* Prices may differ from that shown
Love them or hate them coffee shop chains are here to stay it would appear and Starbucks is no exception. Now I've tried many different Starbucks in my time, from London to Penrith, Sheffield to Vancouver, Lincoln to Orlando and no matter where you are in the world you can always count on getting the same great tasting coffee.
Well that's not strictly true, although each outlet might use the same coffee blend, the water they use is entirely different, so you're always going to get a slightly different taste to your coffee. Now to me, I can't really tell the diference, but to some people this might make a huge difference in their coffee experience, so just be aware of this when you visit other counties and other countries.
What you can be guaranteed of though is that you'll be able to get an Americano, a Latte, a Cappiccino, a Macchiato, a Frappuccino or one of many other drinks that Starbucks does all in a range of flavours, with or without milk, with or without chocolate sprinkles. You'll also be able to get a range of sandwiches, cookies, muffins, slices of cake and yoghurts. They also sell their own branded coffees and mugs and coffee making machines. Although not all outlets sell all the products, most have a selection in store which you can choose from. You can also be guaranteed of the fact that you'll see the same green and white logo emblazed on the shop front so you'll know you've found a Starbucks.
I enjoy a mug of Starbucks every now and then, but I now always ask for a single shot as I find the two shot standard just too strong. I can be assured that the quality will be the same and the staff always seem friend and polite no matter where I am in the world. Yes they can be a little expensive, but it's always nice to treat yourself every now and then.
** I was advised by Dooyoo to put my review of the Starbucks Cambridge store in this general Starbucks category **
Whenever I am shopping in the beautiful town centre of Cambridge I always like to stop for a coffee and recharge and get ready to hit the shops again. One of my favourite places to go is Starbucks. Yes, there are lots of great little cafe's and bars where you can go for a coffee in Cambridge but for a quick pit stop instead of having to order with a waitress and sit down and drink coffee out of fancy cups, I like Starbucks as it is quick and easy and you always know what you are getting. Plus, the muffins are nice in here too so I always end up having one of these as well.
The location of this Starbucks couldn't be better which is another one of the reasons why I like to stop off in here. It is located at 18 Market Street which as the name suggests is right in the market square and across from a big open area where they have market stalls. This is a great location as it is bang in the heart of the shopping district so you do not have to wander far away from the shops to take a break. The market always seems to be on while I am there so I think it must be a daily one selling everything from sweets and flowers to clothes.
What I like about this Starbucks is that it has seating outside which is perfect for people watching. The chairs are the silver metal ones, not too comfortable but good in all weathers so Starbucks can leave them out there without having to worry that they will get wrecked. Cambridge is great for people watching so this is a perfect location for that. Inside the Starbucks is nice and big which I like as you are generally always guaranteed to get a seat which is not always the case with some smaller Starbuck chains. Just inside the door there is a window bench which has stools up against it at which you can sit at. To be honest this is my favourite spot to sit in as you have the benefit of sitting inside but can still see all the people go by. This window catches the morning sun though so if it's sunny you will get rather hot sitting here, this has happened to me a couple of times now!!
There is an upstairs which is where you come in and then a downstairs to this Starbucks. The toilets are located downstairs but I believe there is a disabled toilet on the street level as well. The bar is upstairs and so handy to order from. Obviously Starbucks is a chain so this one is no different and has all the usual drinks and drinks available at other Starbucks. Downstairs is where you will find all the comfy chairs and tables so if you are looking to stay for a while like many of the students do here with their laptops plugged in then downstairs is perfect for that.
Several of the colleges are around here too so if you are sightseeing rather than shopping you can always grab a coffee to take with you while yoga re examining the wonderful old and historical buildings. All in all a nice location to grab a coffee in Cambridge.
I hardly need to give Starbucks an introduction. With many its many stores it is hardly unknown and obscure. Its iconic symbol of a mermaid has confused people many times as to what it has to do with coffee. I still don't know myself.
