Monday, April 25, 2005
YASR (Yet Another Starbucks Rant)
I rarely give Starbucks any of my money. I don't like their coffee (overroasted, overpriced) and generally dislike their espresso (poorly pulled shots from poorly-trained staff). Rarely, very rarely, I'll get a latte at an airport when I need a caffeine fix and there's no other option. All the milk in a latte covers up the badly pulled espresso shot, the only reason I get a latte from them. (However, unlike many espresso fanatics, I don't disdain latte -- my daughter and I love to share a "foamy", as she calls them, during the winter.) Lately I've given Starbucks my money on a couple different occasions because they've got a new, evil concoction: Chantico, drinkable chocolate. This stuff's the closest equivalent I've found to the amazing Mayan Love Ritual served at The Winds Cafe for their special Valentine's dinner. The thing is, I hate having a cover on my espresso or hot chocolate. Good coffee, espresso, or hot chocolate, like good wine or food, are all great sensory experiences. All the senses get involved, particularly the nose. The great majority of one's taste comes from what your schnozz is pulling in. Don't believe me? Put a clothespin on your nose the next time you're having a nice glass of wine or a good coffee and see how the flavor differs. Then explain to your spouse/date/significant other that you read about it on a blog called FrazzledDad. Heh. OK, so here's my rant now that I've smacked out three grafs of text so far: Starbucks won't serve you a drink without a cover. Flat-assed won't. I'm not going to be drinking my chantico in my car on my way to work, so I don't need my lap protected. Besides, they only steam the mix up to 135F, maybe 145F at the max, well below scalding temperature. Aside from the aroma issue I rant about above, I also hate the extra waste a cover creates. I figure I need to do my part as a consumer in reducing solid waste if I'm going to be a consumerism-rules-free-market-globalization-pave-the-earth-for-parking-lots kind of libertarian Republican who doesn't want the government telling me how to live my life. (I wear Birkenstocks, by the way.) I'd really rather not have a cover, so why can't they accomidate me? Liability, most likely. Big firms lose when their legal staff overrules what common sense should dictate: give the customer what they want how they want it. Rant mode off, and I'll go take my medication: a nicely-pulled shot of Liquid Amber cooked up in my roaster last week.