I am a customer of Starbucks, but I never touch their coffee, not even with a ten foot pole. I like some of their sandwiches and a few of the cold drinks served there. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and tried many of their coffees, but for the life of me, I cannot like the taste. Even though they say that the coffee is arabica, many times I have encountered a rubbery taste typical of blends that have robusta and the lack of body is appalling.
Coffee is not just a drink, it is a multi-sensory experience. The very first thing that strikes me is the aroma, more so when I grind my coffee beans. Then comes the sight of that black elixir and the anticipation of taking that very first sip and the explosion of taste, as well as that warm comforting sensation it provides as your drink it. But not just that, coffee also revolves around conversation and ambiance. It is not the same to have your coffee on the run in a disposable cup than to drink it in an agreeable environment.
The business model is great and has been picked up by many other coffee shops, some even serve very good coffee.
Maybe as consumers we follow the so called “Principle of least effort” and are more than willing to sacrifice quality to obtain convenience.
And possibly another is some good neuromarketing. It could be our (well not mine, but…) brain remembers the pleasant experience and favors it over the taste.
As social animales we crave a sense of community and this kind of shop offers it to a limited degree.
Some of the people who are part of the coffee house community are young and probably were never exposed to a traditional coffee shop. I had the joy of living next to a small coffee roaster, so every Saturday I would wake to the exquisite smell of freshly roasted coffee (one of the chimneys was just next to my window) and of course run next door for my fresh cup of Joe. I guess that if they get them while they are young, they won’t know better.
Well, as taste is so individual and subjective, maybe I am only being a coffee snob, or as some say “being more papist than the Pope”, but I just can’t help it.
What is your take on this?
See you next time.