-- Food and Drink --
As it is a coffee shop, you can imagine that they will have a wide selection of various different coffees. From lattees, espresso, mochas, frappuccinos, hot chocolate with a variety of different flavours on top of that and a decent selection of teas (I say this as a tea drinker who doesn't appreciate only being able to buy English Breakfast everywhere). You can order your drinks in tall (small), grande (medium) and venti (large). There is something to suit everyones tastes.
I generally order the earl grey tea which comes in a full leaf teabag which impressed me. Compared to similar stores (some of which don't bother with earl grey) it is definitely a good tasting earl grey though it doesn't beat my favourite Twinings, it is still a good contender. The hot chocolate is good also but I was a little disappointed by the caramel and hazulnut hot chocolate as it just didn't have the taste that I was expecting.
Starbucks also offer a small range of food from muffins, sandwhiches, cakes, fruit and crisps. Though this, I feel is a little more on the pricey side, all the food is of good quality. The cakes especially are very nice. However, if you are hungry it perhaps isn't the place to go.
As I said previously, there are many Starbucks stores around. I have three within decent walking distance from me (several more if I really wanted to walk that far).
All of the stores are slightly different with different sizes and different layouts. Though they are generally the same: counter where you buy drinks and pay, little bit over is where you wait for your coffee (tea is prepared at the counter before you pay) and then near by is the station for sugar and milk. And of course tables, chairs and bathroom facilities. I have always found everything in Starbucks clean and well presented.
Also, if you want to bring your laptop and do work they generally have sockets somewhere. I'm not sure how many stores this is true for though.
-- Staff --
I have always found the staff to be very pleasant and polite. I go into my regular one so much that my order is known to quite a few members of staff. There is always someone cleaning up tables. Of course, the pleasantness and politeness of staff will vary but generally I have always had a good experience.
-- Price --
Okay, so Starbucks isn't known for being a budget end store. Granted a lot of the stuff can seem a little overpriced. As I drink tea however a grande earl grey only sets me back £1.65 which I hardly count as pricey. Sure it is a little more than I would pay at university but its still not that bad. The food is a little expensive as well, especially the more smaller cakes. It is good quality food though.
-- Overall --
Yes, it is a little on the pricey side but for the quality it is recommended. I go to Starbucks a lot to do uni work and my writing group meets there regularly as well. I don't have a truly negative thing to say about Starbucks and enjoy going there.
Very briefly am heartily disappointed in local starbucks regarding employment isusues. Daughter went to trouble of filling in application, attending for interview with promise of call the following day, but alas, they did not have the decency to bother. Hate companies that do this and it surprises me with their clearly false claims of being one of top employers!!! Costa at least did follow through with what they said aand I am now converted!
I love starbucks with a passion! I think they brew excellent coffee, have relaxing atmospheres, and friendly people! I'm there at least once a week for a drink!
Starbucks has a very extensive menu, and it's easy to find something to satisfy you. They offer hot and cold drinks, and most drinks have a hot and cold version. For example, you can get a soy chai latte either Iced or hot, so depending on the weather, you have options.
I usually go for the bold pick of the day coffee. Starbucks always has Pike's Place coffee brewing, which I'm not a big fan of, but they also have another coffee of their choosing brewing. The blend changes every couple of days, so it's always exciting to see what is there. My favorite are Komodo Dragon, Gold Goast, and the Gazebo Blend (which is their summer seasonal and just celebrated it's 20th year being brewed).
Starbucks is an excellent place to grab a cup of coffee and meet up with some friends. Most of the locations have plenty of seating, calming lighting, and soothing music. Everyone in there is usually relaxed, so it's a good place to kick back and unwind. A lot of people enjoy reading there as well.
Prices are average for a coffee shop, so as long as you don't go there too often, you won't be broke. However, for the quality of the drink and experience, it's totally worth it. I would suggest giving it a try if you have not yet!
Starbucks is an American coffee house franchise that has been brought over to Britain. They are primarily renown for their different types of coffe, these include fairtrade, organic,flavoured etc.
However they also serve tea, fruit smoothies, frappuccinos etc, and food.
