I’m a fan of fine things. I have no reservations about spending $40 or $50 for a bottle of Brunello, or $60 for a bottle of Spanish brandy, or $100 for a fondue dinner. I have yet to find a pair of sunglasses for under $100 that I thought were any better than NOT wearing sunglasses. I am also, however, a creature of habit and efficiency. I don’t experiment a ton. If I’m in the mood for a burger in Reno I go to Men Wielding Fire. I know that if I order it medium-rare, it will come back medium. I know that I like the ciabatta better than the sesame roll. I know that adding bacon tends to yield an over-cooked burger. I know that I have to order two sides of mayo because they only fill the tin halfway. I know these things because I took the time to learn them. And now I can get what I want every time I want it. You can tell me that so-and-so has WAY better burgers, and I MIGHT get around to trying one out. Someday. Maybe. The thing is, I already know what I like and I know where to get it exactly the way I want it, every time. So it’s not that I don’t trust your opinion of quality cowflesh; it’s simply that there is no utility in finding out one way or the other.
That’s why I drink Starbucks coffee. It’s not great coffee. But it’s decent coffee. More than that, though, no matter where I am in the world I can walk into a Starbucks and know exactly what I’m going to get and how much it’s going to cost. I know the coffee is going to be WAY too fucking hot to drink. I know that if I don’t put in three raw sugars, an inch of half and half, several sprinkles of vanilla and several sprinkles of cinnamon it will taste vaguely of something charred mixed with the stuff they use to clean the coffee machines. But when I’m done accessorizing I know exactly what I will have and I know I will like it.
But the game is changing, as always. Enter the Clover and Starbucks coffee v2:
Suddenly, for an extra $0.50 or so, I can get the same uniformity and a better cup of coffee than I’ve ever had at an indie coffeeshop (better than any cup I’ve made myself, for that matter). And not only is the coffee world class, the machine is fucking COOL. So far only around 200 of the 18,000 or so Starbucks in the world have them. It is wirelessly connected to the Seattle mainframe which determines grams of coffee per cup of water, temperature and brew time, and each setting is unique for each roast. The machine was invented by a former Starbucks R&D employee. Starbucks now owns the company.
I think there is an alarming number of people who hate Starbucks simply because it’s trendy to hate Starbucks. They have no real concept of the value (or lack thereof) of the products they consume. They just want to sit in the corner of an Indie Establishment feeling like they’re combatting “corporate fascism.” All the while their faces are glued to their MacBooks and Kindles, reading books they paid $0.99 for and listening to music they paid $0.10 a track for on devices that cost $400. And that’s fine. Haters gonna hate. But for the rest of you, if you happen to walk into a Starbucks in the near future, and the barista offers you the Clover . . . do it.