capitalists, all serve disgusting cheap undrinkable coffee, but as the MoS points out, we are paying a high price for this undrinkable coffee, at least those with no taste for coffee are, those of us who appreciate coffee, seek out the nearest local speciality coffee shop. To this list of reasons to avoid the chains could also add poor working conditions, soul destroying low paid McShit jobs, drain money out of the local economy.

MoS describe how the wholesale price of coffee has fallen, in the meantime the price charged by the chains has risen. By wholesale price, it is assumed they are referring to the coffee exchange price for commodity coffee in London and New York.

According to MoS, price of beans on the international markets has dropped 67% since 2011, from £2.23 per pound to a low of 74p last month. In the same period, a ‘tall’ cappuccino in Starbucks that cost £2.15 in 2011 now costs £2.60 in most outlets – a 20% increase.

It is not only Starbucks ripping off their customers, other chains are also ripping off their customers too:

  • tax dodging Caffe Nero – regular cappuccino has risen 40p from £2.30 in 2011
  • Pret a Manger – from £2.19 to £2.45
  • Costa – the £2.15 ‘primo’ now costs £2.35

The usual excuses, we have heard them all before with ratchet pricing from energy companies, cost of Brent Crude goes up, electricity prices rise, cost of oil drops, electricity price stays the same.

  • Starbucks: ‘Many factors contribute to pricing decisions, including rents, labour, competition, distribution, commodities – and coffee.’
  • Costa: ‘The price of a cup of coffee does not simply reflect the cost of the beans.’
  • Pret a Manger: ‘Our coffee prices take into account the cost of our ingredients, as well as operational costs such as wages.’
  • Cafe Nero: declined to comment.

That low price on the international commodity exchange translates as bigger margins for the chains, poverty for the growers, the difference between sending the kids to school or not, a nutritinal meal every day.

The world of the speciality coffee shop is different, they engage in Direct Trade. Yes you are paying a higher price for your cappuccino, usually somewhere between £2-50 and £3-00, though often less than will pay in a chain.

There are though very good reasons for this price, and unlike the chains, it can be more than justified.

Investment by the coffee shop, decor, ambience, employment of skilled baristas, quality espresso machine and grinder, a choice of brew methods, V60 or Chemex pour over filter coffee, cold brew coffee. They are buying quality speciality coffee, not cheap commodity coffee, a far higher price is paid to the growers.

We have a choice, no one is forced to drink coffee from a corporate chain, to pay through the nose for undrinkable cheap coffee. There are speciality coffee shops, where the baristas and owner will be passionate about coffee, where can relax with a quality coffee served in glass or ceramic, where can drink with a clear conscience knowing a higher price is being paid to the coffee grower.

Starbucks introduces 5p latte levy

February 27, 2018

The introduction of a 5p levy by Starbucks on takeaway coffee in a handful of outlets in London is a meaningless gesture.

The variation in the price of coffee from one coffee shop to another exceeds 5p, thus a 5p levy on takeaway coffee is going to make not a jot of difference.

It is quite amusing to see the reaction of Starbucks clientele bleating at having to pay 5p extra for takeaway coffee when they are more than happy to pay for overpriced undrinkable coffee. How they will howl when the proposed 25p latte levy is introduced. Maybe they should take the opportunity to discover the many excellent indie coffee shops that London has to offer. Maybe treat themselves to London Coffee or 111 Coffee Shops in London That You Must Not Miss to open their closed minds that there is another world out there, a world of quality coffee.

A latte levy has to be at least 25p as proposed by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee and introduced across all Starbucks stores, not 35 stores in London.

To be effective, it has to be coupled with other measures, reusable cups on sale, for example KeepCup, a substantial discount if bring a reusable cup for a refill.

Pret a Manger, to preempt the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee proposal on latte levy, introduced at the beginning of the year coffee at 49p, a 50p discount if bring your own cup for a refill.  No reusable cups on sale, no information in store. A refusal to provide any statistics. A clever PR stunt, little more.

Starbucks introduced a 50p discount if brought in a refillable cup. Then a few months later, after grabbing the headlines, quietly dropped the discount to 25p.

The big chains are lobbying hard behind the scenes to block the 25p latte levy.  The reason why, their business model is built upon grab it and go, takeaway, consumerist culture.

In the UK we are throwing away an estimated 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups every year. These cups cannot be recycled, these are are plastic lined, and therein lies the problem.

Can introduce a reusable cup for example KeepCup, but expensive, bulky, a pain to carry around. The target demographics is office workers popping out for a coffee.  And there is only noticeable take up if coupled with a substantial discount when used.

I have yet to see a KeepCup purchased, let alone used, but that was before the report by House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee proposing a latte levy.

Speaking to indie coffee shops, the proposed latte levy may have focused minds. Where they have recently introduced sale of KeepCup, these are selling.

Compostable cups are better then plastic-lined paper cups, but depend on access to a compost heap on which to deposit.

Plastic is killing the planet, marine life is dying. We have to eliminate plastic. We have to move to sit down and relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in ceramic or glass.

Starbucks is a socially irresponsible company, they dodge tax.

To illustrate how much Starbucks cares about the environment, last week they opened a Drive-Thru outside Lincoln serving undrinkable coffee.

Starbucks claim they are the first to introduce a charge on disposable coffee cups. Is this true? I would love to hear from any indie coffee shops who have introduced such a charge.

I am aware of indie coffee shops considering hiking the cost of takeaway coffee by the amount it costs them to buy the cups, then discounting by the same amount if bring in a reusable coffee cup, thus cost neutral.

The media regurgitates a Starbucks press release and calls it news. No critical analysis.

The introduction of a 5p latte levy by Starbucks in a handful of London outlets should be seen for what it is, a PR gimmick, nothing more.

Starbucks closed

September 9, 2017

The good news, Starbucks closed.

The bad news, Starbucks only closed for renovation.

Seize the opportunity, use the opportunity to explore good coffee shops, see what good coffee actually tastes like, then do not return.

Follow the Lincoln Coffee Trail, Stokes on High Bridge, Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle, Stokes at The Collection,  The Little Tractor Coffee Shop (within Bird’s Yard at the foot of Steep Hill), Makushi, Pimeneto tea rooms (for tea), Stokes Lawn Cafe [see Coffee Culture in Lincoln]

Big Business coffee chains

September 15, 2016

Three coffee chains, Costa, Caffe Nero and tax-dodging Starbucks, dominate the High Street and shopping centres. Three coffee chains you will avoid if you love coffee.

It is difficult to comprehend why anyone drinks what is called coffee in these chains, when here is now a wide diversity of quality indie coffee shops. But then it is difficult to comprehend why anyone eats in KFC or McDonald’s.

Chains making millions out of serving poor quality, undrinkable coffee and factory cakes, in a characterless corporate environment.

Starbucks part of the local community? Was that a joke?

If coffee out of a machine tastes the same as that served by a barista, what does that say of the baristas employed by Costa?

Indie coffee shops, serve quality coffee, source quality coffee beans, employ skilled and knowledgeable baristas and recycle money within the  local economy.

Avoid the chains, seek out indie coffee shops and learn what real coffee  tastes like.


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