Fortunately where I live in Plymouth, we had 2 starbucks open a couple of yeras ago and now i am a diehard fan.
Its quite a novelty to choose the milk you have in your drink, if you want flavours added of whipped cream. The food is also reasonably priced.
The good thing about Starbucks is thae fact that they appeal to everyone , even those with dietry requirements and children.
Having a coffee here is a treat and its not something I could afford on a daily basis, but i try to go as often as possible.
The only criticism that i have , is that sometimes the queues are ridicously long.There seems to be alot of people on tills but not many making the actual drinks. Its not somewhere I would suggest if you were on a short break from work.Other than that its great.
At first, I hated Starbucks. I resented that it was taking over the world, and I feared that my home city, Dublin, would have its lovely café culture destroyed and get taken over by Starbucks.
Thankfully, however, that has not happened. There are a few Starbucks places in Dublin, but not enough to pose a threat to the lovely little cafés. And to be honest, since moving to London nearly a year ago, I have embraced the Starbucks phenomenon. There is one on almost every street corner, and to me this has become a good thing.
Why? Well, you always know what you're going to get with Starbucks. You know the drinks, the food, etc will be the same in each one you go to. You know there will be comfy chairs and a nice atmosphere. And if, like me, you are a vegan, you know there will be a nice falafel panini waiting for you in every decent-sized Starbucks you go into (which at £3.95 is a great bargain, especially as it is quite large and filling).
Their prices are quite reasonable (in the UK that is, in Ireland their prices are a bit less reasonable). To be honest, their tea does not taste that good. I have never tried their coffee, not being a coffee drinker, but everyone does seem to rave about it so it must be all right! You can always get nice fruit salads and lovely little bars of chocolate (which taste yummy), and all in all, it's a great place, especially when in an unfamiliar area. It's good to know you can always rely on Starbucks. I just hope it never fully invades Dublin!
Thanks for reading. This review is also published on ciao.co.uk under the same username.
Starbucks is a coffee shop chain which seems to have taken over the world in the last few years. Virtually everyone has heard of it and the majority have been to a Starbucks at some point. I'm no different, as I love to have the occasional drink from Starbucks, and as there are around 7 in the centre of the city I live in (Glasgow) they are pretty hard to avoid. So why have they become so popular?
Starbucks shops vary widely in size, layout and so on. Some of them are fairly large - the one I usually go to has 2 floors and lots of tables, and bathroom facilities for when you drink a little bit too much coffee. However, some shops are much smaller and only have a few tables, and some Starbucks' come in the form of a stall in train stations etc. The shops always have a very nice, welcoming feel to them. There are usually a mixture of wooden chairs, barstools, armchairs and sofas so you have a choice of seating (depending on how busy it is of course.) There is usually artwork on the walls and plants etc so the surroundings are attractive and the shops are well decorated. Background music is usually played, and it tends to be unobtrusive music such as soft jazz/arty sounding type stuff which is kept at a low level so even if it's not your cup of tea (no pun intended) it's easy enough to block it out.
In my experience the staff are usually very helpful and polite but obviously as they're people I can't make a general statement about the personalities of all Starbucks staff. I do however think they are well trained by the company, as they always make a great tasting drink and work quickly and efficiently. There is usually at least one member of staff tidying up tables so it's rare that you'll see a vacant table with the previous customers' empty mugs etc on it. On one occasion I ordered my drink and walked to the end of the bar to wait to collect it, and after around ten minutes it hadn't arrived. I asked the girl making the drinks if my drink would be ready soon, and she admitted that it had been forgotten about. She was very apologetic and proceeded to give me a voucher that would let me get my next drink for free. This was very unexpected as I'd accepted her apology right away, but obviously I wasn't complaining about getting a free drink. It goes to show that despite being such a big company they still value customer satisfaction, which is always important in any shopping experience.
