Posted Sat Mar 21, 2009, 8:55am Subject: C'mon guys, be honest
I haven't had Starbucks coffee in a long time because I found much better coffee. After working at an Intelligentsia retailer and later for Groundwork, going to the SCAA show in Longbeach, and now home roasting, I struggle to find a reason to go back.
The few times (count on half a hand) I've had Starbucks coffee in the last 3 1/2 years only reminded me why I don't drink it. Ashtray and char--yup, just what I remembered.
Certainly nothing there will stack up to your favorite C'soE. However, have any of you found one or two that jus' ain't too bad?
[If you're only going to rail against Starbucks, please don't reply. Instead, start your own site. You can call it coffeespazz.com]
MarkPrince Moderator Joined: 19 Dec 2001 Posts: 5,656 Location: Vancouver, BC Expertise: Professional
Espresso: KvdW Speedster Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder Vac Pot: A bit too many Drip: Bonavita Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sat Mar 21, 2009, 1:20pm Subject: Re: C'mon guys, be honest
I routinely sample Starbucks' offerings (both drip and espresso) just to see where they are headed. I also try to bias it in Starbucks' favour, going to a couple in town with more seasoned counter people (though that's proved nearly impossible in the last three years; it used to be easier to find the "good" Starbucks in Vancouver).
Last trip was to one of the oldest Starbucks in Vancouver, and the first one I ever saw, back in 1993 or so - the location on W. Broadway at McKenzie (1 block west of Macdonald). Went about 3 months ago. It's a pale version of what it once was - a great coffee shop with dedicated Baristas back in the 1990s.
The drip was much superior, overall as a taste experience to the espresso. They didn't have any Black Apron stuff on at the time, and I had some random Ethiopian, but it was quite nice, I'd rate the cup in the high 70s/low 80s (great coffees score a 90 from me as a cupping; best coffees I've ever had probably a 92 or so). The espresso on the other hand -- keeping in mind that great shots of espresso rate an 80 for me (scale's lower than a cupping), and a WBC winning shot is barely 90 -- the Starbucks espresso shots would garner something in the high 50s. Char is the main profile taste, and they are, IMO, undrinkable without sugar.
Posted Sat Mar 21, 2009, 2:03pm Subject: Re: C'mon guys, be honest
OK, I will admit that I still use some at home. Not for espresso though. The lightest roast I have found is the Breakfast Blend, which as a drip is not too bad. It works when I am really lazy and don't want to grind.
-Scott “Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world.” Thomas Jefferson
Posted Sat Mar 21, 2009, 2:15pm Subject: Re: C'mon guys, be honest
I remember the old days, 15 years ago, when i was on the Gold Club Starbies plan, when the "Arabian Mokha Java" blend was $16 a #...and worth it. Seems like about 10 years ago the 'Char" reared it ugly head. Add that to Super Automatics, etc, and the result (as for espresso) is as Mark says. I use no sugar, or any sweeteners, so the 'bucks is for me a no go. Marks attitude towards giving a fair shake is why this web site continues to be valid.
Bitches_Brew Senior Member Joined: 4 Feb 2009 Posts: 780 Location: indiana Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: yes Grinder: yes Vac Pot: no Drip: no Roaster: yes
Posted Sat Mar 21, 2009, 3:00pm Subject: Re: C'mon guys, be honest
we had one in our town for about a year or so before it closed. i used to go there sometimes when i was waiting for a roast to degas. it was 100 times better than our other coffee shop, plus i liked the convience of the drive up window. now there is just a brand new, empty building for sale, and i'm sure it will stay that way because they want too much for it.
"You can write down how to make the perfect cup of coffee. But to make it really good, you have to play something fictional, you have to dress up, you have to think, This is the most important thing."
Speaking of--what exactly does that mean? Before I branched out I specifically remember finding their Black Apron Sumatra to be much better than anything else I'd had there.
I looked at the current BA page. The coffees are listed, but they appear to be 'merely' good estate coffees ala everyday SM offerings. Half of each description is about the community program. It is pretty clear what goes on with CoE, for example, but what are the parameters here?
Correct. That's precisely when they are. If you can get them fresh ( which is rare, you have to be in a big market close to a roasting plant ( read: Seattle, Vancouver ) and get them on "rollout" day ) they aren't bad, though still dark
Half of each description is about the community program. It is pretty clear what goes on with CoE, for example, but what are the parameters here?
*$ is, as far as I can tell, free to use their discretion with respect to extras dished out for BA estates though there does seem to be extra compensation awarded. I seem to recall something about building a school for one of the African offerings.
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