Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Starbucks: The Secret Cappuccino

I have posted previously about Starbucks theology and Starbucks table raiding. Now is the time to discuss Starbucks and the excessively big drink. There it, it seems, a secret drink available. It is a short cappuccino and it is smaller than any of the three cap varieties advertised on the board. Baristas, reports Slate, will give you one 'without batting an eye'. (What does that expression mean, incidentally? Why and how would one 'bat' one's eyelid?) It is much better than any of the other caps because the coffee-milk ratio is higher. Starbucks has, of course, redefined the cap as a big drink; traditionally it is a small one. The same applies to all their other coffees. This allows the company massively to increase margins by raising the value of each unit sale. Starbucks, argues Slate, keeps its small cap invisible because it doesn't want people trading down. It can do this because of its near monopoly of High Street coffee. In the interests, therefore, of the free market, we are all obliged to go at once to Starbucks and demand the smallest possible drink.

13 comments:

  1. What I want to know is why you continue to frequent Starbucks?

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  2. Plus I'm still waiting for that article, Bryan ... :)

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  3. Slate is right - except that I think baristas in London might bat an eye. They seem to get flustered a little more easily, bless 'em! But James is right, why Starbucks? They have the worst coffee - and the most predatory and destructive business practices (hence the fact that the small cap is a secret) - and the worst coffee - of any high street coffee chain.

    I do admit a guilty fondness for their very berry scones...

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  4. There is also something to be said for their Chai Tea Latte.

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  5. I think I would sooner poke my eye with a pencil.

    I mean, they're supposed to be this great coffee shop well you go and ask for a greek coffee and see what you get. It's all just coffee for kids! squirty cream and sprinkles...

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  6. ...anyway, no self respecting coffee aficionado would touch cappuccino after 11 am and most of us have to work through to lunch.

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  7. This Starbucks compulsion of Bryan's mystifies me too - it can't be the coffee... As a point of fact, a Starbucks espresso is pretty much as small as anyone else's, just worse. The great Jackie Mason has, of course, said it all on Starbucks. Read it in an exasperated Jackie Mason accent - it gets better and better as it goes along.

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  8. I suspect that if grey squirrels hung out drinking coffee, they'd do so in a Starbucks, rowing and messing and ostentatiously chucking a 1p coin in the tips bowl - reason enough to avoid this chain, imho. Americano with milk on the side is a good one to go for. It can't be made too large or too small or it doesn't work at all - so you have the accountants in a vice - and only the better places with the sexier baristas are up for milk on the side.

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  9. their blueberry swirl cheesecakes are so good they almost make up for the worthless coffee; in fact their swill is so bad i'm not sure it even is coffee.

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  10. I hate their coffee, but every day I work I do buy a BIG black iced tea, unsweetened, no water (added). Cool caffeine and way cheaper than their crummy coffee concoctions.

    Alas, my teen daughter loves their expensive mixtures of chocolate, sugar, cream and a wee bit 'o coffee. Happily, I just read some budgeting advice for kids going off to university (as she is next month); guess what the number one suggestion is? Avoid Starbucks!

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