Stabucks have a massive range of drinks and have something to appeal to virtually every taste. Just some of the choices on their menu include caffe latte, espresso, mocha, tea, hot chocolate, and frappuccinos. There are 3 sizes of drink to choose from - tall, grande and venti - that's small, medium and large to those of you who aren't coffee snobs. Each type of drink has several different flavours available - so for example if you want a hot chocolate, as well as having regular hot chocolate they have caramel and hazelnut flavoured hot chocolate - which, trust me, is a lot nicer than it might sound. I particularly like frappuccinos, which are basically crushed iced drinks. These have the widest range of flavours, from coffee varieties to fruity ones like peach and pomegranate or something like that. Their iced coffees are definitely a cut above the rest - in Costa Coffee I once ordered their iced coffee naively believing it would be similar to a frappuccino. Sadly this wasn't the case and it was rather disgusting. Not to turn this into a negative review of Costa, but as Costa probably are Starbucks' biggest rival I have to say that Costa can't hold a candle to Starbucks on terms of quality. After the disgusting iced coffee incident, I was in Costa again and this time ordered a hot chocolate - and again it was nowhere near the standard of the hot chocolate in Starbucks, and tasted quite bland. As well as drinks, Starbucks also offer a selection of food, including sandwiches; wraps; a wide selection of cakes such as muffins, scones and cheesecake; and even porridge if you fancy having your breakfast there. If you buy a sandwich, the staff will kindly heat it up for you, which is a nice bonus.
Ok... you knew it was coming. Obviously, no place would be this good without having a major drawback, and no Starbucks review would be complete without mentioning the price. The prices are, to put it bluntly, extortionate. Especially considering a large percentage of Starbucks' most frequent customers are students, who are famously strapped for cash, the prices are ridiculous. As far as I'm aware, nothing on the drinks menu is below £2.50, and this is only for the simpler drinks in the smallest size. If you have one of the more unique concoctions and order the largest size, you're looking at spending around the £4 mark on one drink. And the food prices aren't any better - in fact, they're worse. One slice of cake will set you back around £1.50, sometimes even more. As you can probably pop into your local supermarket and buy a whole cake for around this price, it's obviously not that great for people on a budget. The quality of the food and drink is excellent, as I have stated, but I'm not sure any amount of quality could warrant paying anywhere near £2 for one slice of cake. There are ways to save money in Starbucks, however. There is some sort of membership card which allows you to put money on your card and then spend it in any Starbucks store, kind of like a coffee-specific debit card. Users of this card can enjoy a rewards scheme, which I believe lets you get the occasional freebie after spending a certain amount, however I'm not very well informed about the Starbucks card so if it sounds interesting to you you might want to look it up to learn more. With Starbucks' prices being what they are, any way to save money in there can't hurt.
To those kind-hearted souls who are worried about the welfare of people in developing countries, you'll be glad to hear that Starbucks puts a lot of emphasis on its ethical trading. Sadly, again I'm not too clued up on this aspect of the company, but I know they strive to provide their farmers etc with the best possible working conditions and pay, which is a far cry from the way some big international companies treat their workers. This trading scheme is no doubt part of the reason Starbucks' prices are so high, so at least it can be said that paying exuberant prices for coffee and cake is benefiting someone less fortunate than ourselves. Another advantage is that Starbucks now sells the coffee beans they use in bags, so you can buy a bag of their coffee and enjoy the Starbucks coffee taste in the comfort of your own home. Some shops even sell their mugs, so if you're a real Starbucks nut, you can really recreate the experience of visiting a Starbucks store.
Starbucks obviously gained its incredible popularity from something, and the something is mainly the fact that it makes amazing drinks, which are provided in a clean, comfortable environment. If you haven't ever been to Starbucks - and it's unlikely that you haven't - I really suggest that you try it at least once, because the quality of the drinks really is outstanding. Just try not to become too addicted to it, as visiting Starbucks too often will burn a hole in your pocket pretty quickly.
Starbucks are one of the 'big three' coffee chains active in the UK, the others being Costa and Caffe Nero. Whilst the other two offer variations on the traditional Italian theme, Starbucks is unashamedly American about everything other than the names of the coffee they offer. Even the sizes are American. What is it about Starbucks which makes it a coffee shop everyone returns to?
