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October 23, 2010

Starbucks, they just need to figure out how to make drip

I go out around 6 on weekend mornings for a quick meditative coffee break.  I persist in my devotion to Starbucks despite the bad drip coffee. Here's a survey of other places and you'll know why.

Caribou I Like the coffee, free refills. No verbal exchange between the staff, customers, anything.  Right up there with McDonalds or Tim Horton's for community.

Cup O Joe Despite my disdain for failure to embrace all things hipster, I like the coffee, I love the casual setting, comfy. However, more conversation going on with themself and Facebook than with anyone else.

Northstar Might be my favorite coffee. But, I get up around 5:30. If a place opens at 8 or later, they may as well open at noon. The waitstaff is genial - if you tip.

Luck Brothers  Outstanding Coffee. They open late, so I have little experience with them. It too appears, albeit after only one visit, to be a popular portal for "social" web updates.

Stumptown  Just awesome in every way.  But, they're in Portland, OR. I have no idea why I mentioned them.

Starbucks?  The local ones - not the koban or instore models, those suck, bad.  The local ones.  My fav is N. Broadway and N. High.  Like the others, it is frequented by a heads down culture (phones, ipads, etc.), but more staff know more first names than anywhere I've been in the city.  When they take out the trash, they stop by a couple tables to shoot the breeze before returning to their post.

I've always been interested in what makes things popular and/or successful.  Starbucks is.  I don't sense it's contrived; the staff know their patrons, they have fun, they joke with each other, they know their regulars in a genuine way.  I was recently in Boston (Peabody) and could never believe Dunkin' would ever be trumped, but a local Starbucks looked like a 5 year high school reunion.

How do I deal with the horrid drip?  The espresso is acceptable.  Big cup of water to make my doppio in a demitasse last the duration of my savored social experience.


Betty said...

"Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name." It's a shame that concept is mostly lost.

Dave said...

Indeed Betty.