Starbucks, Same Same but the Same

Most, not all, of my collection of Starbucks mugs. if anyone has more, I would be surprised.

Starbucks. It seems every civilized place on the planet has at least one.

On any continent they are all exactly alike. The only difference is the décor on the mugs. I consider them collectibles. I have no more room on the shelves in my kitchen for them, but I still buy one wherever I go. In fact, I am a bit annoyed if the city I am in (Nairobi, Kathmandu) does not have a Starbucks. Before I travel, I Google the location of the Starbucks in the destination city. Not only do I want to add to my collection, I want to be able to get a good cup of coffee.

The same people who stood in line in front of me in Macau or London stand in line in front of me everywhere else. They all order just about the same thing. The session goes something like this.

“I’ll have a half latte, half mocha, half cappuccino with half cream and make it only half hot please.”

The barista is usually a college educated person who majored in something like Ancient Sri Lankan philosophy. They dutifully perform the chemistry experiment needed to serve the person in front of me. Meanwhile I select my souvenir mug. Then the overly picky customer sends back the coffee because it is too hot, I chat her up.

“Hey, didn’t we meet at Starbucks in Macau?”

“Oh yes we did! I remember the mocha there was very bitter.”

She shuffles away, happy with her lukewarm creation, and I step up to the counter.

Here is how my order goes.

“I’ll have a small black coffee

“Will that be mocha or a cappuccino?


“Fresh cream from Sumatran sacred goats in that sir?”

“Black, a small black coffee”

“A grande then”

“No. Didn’t you learn anything at Harvard? Grande means big, large, and bigger than small. I want, again, now listen hard, A SMALL BLACK COFEE”

“Do you want Columbian, Kenyan, Costa Rican or our house blend?”

“If it is black, hot and you don’t ask another question, I don’t care.”

A brief roll of the eyes that say “I should have gone to grad school” is followed by “Yes sir, that will be (Insert too high a price in any currency here).”

But this is just my problem. I’m glad I did not graduate into this economy, so I still tip them.

The coffee they serve is always good, even without milk from sacred yaks. When I was in Bali, I asked for Kopi Luwak, which is made from beans that have passed through the digestive track of a type of cat, then shat, cleaned and roasted. This is the best coffee I have ever had, and a product of Bali, but not available at Starbucks in Bali.

Kenyan coffee is excellent, and Starbucks sells it all over the world, but there is no Starbucks in Kenya. Maybe milk from the sacred Zebra is not available.

The Starbucks at Trafalgar Square in London was packed when I was there, mostly with tourists glad to get something other than tea or Nescafe.

Starbucks cafes are a great place to blog from. Usually the wifi is free, not always. They have comfy seats. People can spend hours in one. I know, I have.

So fellow travelers, if you ever want to meet up with me in some foreign country, I’ll met you at Starbucks!

Green logo used from 1987-2010, still being us...

The three most prevalent logos I find traveling are Coca Cola, McDonalds, and this one!

Posted on December 20, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. We live less than a mile from a large finca that sells their entire coffee production to Starbucks. I gave some, hot off the finca, as christmas presents this year, but since i don’t drink coffee I couldn’t tell you if it was good sh*t or not.


  2. We’re still waiting for a Starbucks in Panama. If they ever open one, I’ll get you a mug. As a Starbucks shareholder, I appreciate your patronage!

  3. I am visiting my mom in Chattanooga after her car accident, and the first place I went to when I wanted to check emails was Starbucks. Hot beverages and wifi! Plus, you gotta love a place where grande means small.

  4. Big brother, you are such a good writer! I don’t drink coffee, never have, somebody told me once it will make you short…If Starbucks ever needed anyone to advertise their WAY overpriced product, you would be their guy. Hope you two have a merry time at the seaside resort. ILY
    Your younger, but certainly not smarter, sister.

  5. Dear Forrest,
    Do you have a mug from San Francisco yet? If not, may I send you one? Or does it not count if you haven’t been there? (I’m sure you’ve been here, but maybe you didn’t get a mug?) I hate it when people order ridiculous shit. I always want to say, “This is not Burger King. You can’t have it your way right away.” But of course I just smile and put two and a half pumps of vanilla in their half decaf grande latte with 1% steamed to 130 degrees, while mentally ripping their heads off and spitting into their cups. There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll leave you with a thanks for tipping.
    pura vida,

  6. It’s that sameness that makes me avoid them throughout the World. Although I do admit that there are times where we crave a bit of the familiar.

    ~ Emme

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: