Monday, May 04, 2009

latte tea spring thoughts

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To be honest I suspect the reason that many of us up here in Scandinavia find Starbucks rather fascinating is the fact that they obviously, so far, don't see Sweden as a lucrative enough market. Because, IMHO, as far as really good coffee goes, nah...

Compared to a few of our Swedish coffee chains, as well as of course independent coffee shops and cafés, I find the Starbuck's lattes - which with few exceptions is the only thing I drink when it comes to coffee, being the discerning tea lover in person - to be very pale, bland and lacking that combination of oomf and smoothness that distinguish good quality coffees, and baristas. And I've had a few of those, in different countries and continents. Coffees that is.

Having said that, I'm still pleased when I spot a Starbuck's when travelling because even if the coffee might not be all that to write praising blog posts about - like some ice lattes I dream close to wet dreams about -, there's something pleasingly holidayish and relaxing about finding a Starbuck's. I like many of the cafés interior decoration style, sympathize with the chain's values and then, they do have very nice collector's mugs. See, I have a soft spot for those mugs, in a rather irregular, unfocused way.

I'm well aware, sort of, the fact that I clearly do not need any more cups and mugs in my cupboards or shelves, but I do think they make a rather neat and simple souvenir. Even if it totally annoys me that some cafés for some disturbingly odd reason see it fit to carry Scotland - not Edinburgh - or England - not York - or Greece - not Athens - mugs. Not to mention Crete and Rhodes mugs in Athens instead of Athens... Oh to be able to pick that brilliant procurator's brain.

The very small mugs make for rather lovely miniature vases too, perfect for all those miniature flowers you stumble over in the woods come spring. Who said semi-hoarding Starbuck's mugs is a waste of money and time? Can't have been the wood anemones anyway, whatever would they have done hadn't there been a perfect fit wee mug to hang out in here.

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So where do you get your favourite coffee? And what kind of coffee is that? And if your delicate, sophisticated tastebuds prefer just tea, what tea is your favourite and how do you take it?

10 comments:

Madame Ladybug said...

I like coffee and tea. Coffee I get at a little local coffee shop. I am not sure if it is the coffee that I like there, or the ambience that makes the coffee taste better. My friend owns the shop though, so it could be both. :)

For tea, I like green tea best in the afternoon. Hot or iced.

Jan said...

I'm strictly a tea drinker, but my hubs is a coffee lover and hates Starbucks. he says it taste burnt. More's the pity, because we sell it at my bookstore.

John said...

I believe you. Your chocolate beats our chocolate hands down.

: ))))))

Titania said...

I don't like chains. I never visit Starbucks. Their coffee is to acidic. I have a Nespresso machine and the coffee is superior.
My favourite is Arpeggio, it is strong with a mellow taste. I do not like coffees with an acidic taste. It makes the best latte ever. The trouble is no coffee in the shops is now good enough. Not that I have been ever impressed with the coffee served anywhere. I like black tea with lots of milk and no sugar.

Titania said...

Forgot to say the wood anemones look lovely (even in a starbucks mug!

Pia K said...

Oh, it would be great to have a friend with a coffee shop, M Ladybug! I'm sure it's a sweet place with good coffee:)

Jan, I think it's interesting that a few comment on the Starbucks coffee tasting acid or burnt, I think its quite the opposite, be as that may, neither of us are very happy about the quality, hm... But the time I enjoyed one at a Barnes & Noble it was lovely, it was before some bookshops in Sweden had a coffee shop and it felt very exotic and nice:)

Pia K said...

Ha, ha, I'm so glad you think so, John!:) The one time, many years ago, I tasted a Hershey chocolate I was horrified, it tasted disgusting and I felt really sorry for you guys...;) I should write a comparison chocolate post, hm...

Your coffee and your machine sounds wonderful, Titania! And in general I'm so not keen on chains anything, but we have at least one coffee chain here in Sweden that serves quite lovely lattes, in general. The few times I get a coffee I usually get it at one of their shops. Me too, black tea with lots of milk, a dash of sweetener for me too please though:) Ah wood anemones would probably look perfect dressed in just about anything!

Anne said...

I live in Washington DC, and there are at least EIGHT coffee shops within 3 blocks of my office, and 5 of those are Starbucks. Here, there are a lot of crappy gas station-like coffee places, so Starbucks is definitely a go-to when you are desperate. But independent coffee chains are much preferred!

Pia K said...

Gosh, Anne, 3+5 coffee shops in that area, talk about having (thinking?) there's a reliable customer base for that...! But yes, I could definitely see that compared to gas-station-like - here those places are convenient-store-like - Starbucks wins:)

Swedish Pankakes said...

Starbucks is a nice amenity...you know your drink will be made the same way every time...but as far as taste goes? It's wretched.

I've found the best coffee to come from Honduras and Guatemala through direct trade. Coffeeambassadors.com has really good coffee. really good.

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