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Why Is Starbucks So Popular? Other Coffee Shops?

Mufflon

Star Member
I think it's because they provide a much needed service or space which is otherwise in short supply. It's a place where you can relax (if you want), you can use the wi-fi, meet friends or be alone, observe other people, and of course drink coffee, which is our society's number one legal drug. They provide all this at a satisfactory or better level. (The wi-fi actually works, the coffee is good (I assume), the staff is friendly etc.)
I think that might be the reason these coffee shops are so popular. I like going there myself, though not necessarily Starbucks. Starbucks were the first to come to Germany (at least in the region I'm living in), then there is Coffee Fellows and Dunkin Donuts but you can only find them in the cities, not in the smaller towns. In the small towns it's usually McDonald's having a McCafe now.

I go to McCafe frequently on my weekly commute on Friday evening, sitting there, drinking a soy latte or cappuccino, using the WiFi and preparing for the next half of the ride.
 

shyvas

Deity
Forum Moderator
Apparently, ( have googled) there is some kind of plan to open a Starbuck's in my town. I certainly would consider going there once a month just for the ambiance - not the coffee.:p
 

raggle

Deity
I think coffee shops in general are so popular because it's something to do/somewhere to go that is affordable (and I know Starbucks coffee is expensive for what it is, but paying for a coffee is doable for most people even if it is a treat.) So if you want to go somewhere but don't want to spend lots of money doing something, then it's a nice place to go where you feel like you're having a little treat too.
 

Mr Crunchy

Veteran Member
As one economist I read put it, Howard Schultz' genius was not culinary; it was his ability to convince Americans to spend $3 for a cup of coffee.

Up until then, a cup of coffee cost $.50 at most restaurants and you got unlimited refills. But it was weak, generic coffee. Shultz sold the concept of being in a special place and sharing the gourmet coffee experience with others.

I'm not a big fan of their coffee, too strong and bitter for me. I go for Pete's. Stumptown when I still lived in Portland. I make my own since it's so much cheaper, but I can understand the attraction for the younger crowd of hanging out at a coffee house. It's a big thing for my daughter. It skipped a generation. My parents told me that drinking coffee was the "cool thing" to do back in the 40's. For my generation it's just a formality to get the day started. As Dolly sang, "Tumble out of bed, stumble to the kitchen, pour myself a cup of ambition..."
 

Mischief

Stranger in a strange land
I'm 60, and a lifelong coffee drinker (since about age 4). I see the appeal of coffee houses; not unlike that of a neighborhood bar, IMO, but still cheaper (and safer).

I love great tasting coffee. Unfortunately, Starbucks doesn't have it. Their coffee is palatable only when dressed up/disguised with a bunch of additives.
 

shyvas

Deity
Forum Moderator
I'm 60, and a lifelong coffee drinker (since about age 4). I see the appeal of coffee houses; not unlike that of a neighborhood bar, IMO, but still cheaper (and safer).

I love great tasting coffee. Unfortunately, Starbucks doesn't have it. Their coffee is palatable only when dressed up/disguised with a bunch of additives.
I'm with you.:up:
 

beancounter

The Fire That Burns Within
triedOTE="Mischief, post: 249096, member: 445"]
Their coffee is palatable only when dressed up/disguised with a bunch of additives.[/QUOTE]

Apparently Starbucks agrees with you, and offers a "mild" version.

http://www.starbucks.com/coffee/blonde

I've tried it. I'm no connoisseur, but I thought it was decent.
 

Amy SF

Dweller in nature
I'm 60, and a lifelong coffee drinker (since about age 4). I see the appeal of coffee houses; not unlike that of a neighborhood bar, IMO, but still cheaper (and safer).

I love great tasting coffee. Unfortunately, Starbucks doesn't have it. Their coffee is palatable only when dressed up/disguised with a bunch of additives.
Wait - you started drinking coffee at the age of four? And your parents were okay with this?
 

Joe

Celebrity Member
I drink espresso with sweetener which gives it a more mellow taste.
I added sweeter and milk (Half-n-half). But it still was only mildly palatable, and the milk made it cold. So I don't think I'll be getting any espressos in the future.

Ironically, most of the drinks I get when I go to Starbucks are non-coffee items: iced teas or lemonade mixes, etc.
 

Mischief

Stranger in a strange land
triedOTE="Mischief, post: 249096, member: 445"]
Their coffee is palatable only when dressed up/disguised with a bunch of additives.
Apparently Starbucks agrees with you, and offers a "mild" version.

Blonde Roast Coffees | Starbucks Coffee Company

I've tried it. I'm no connoisseur, but I thought it was decent.[/QUOTE]

I don't think their coffee is strong, much less too strong. It's just not good coffee.

I good cup of coffee should be strong but not bitter when drunk black without sweetener or anything else added.

I do find a need to add sugar to Greek and Turkish coffee - the kind thick with grounds.
 
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Mischief

Stranger in a strange land
Wait - you started drinking coffee at the age of four? And your parents were okay with this?
Of course they were O.K. with it, otherwise I wouldn't have been drinking it. ;) We were German, so nobody found it odd. I drank it with a bit of milk and a bit of sugar until I was in fifth or sixth grade, when I started drinking it black.

I don't think I started drinking more than a cup a day until college. Beancounter's right about the caffeine. We didn't drink soda growing up, and candy/chocolate was a rare treat, so I probably took in a lot less caffeine than the average American kid.
 

Mr Crunchy

Veteran Member
Wait - you started drinking coffee at the age of four? And your parents were okay with this?
I started drinking coffee around 9-10 years old. I would make coffee for my parents and have some myself. They encouraged it. By the time I was in high school I had to have a cup in the morning to get started and a coke at the first break to keep me going. I am the shortest person in my family and always wondered if it was due to the caffeine.
 

ledboots

Peace
I'm not a coffee/caffeine/starbucks fan. I don't use caffeine, except a bit in a few squares of dark chocolate occasionally. I don't understand why parents give their children caffeinated sodas. Actually, I don't understand why there is a drug in soft drinks to begin with. Coffee, at least you expect it to be there.
 

Mr Crunchy

Veteran Member
I'm not a coffee/caffeine/starbucks fan. I don't use caffeine, except a bit in a few squares of dark chocolate occasionally. I don't understand why parents give their children caffeinated sodas. Actually, I don't understand why there is a drug in soft drinks to begin with. Coffee, at least you expect it to be there.
Coca Cola used to have cocaine in it, hence the "Coca" part of the name. Caffeine was substituted when cocaine became a controlled substance.

I didn't let my kids have anything with caffeine. I kind of wish I never got started on it. I remember my mother admitting late in her life that she was addicted. It's kind of viewed as a benign substance, but it is addictive.
 

Mischief

Stranger in a strange land
I started drinking coffee around 9-10 years old. I would make coffee for my parents and have some myself. They encouraged it. By the time I was in high school I had to have a cup in the morning to get started and a coke at the first break to keep me going. I am the shortest person in my family and always wondered if it was due to the caffeine.
OTOH, you'll live forever. :p The Link Between Coffee and a Longer Life

I'm the shortest in my immediate family, but one of the tallest in my extended family.

As for it being addictive - I think it depends on the individual, and a lot of it is mental rather than physical. When I had a "sitting down" kind of job, I probably went through 1-2 pots of coffee per day. Now, I probably average 2-3 cups per day. If I'm really depressed, of feeling physically ill, coffee doesn't taste good to me, and I've stopped drinking it, cold turkey, for months on end simply because I don't like the taste ATM. No side effects, not even a headache.
 
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