For the Love of Coffee, Cigars, Wine, & Great Food!

My Love-Hate, On Again-Off Again Relationship With Starbucks

Soooo, where do I begin? I guess I can say my infatuation with coffee (funny, I almost wrote a hashtag in front of #coffee) started some time in late high school/early college – right about the time of the commercialized birth of Starbucks accompanied by raging hormones of the influential college atmosphere…

Growing up, my mother had always been the coffee fanatic; my father, less convinced that there was “much ado” about it. I was more like my father and was not halfway concerned about lapping up that brown drink. I recall my sister coming home with a Starbucks frappuccino that was loaded with chunks of brownie. I was crazy about sweets, so I jumped on the bandwagon. Thus began the basis for my addiction. As Starbucks sprung up on just about every unclaimed piece of land, I was given several options: one in my neighborhood, one in the core of my college campus, one on the way to work – oh and of course, on my way home from work, hit the one in my ‘hood again. I schooled myself on the newest “terminology” from tall to venti and skinny to whipped, and was drinking everything from warm apple cider to triple shots of espresso (Ma’am, do you know this comes with a shot? Yes*DUH*, please add another…)

A few years into my “Starbucks Habit,” I had applied about three times (all rejected); all of the Baristas at each shop knew my name, preferred drink, and my fave treat (Oreo Dream Pie); and just about every gift I received and gave was coffee-related, most of which were gifts from Starbucks. I began to influence people around me with my coffee habit, turning non-coffee drinkers into avid coffee drinkers who eventually turned their mugs down to “office coffee” and who began to help fuel my habit. As all addicts do, I denied that I had a problem, hid my Starbucks purchases from my parents, and became a walking, talking billboard for Starbucks.

After going through a bag of old receipts and discovering that I was spending almost $400 a month on Starbucks – OUCH – I decided to “scale back” on my coffee habit by only purchasing Maxwell House and Starbucks from the grocery store. I still completely indulged into coffee and the lifestyle, yet had never been truly educated about the beauty and history of it. I just knew that decent coffee came from my mother’s kitchen and that Starbucks coffee *at the time* gave me warm fuzzy feelings. I had a great supporter, who one day in passing told me that the greatest coffee experience I could have was to taste fresh roasted coffee. I thought about it and at first took it a bit lightly…until about 5 years ago when I cheated on Starbucks with Peets :-o. Instead of shipping some of my friends marketing/brochure samples, Peets accidentally shipped an oversupply of coffee. EXACTLY. This opened up a whole new discussion of what “good coffee” actually is, and ever since, I have purposed in my heart to embrace coffee’s history and to educate others about what coffee actually is…and I vowed to never return to Starbucks…

Since then, I’ve become a home coffee roaster, launched a coffee club, have been researching coffee’s history, influenced my friends to only get coffee from me, and have found my Signature Blend (for purposes of protecting the writer, the name/blend qualities will not be revealed J). It has been an incredible journey that anticipates the rebirth of the coffee house and the education of the general coffee consumer.  As every true coffee man or coffee roaster has their own internal (and external) battle with SBUX vs local coffee shop vs fresh roasted coffee, we may occasionally visit SBUX and get busted in the act.

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