-- Ambience --
Starbucks coffee shops are invariably relaxed, with contemporary but chilled music interspersed with some old-school jazz. Their consistent and creative pursuit of social justice (for example the Starbucks Love Project, which brought together musicians from 156 different countries in a musical collage of 'All You Need is Love' by the Beatles, in order to raise awareness of AIDS in Africa), and opening themselves up for charity events in the evenings helps create a bohemian environment. Of course there are the sofas and wireless connection points which mean you can go in and study, send emails and write Dooyoo reviews in comfort.
-- Brand --
The Starbucks brand is appealing. From the thick white takeaway cups emblazoned with the Starbucks siren to the simple green and black aprons worn by the staff, the designs are well conceived and memorable. I find it very pleasing to sit down in a lecture with a generous size takeaway cup from Starbucks, even though in my head I know it's only a picture and two words.
-- Coffee --
Surely the most important aspect of any coffee shop is the coffee. Starbucks offers the basic cups you will find anywhere - Americano, Mocha, Cappuccino, Latte... but perhaps make more of a profit on their (in)famous trademark Frappuccino line. Available with a coffee, creme or juice base, there are enough varieties of heart-attack inducing sugar to satisfy most tastes. Being a coffee snob, these are not up my street...
The filter coffee is a bargain, coming in at around £1.60 for a 'tall'. With a free refill, this is my normal beverage of choice. It is sometimes risky, as the coffee can be stewed or burnt more easily than the espresso-based drinks, but this does not usually happen.
As far as the previously mentioned espresso-based drinks go, I would not say they are up to the level of Caffe Nero, but are an improvement on Costa. Caffe Nero stormed the customer satisfaction charts in the recent Allegra Consumer Report results, and Starbucks only trumped Costa on atmosphere. The report is available online. As far as the drinks themselves go, the espresso and the Americano are good quality, but for the price you may as well buy a simple filter coffee. Mocha and Cappuccino are two drinks I do not indulge in, so I will have to refrain from comment on those.
A recent addition to the Starbucks coffee line is Starbucks VIA, a new form of instant coffee. This coffee is microground (I presume that means ground really really small) instead of only freeze-dried, and to my surprise, actually tastes a lot better than Nescafe or Douwe Egberts or any other instant coffee I have tasted. It has to be said that it does not live up to the standards of filter, cafetiere or espresso-machine coffee, but it is definitely worth the £4.45 you pay for a box of 12 sachets, if you will be in too much of a hurry to brew your own coffee or wait in line at your local coffee shop.
-- Summary --
Overall, I would recommend Starbucks only if you do not have a Caffe Nero handy. The only thing which Starbucks beats Nero on is ambience, in my humble opinion. To leave you with an encouraging quote from a leading US pastor -
"Seattle has unleashed this weird phenomenon upon the world, called the coffee shop. The coffee shop, thanks to Starbucks, is the place where socially isolated, lonely, needy people gather together to ignore one another."
I am going to review a product rather than the establishment. The FLAT WHITE.
Right then, I'm guessing that almost everyone here has seen a Starbucks and chances are have even frequented one of their establishments at one point (even a eco minded freind of mine will visit now they use Rainforest Alliance coffee), however it is not the store I wish to talk about but one of their new products.
So here's my problem, if you visit Starbucks or one of the countless coffee chains throughout the UK you will experience coffee that is ultimately a hot, slightly coffee flavoured milk shake. I am not adverse to some of these, the Gingerbread I look forward to every Christmas as it seems to remind me of mince pies! I digress, my problem is that I'm probably a bit of a caffeine fiend and seem to equate strength of flavour with capillary breaking stimulation from caffeine. This has always been in short supply from Starbucks and others.
However I am an adventurous soul and departed these shores for the antipodes for two years and ventured mainly to New Zealand. New Zealand is known for Rugby, Kiwi's, Lord of the Rings and scenery that just eclipses any breath you may wish to draw but one of it's finest assests is it's coffee culture. A million miles from Europe, Africa and South America and it is likely you will find some of the best coffee you can drink anywhere in the world. They have your standard array of coffees (although interestingly very few Starbucks) which are all made excepionally well but then they have this 5-7 floz jewel. The Flat White.
