I’m a snob. Correction. A coffee snob. Blame my Dad. He’s the one that introduced me to coffee and it was always the best he could find and prepare at home for us so the idea of drinking something at an over-hyped, commercialized coffee shop would be beneath him.
I was first introduced to Starbucks in the 10th grade during a class field trip to Washington D.C. My English teacher bought me a vanilla latte at the Union Station location. It was 6AM, there was a train passing by, and I had just taken my first sip of a coffee drink that wasn’t prepared by myself or my Dad. I was instantly hooked and couldn’t wait to try other drinks and check out locations closer to home. To my dismay, the second experience didn’t quite live up to the first and I’m not one to order a fancy tall no whip soy blah, blah, blah. I take it like it is. Full of fat and flavor. How can you screw that up? I gave up without the exception of a few shops here and there that managed to actually make my drinks right.
Despite my disdain for Starbucks, they are celebrating an important milestone and have launched some new packaging and dropped their name from their logo. They’re being bold and creating a brand identity and I hope the strategy pays off. Like any momentous occasion, Starbucks is celebrating in a big way. They released their “tribute” blend of coffee, cake pop confections for customers that shop between the hours of 2-5pm on March 10-12th, and a special badge awarded for Foursquare users who follow them.
I’m a sucker for the Foursquare geolocation app and an avid badge collector. I ventured into the San Clemente store during my lunch break solely seeking to collect the badge, grab a zebra mocha, and walk out however this location in the sleepy beach side community has been slowly tugging at my heart strings. The friendly staff, lounge chairs, and the overall cleanliness appeals to my senses. It’s the only coffee shop close to work but my drinks are always expertly prepared and extra hot which is rare at a Starbucks. It’s usually something you have to ask for. Despite my extreme dislike for Starbucks (and other things that shall remain nameless), this location is starting to grow on me. I curse them everyday for making me want to come back for more.
In the end, I’ve decided that Starbucks and I walk a fine line. I’m not too fond of the hype but because of the San Clemente location and a few others I’m willing to overlook whatever feelings I may have and just enjoy a nice cup of coffee.