Saturday, August 16, 2008


Starbucks Coffee is a subject of constant deliberation. Some love it, some hate it, some go there for the fact that it's there, some avoid the consumerism-driven at all costs. I happen to be among those who love it.

I am between 13 and 16 years old. I do not drink black coffee. I hate espresso, I hate strong coffee flavors in anything but ice cream. I am tiny, so I have to drink decaf, or my body would overload. I don't care if Starbucks is for "people who hate coffee," because, in truth, I do hate coffee. If you love your coffee strong and in huge quantities, be my guest; go to Peet's.

Starbucks is for the people who need comfort. I don't care if I have a long string of drink modifications attached to my image in Starbucks: "Oh, it's the tall-decaf-peppermint-mocha girl, or the tall-mint-chocolatey-chip-frappuchino-no-whip girl." In fact, I like it. Like Meg Ryan, in You've Got Mail, I see that everyone in a Starbucks has defined themselves with their drinks. Our unending streams of decafs and shots and extra rooms and whip creams are just extra modifiers to describe who we are as human beings.

For example: my dad. He likes his coffee black, with room and cream. I don't know what that means about him, but it does, somehow, miraculously seem to fit him as a person.  My decaf peppermint mocha, which I order all year round, shows I am nostalgic for the Christmas season, when peppermint flavorings abound in every corner of the food market.

Starbucks is also good for the younger population. We teens have found a tasty place to get a fantastic concoction called a frappuchino. It's like a milkshake, but with so many different flavors (and tastier, too), and they look so stylish when you're walking down the mall. Starbucks is the teen culture's touchstone. We can get the slightly grown-up flavors of coffee, but mask them with fun: caramel macciatos, mochas, mint-mocha frappuchinos.

So, I do not hate Starbucks. I love going into my local shop at 6:45 during the school year, and making eye contact with the barista.

"One tall decaf peppermint mocha?" she'll say. I'll nod, and order a scone or croissant for breakfast. We'll chat as she places the pastry into that novelty Starbucks bag (one reason why I love actually going to Starbucks rather than just making my own mochas and scones at home), and I'll tell her about why on earth I come in this early (my school is far away), and she'll tell me about some funny incident yesterday. And I set off for school, balancing my scone on my lap, and sipping my peppermint mocha, remembering Christmases and Day After Thanksgivings. So, Starbucks is good.


Laura said...
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Laura said...

I have a love/hate relationship with Starbucks. I usually prefer to go to a local coffee shop, especially the one that has only organic fair-trade coffee. But...sometimes if I'm around a Starbucks something draws me in. What is it? Maybe that I'm addicted to coffee.