For those of you who have had time in the antipodes or frequent some of the very small number of better inependednt coffee shops in London and Edinburgh you will have seen and even exprienced one of these. It is a 5 floz cup of coffee made from a double shot of espresso (you can ask for extra shots if you need a little more pep) topped up with steamed milk. Sounds like a latte right? Wrong! A latte I think typically contains far more milk and it is steamed to such an extent it is just foamy froth (more bubbles) that is pretty tasteless. The flat white has milk that is added that hasn't been boiled to within an inch of it's life, it is of a creamier consistency (less bubbles) and sits very well on the coffee, so that you get coffee seeping hrough the milk and a mix of wonderful flavours. Just remember that although the milk has a creamy texture it doesn't smack of cream or strong milk flavours, it's just the texture.
So why have we not seen this up here in the Northern Hemisphere? Well according to my learned Kiwi friends a Flat White is not like any other coffee, it takes time and care to make, requiring the love of two Barrista's to create the perfect cup, one for the beans and one for the milk. It has been thought that a chain company which aim for speed of service would baulk at such an investment in time and energy over a single cup of delectable coffee. Also as coffee is just so bad in the UK and America could we ever handle anything that had some taste? The final straw is that Brits are just bad Barrista's!?! An establishment or two in London are known to employ a propensity of Australian's and Kiwi's as they have greater skill with coffee.
However it seems that Starbucks have taken up the challenge without the assistance of antipodeans but some pasty Brits!
When you are drinking it the coffee is ever pleasant and the way Starbucks make it is very much present and does give a srong flavour. However you also get the milk coming through that deletes the bitterness of the coffee and adds some sweetness. It also isn't served in pint volumes, Starbucks seemed to have remained fixed upon serving this as a single measure which to my mind is a good thing. Having experienced larger versions of flat whites whilst away the coffee loses it's flavour and once again becomes a pool of milk and a dreary experience.
The Starbucks I visited seemed however to make a really good cup, especially as it was reasonably busy. The coffee had it's creamy texture but that wonderful hit of coffee flavour that is essential. It was a delight to drink and has removed one reason as to why I should emigrate from the UK! The othe chains have also jumped in on the bandwagon and are serving Flat White's too, although I will just have to tear myself away from th computer to sample these, a hardship I am sure!
Good things about the Flat White are that it presents a coffee that is a little more sophisticatd and less dreary than an Amerciano but offers greater taste and enjoyment than a Nickabocka choco moco latte! I would say however that if you find the flavour of coffee strong then thi may not be the one for you but I do suggest you try and join your Antipodean bretheren for five minute to try this delectable beverage! This is a fantastic cup of coffee and really should be experienced, I honestly believe that if you enjoy your coffee you will embrace this product!
NB. For a calorie content I really don't know, sorry. But if you are watching the numbers go for the skinny version!
Starbucks is very convenient. In fact, there's one on pretty much every street near where I live! There are more Starbucks than McDonalds, but it's still not caught up with the rapid spread of Subway! I know that some people dislike it that Starbucks is EVERYWHERE, but I've got used to it, and it is quite nice to know you are never far from a sit down with a nice coffee.
The larger ones with lots of space between tables are great to go and sit with my twins in their buggy for a break while out walking, especially as I can then arrange to meet friends - if we don't know what to do one day, coffee is a great starting point.
I've found their drinks and cakes / biscuits to always be high quality, but they are a little expensive. However, I see going for coffee as a nice treat, and I wouldn't want to stay there all day.
One thing that lets Starbucks down is the condition of their toilets. Quite often there is just the one cubicle, which serves as male / female / disabled and baby change all in one. So a lot of people use this one bathroom in a day, and they can get pretty disgusting.
It's a pleasant environment to sit for a bit of peace and quiet, to shut oneself off from the world. I enjoy sitting with a coffee and just watching the city rushing by outside.
