Newest Review: ... 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 muf... more
4 Stars for Starbucks, minus one for price!
Member Name: blonde_girl774
Advantages: Great variety of products, delicious drinks, cosy setting.
Disadvantages: Rather costly compared to a cup of coffee from a cafe.
The first branch of Starbucks opened back in 1971 in Seattle and since then the company has gone from strength to strength. In the 1990ís branches of Starbucks popped up on almost every corner street in America before branching out to Europe in the later years and reaching the UK in 1998. I canít imagine thereís many major towns left now in England that donít have a Starbucks, I know the city centre Manchester must have about 10 in total!
The stores all have a very similar layout which emphasises the cosiness and intimacy of the stores. The colours are typically warm beiges and creams often with dark brown, green and purple furniture. Thereís a mixture of tall stools, chairs and larger armchairs to ensure that thereís somewhere suitable for everyone to sit. The clientele are very varied as well, from businessmen wishing to work on their laptops using the newly installed wireless internet facilities that many stores now offer, to groups of teenagers looking for a place to catch up. Thereís always a counter located within the store where you queue up to order your beverages, cakes and sandwiches are always located in clear glass cabinets which allow you to be tempted very easily. Your next stop is the till where you order your drinks and pay for your goods and then move along slightly to wait for your drinks to be made so at least youíre guaranteed freshness!
So onto the prime reason anyone chooses to visit a Starbucks outlet, the drinks. Now my first fear when someone suggested going to a Starbucks coffee shop was that theyíd only serve coffee, which Iím not a fan of at all. Luckily for me I found out they also serve a variety of teas and cold beverages too! Coffee is of course their main seller and they offer filter coffee, espresso, latte, americano, cappuccino and mocha too. With regard to tea thereís multiple teas on offer including all the ones youíd expect to find as well as some slightly more unheard of varieties including tazo chai (spicy black tea) and zen (green and mint tea). My favourite beverage in the store is actually a cold drink in the form of what is known as a frappuccino. These basically come in several flavours including coffee flavours, strawberry & cream, chocolate, vanilla and fruit ones too. They consist of flavourings, ice and cream and are delicious! And for a limited time only during the festive period they also do a range of Christmas themed drinks including gingerbread and eggnog latte and a cold mint chocolate chip frappuccino. All the drinks come in three typical sizes which have fancy names but are basically small, medium and large.
Now onto the food on offer in Starbucks, the range is quite limited as it is typically a coffee and drink shop rather than food outlet too. Thereís a great array of cakes to choose from including various muffins, brownies, sponge cake, scones and cookies. If youíre looking for something slightly more filling thereís also a choice of paninis and sandwiches with some tasty fillings including chicken & pesto and Mexican bean wrap and some old faithfuls such as egg or tuna mayo. If you happen to visit in the morning or early afternoon thereís also some hot breakfast balms available too. As well as offering items to consume within the store they also offer ground coffee to take home as well as cafetieres, flasks and mugs.
Now as with everything this perfect thereís always a downfall and this time the downfall comes in the way of the prices. Prices for hot drinks typically start at around £2 for a basic espresso and can go up to £4 + for a large hot latte with varied flavours. Cold drinks are again priced quite similarly so as you can see itís not the cheapest place to buy a simple drink. Food starts off quite cheaply for a cake but increase quite rapidly for a simple sandwich, last week I paid £4.20 for a Panini which is quite costly when you basically buy just the Panini with no accompanying salad or anything. However you really are paying for quality here, Starbucks is a renowned company and the prices do reflect the quality of the goods you are buying, whether or not a cappuccino is worth £3 is up to you!
So my favourite drinks for you to try are as follows: -
Hot Chocolate with cream on top is delicious on a cold morning to give you that extra sugar kick to the day! The chocolate isnít overly sweet unlike in some drinks but it full and rounded.
Strawberry & Cream frappuccino is lovely and refreshing, it comes with whipped cream on top and basically consists of strawberry flavouring, crushed ice and milk all mixed up. Quite fresh tasting and a meal in itself!
Caramel Macchiato isnít one of my favourites due to my dislike of coffee but itís my housemates favourite drink in Starbucks. Itís very milky coffee with plenty of caramel shots mixed in there too to give it a sweeter taste than normal coffee.
Iíve always had pleasant experiences in Starbucks and only ever had a problem with my drink tasting odd once which was immediately replaced upon expressing my concern. The stores Iíve visited have always been spotlessly clean with very hygienic toilets. The staff in general always seem rather too happy to be there for my liking and it certainly does achieve service with a smile!
The lack of waitress service sometimes irritates me as you have to stand in a queue to order your drinks and then wait for them to be made which isnít always ideal at busy times. It also makes the service seem a little bit more impersonal than it may do when you have an allocated waitress. However it invariably speeds up the process and ensures that your drinks are always fresh as you can actually see them being made! The second annoying point Iíve found in Starbucks is that the cakes are all offered on an eat in or out basis, the eating in basis will typically incur an extra charge of 30-50p which I think it rather cheeky really!
So all in all would I recommend Starbucks? Indefinitely I would. My one word of warning would be not to get addicted as itíll cost you if you do!
Summary: A coffee chain with multiple outlets all over the UK now.