Thursday, August 28, 2008

This will never work here (or there...)

Starbucks is my frenemy. I think their coffee tastes like that nasty bitter stuff the dentist puts on your teeth when he's filling a cavity, but I heart their iced tea lemonades, and truthfully, I order a "Venti iced passion tea lemonade unsweetened." Yup, Starbucks snobbery right there folks.

But Starbucks is trying to change the whole idea that their coffee is roasted to burning in piss, by using the "Clover," which essentially grinds the beans, brews them, and then extracts them to make a perfect cup of coffee. Apparently this "brings coffee back into focus*" because:
Vacuum-press technology pulls the coffee through a 70-micron filter in which "every hole is like a hair's breadth," said David Latourell, formerly of Coffee Equipment Co. and now a Starbucks employee
Read it

Anyway, in addition to this new technology, if you want a better cup of coffee, you're going to have to pay up. I understand this, but also, I don't. Starbucks is about class and snob and coffee. Suddenly it's like, well you can have shitty coffee or you can have better coffee? People are still going to take the shitty one because (1) they don't understand what better coffee tastes like and (2) they're cheap bastards. If you want tasty coffee, you probably aren't visiting Starbucks anyway.
(And did you read Fast Food Nation? (Book, not movie.) There's this whole thing about taste & quality being mediocre because it's a fast food chain, and I guess I should find that part of the book to back up this post....)

But, honestly, I digress. What I meant to say is why this isn't working in BOSTON. Why the Starbucks/Dunkins competition is non-existent. Here's the thing: in Boston, you have 2 different breeds of coffee drinkers. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. They don't really cross. The population of Dunkins drinkers (lahge regulah, I'm not saying they have sophisticated palates necessarily either) are not the type to seek out Starbucks, sit down & pay for internet & listen to music, etc...

My point? There's Dunkin Donuts and there's Starbucks. Boston is not the place for Starbucks to try to get converts to their "better" coffee because the clilentel of the two stores differs not based on taste preference (though, obviously, somewhat) but based on class/appearance/and the need to sit on a couch. People going for taste are the indepent store drinkers, and damn you Starbucks if you try to ruin little business (though Taylor Clark proves the opposite in Starbucked, I know I know).

*OK, but you're a coffee shop, coffee is supposed to be the focus.....