Starbucks are a very popular chain of coffee houses, who have cafes in thousands of cities throughout the globe. They maintain company standards, so a coffee in one starbucks will taste the same as a coffee in any other, and all their food is batch made and distributed to the individual stores.
That said I always find the food is very fresh, and there is a good range. Ingredients are clearly labelled, as are the prices for take out or eat in. Prices are pretty expensive in Starbucks, there is no denying it. Expect to pay around £3 for a cup of hot chocolate, and about £2 for a muffin or biscuit.
Starbucks are one of those entities, which like Tescos, its cool to hate. And like Tescos, I actually quite like them. The reason they're in every town, is they are successful, and lots of people like them, not because they are a dominant plague. I know the standard of hot chocolate I get here is better than any I get anywhere else in town, so I see no reason not to buy it here. I support my local butcher, local restaurants, and art supply store, but I'm always going to choose the best product for my buck and in this case that means Starbucks.
My fiancee clearly agrees with me. She has a minor addiction to the caramel hot chocolate, and if I ever cause a minor mishap all I have to do is bring home a piece of Starbucks blueberry cheesecake and all is forgiven. As a hot chocolate conesseur she believes it is the best hot chocolate in the UK, although Bewleys in Ireland is better outside the UK.
Often you have to fight for a seat in Starbucks, but then the interior tends to be a nice place to be. Seats are a combination of leather and wood, and all the food is presented neatly in glass cabinets. You can also buy coffee, syrups, mugs etc to take home if you want.
Overall I really like Starbucks, and don't really understand why people have such a hatred of the company just because it is big. I do not agree with the whole 9/11 not giving water to the firemen thing at all, but at the end of the day that was a manegerial call made by one store, and I'm not going to judge a whole chain on the reactions of one manager worried about the bottom line.
I am quite fond of Starbucks on the whole, but find their quality differs quite a lot from venue to venue.
This one wasn't great. The main reason i think was that the woman making the coffee didn't appear to know what she was doing, and my mocha tasted like strong coffee, as did the woman before me's vanilla mocha.
We went downstairs to drink. The thing i love about most Starbucks is the cosy atmosphere. It's somewhere to chill out, do a bit of work, read a book and feel warm and snuggly. This one still had all that but when we got downstairs the tables were cluttered with leftovers and we were there for about half-an-hour yet everything was still there when we left.
I do think it is a bit expensive. I naively recommended my girlfriend to buy one of their mugs (which didn't have a price tag) we weren't expecting it to be £7 when they rang it through! Otherwise i would quite gladly pay the price for their coffees, especially when the Xmas eggnog rolls onto their menus, but only if they make the bloody stuff right!
With less than 2 months until Christmas the red cups have landed at Starbucks. For me, nothing heralds retail's festive season quite like it. Whilst some stores may have had their Christmas trees up since summer Starbucks hold out on their festive beverage barrage until November, which is an almost acceptable period of time. To explain: Starbucks' paper take-out cups are normally white but once a year, to coincide with their Christmas 'menu' they use red ones. I am very susceptible to the power of packaging, & walking into my local branch this morning did make me feel rather Christmassy.
Starbucks have 4 seasonal drinks this year:
Toffee Nut Latte
Dark Cherry mocha
Gingerbread, Toffee & Dark Cherry seem to be the official Christmas drinks this year, with their photos featured on the menu boards. However, Eggnog Latte, absent last year & very much missed, has been snuck onto the standard drinks list. Prices in the chain do vary from area to area but the price of all 4 drinks is identical, & rather expensive in comparison to the usual range.
The branch I use has the following prices:
Tall - £2.85
Grande - £3.20
Venti - £3.45
The Gingerbread Latte is far & away my favourite. It's very sweet but with an almost bitter, spicy taste at the very end. I'm not sure if it really tastes like genuine gingerbread as it's rather synthetic but it's certainly moreish.
The Toffee Nut Latte (I've not had one this year but I imagine it's the same) is, again, very sweet, obvisouly very nutty, & much improved if you ignore the calorie count & accept the cream topping. The taste does hang around for quite a while but at least it's good.
