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Spend your Bucks at Starbucks
Member Name: sandrabarber
Date: 20/06/03, updated on 20/06/03 (198 review reads)
Advantages: great coffee, lovely atmosphere, great locations
I particularly love having a coffee in Starbucks. We don't have one where I live in Stoke-on-Trent - we are so parochial we don't have any coffee chains at all - so whenever I leave town (which is as often as I can) I look forward to a trip to Starbucks. I've been in many branches in many cities, and I've never been disappointed by my latte yet.
I've visited many other coffee shops too, of course, and had many good cups of coffee, but no other place makes me feel as good, as comforted, as satisfied and as well served as Starbucks.
Starbucks was founded in Seattle in 1979. It now has over 3300 branches worldwide. I don't know if that makes them the biggest coffee franchise in the world, but I do know that that's some going in a mere 24 years.
Starbucks branches come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all share an earthiness and comfort in their décor. Earthiness, because they always seem to be painted in predominantly earthy tones, with splashes of pastels and brights to add interest. Comfort, because they always have lovely squashy sofas and snug armchairs for those, like me, who prefer to eschew the stools and ledges that are more suited to people in a hurry. I like to linger over my coffee, and Starbucks provides for me perfectly.
Most branches I've been into also provide newspapers for you to read while you enjoy your food/drink, something I think should be compulsory in all caffs.
All of this adds up to a very welcoming, rather cosmopolitan and totally relaxing environment when the place isn't packed to the gills.
In my experience, Starbucks staff are unfailingly polite. They are often rushed off their feet, perspiring profusely amidst clouds of steam and quite clearly knackered, but none have been rude, short or testy with me yet.
Getting served in Starbucks is often a conveyor-belt operation, particularly in the bigger branches. You select your food, move along, order your drink, move along, pay for your products, move along and await your coffee (or tea, or whatever). Fortunately, your coffee (or tea, or whatever) generally arrives pretty rapidly.
If you don't know the drill, you can stand for ages in front of the person you've ordered from and nothing will materialize. This is not criticism, just fact. Starbucks runs smoothly because it works in a certain way, and it works best if we all stick to the rules.
THE FOOD & DRINK
Starbucks is a coffee shop, so food is limited to the snack variety. There is a reasonable selection of sandwiches and a wider selection of cakes, biscuits and pastries. All of these I have tried have been delicious.
But back to the coffee. Starbucks do a massive range of coffees and a few other beverages, including tea, juice drinks and mineral water.
I'm an out and out latte fan (a small shot of strong coffee with a long shot of steamed milk), but there are many, many other permutations on offer in more flavours than you can shake a stick at.
You can have your coffee flavoured with chocolate, with fruit, with spice? Do you want it black, slightly milky or very milky? Do you want it hot or cold? Do you want topping? Do you want ice?
Whichever way you choose your coffee, it will be freshly made from very high quality beans and will taste like heaven.
You can also buy bags of ground Starbucks coffee or beans to grind yourself to take home.
cheap. I never actually take much notice of prices when I'm in there, but I think that sandwiches will set you back about three quid and coffees range from under two quid to about four.
You?d get a much cheaper cup elsewhere, but I couldn't care less.
STARBUCKS THE COMPANY
I don't know too much about Starbucks environmental record or their company ethics, but I do know that they're registered with US Fair Trade, whatever that means.
I have also been told by someone who worked there for a while that staff are treated well.
MY FAVOURITE STARBUCKS
Go to Edinburgh and walk up Princes Road until you see the Starbucks sign. Go upstairs. Buy your coffee.
Take a comfy seat in front of one of the huge windows and gaze out.
Before you, in all their glory, are Princes Gardens, the beginnings of the Old Town and, high on the hill, the beautiful Edinburgh Castle.
Lean back, relax, sip your drink and tell me it's not worth the extra quid.