I'm not a huge fan of the Dark Cherry mocha. Whilst the above two drinks are certainly sweet, the Cherry flavour is just a bit too much. It's like liquidized black forest gateau.
Finally the Eggnog Latte. I think they've done well with achieving that creamy eggnog taste. However, like the gingerbread, there is a certain synthetic taste to it. It's much sweeter than a straight up Eggnog!
It's not just about the drinks though. They've got a Turkey Panini & a Brie & Cranberry. The biggest advantage of the brie is that it's a Panini that contains cheese but not mozarella, thereby not leaving an embarassing dairy string from sandwich to mouth as you take a bite. Beware the generic panini taste though: I don't know what goes into them but they manage to taste very similar whether they contain steak or tuna!
There's also cakes. This year it's cranberry & orange muffins (skinny & fat), Christmas Pudding Cupcake, Black Forest Cupcake & All Butter mince Pies. The Christmas gingerbread look good, with colourful icing in traditional colours, but when I've had them in the past they've been too hard & not worth the expense. I stick to the cakes!
One last thing: it's not just about the vittals on offer, there's the ambience too. Obviously there's something bland about the standardization of the chain but that doesn't necessarily affect your individual experience in your individual store. They've got good point of sale this year; the design is red on white & very intricate. Almost Tim Burtonesque. The artwork on one of the posters was embellished with a red felt like substance. They've got the obligatory Christmas mugs & flasks too, as well as some nice felt toys. There was no Christmas music playing in there today but I'm sure the crooners are only a matter of weeks away.
I'm planning to enjoy the festive beverages while they're here!
I love coffee and have regularly used coffee shops no matter where I am. I have even been known to nip into one when on holiday abroad, though not very often.
Starbucks is an American coffee brand that started with its first shop in 1971 in Seattle and can now be found worldwide in most European cities and towns. The main feel of starbucks is the same wherever in the world you are.
There is the instantly recognisable Starbucks sign/logo, the subduded lighting, the sofas and the normal chairs and tables usually covered in a green leatherette to match the green in the starbucks logo.
Starbucks is obviously a coffee shop but they do do other drinks for non-coffee lovers for example hot chocolate, tea, and cold drinks. They also do a range of sandwiches, paninis and cakes which are lovely but they do have a "nice" price tag to them.
As a coffee shop there is virtually every concievable mixture that you can have from normal coffee, to lattes with syrups, mochas, espressos to their signature blend frappacinos (which are cold and do contain ice so be warned!!). The price for these does vary and also varies depending on what size you have, Tall, Grande or Venti. You can choose to have them full fat, skinny, with cream basically anyway you want.
Starbucks has recently joined forces with the fairtrade group so you can have a sense that you are contributing something to the coffee growers as well as a large corporation.
I have always found the staff very helpful and always seem to be laughing and joking both amongst themselves and their customers. They all wear the same uniform wherever you go in the world, white shirt with a green apron.
Starbucks isn't just a coffee shop anymore though it has become a brand and you can buy the coffees and syrups to take home. You can also sit at home drinking out of your own Starbucks mug or drink one the go with a Starbucks thermal mug. They even sell their own branded coffee machines and small perculators and yes they all have the price tag to go along with them.
There are some issues with Starbucks as you would expect sometimes the queues are extensive and this can mean that you are stood around waiting for a while for you coffee.
For some people the sheer choice is overwhelming my partner spends ages staring at the menu trying to decide what to have each time I take him in with me and for those who struggle to make a decision this could be a bit problematic.
Though the biggest issue for me and I find this with other corporations as well, is the sameness. Other than different faces you know exactly what to expect when you walk through the door of any starbucks you know what the decor is like, you know if its busy your going to have to wait, you know the extensive choice of drinks.
Having said all that I won't stop using Starbucks as I do like their coffees and all I do is pop in and get one to go before heading on my way, it would just be nice to go in to one and find something different for a change, hence why only the 3/5 stars. Maybe one day I'll find one offering something different and then the rating will go up.