Monday, July 09, 2007


Three Updates:

1) It happened on Friday according to this article. Starbucks has withdrawn its plan to take over the old La Madeleine location in the Lower Pontalba. A local businesman is looking to open another restaurant in the location.


I don't like Starbucks though on occasion I would frequent the establishment close to my old school. Starbucks is trying to take over the world with a false sense of green-ness. They try to make everyone think that they are environmentally friendly. I don't believe that they are. Dunkin Donuts doesn't hide between that facade. The purple and orange letters are plowing ahead with their plan for world domination. I respect that. Starbucks, not so much.

Coffee in the parts of the country in which I have traveled is abysmal at best. I still think that Dunkin Donuts has better coffee than Starbucks and is much easier to find around here. When I can, I go to the local coffee shop. I prefer to support my local brewers (and the owner is a huge fan of Anders Osborne and New Orleans. That's pretty much all you need to get into my good graces.)

People up here don't really get coffee. They serve cooled hot coffee over ice as iced coffee. This, to me, is an abomination. Once the coffee is brewed with hot water, it releases all kinds of oils and acids. It's bitter. To have truly good iced coffee, you have to cold brew it, a process which can take 12 hours but creates smooth, creamy, and delicious beverage.

People here also don't view coffee shops as places to relax or hang out much. I notice that most people zip in for a cup and leave immediately. I always thought of coffee shops as the modern equivalent of the 18th century colonial tavern where politics, world crises, and secrets are shared over a cup of coffee or a game of chess. Up here, it seems more like a place to get a caffeine fix and move on to the next challenge of the day. I think relaxation and reflection seem to be missing a great deal in today's society. A coffee shop is a great place to do both.

Back to the life update...

2) I went to Gloucester, MA this week. Busy times. We went on a whale watch, a mountain bike ride, a Red Sox game at Fenway, shopping on Newbury Street, a hike, and sea kayaking. It was nice and breezy, and I was amazed that people actually celebrated the Fourth of July with fervor and intensity. I don't remember ever celebrating like that in New Orleans.

3) I have a job interview this week. It is the job that I want and have been talking about to all my friends. I wasn't expecting to be called back so quickly. A lot of the home projects will have to get put on hold until I find out what is happening. And I am so close to finishing painting the garage....


Anonymous said...

Maybe if Dunkin Donuts made better coffee.....Starbucks is simply better (at least it is for us "fake" coffee drinkers). So, perhaps, Dunkin Donuts makes more sense to people like you. However, I really must point out that Starbucks is the brand which has been able to open branches in places like Europe and China. By the way, I sincerely hope you get that job.
post. script.: You don't need the luck.

LatinTeacher said...

Dunkin Donuts is bad coffee. Starbucks coffee is bad, too. I am opposed to Starbucks on principal really. A few stores in a few places makes sense. When you go global, I think you sacrifice something that a smaller coffee shop will do better. And the people who work at Starbucks don't always meet the criteria necessary for acceptance into MENSA.
Also, why is Starbucks so expensive?

Anonymous said...

Would you like the truth or the illusion? No matter, coming from the perspective of a jaded, but wealthy, socialite, I shall deliver you both. Illusion: Pardon monsieur, but Starbucks is "gourmet". It is pure fact that this is an "A-list coffee shop" which comes up with ingenius concoctions. Their specialty drinks are worth every penny. Reality: Personally, I believe we're paying dearly for their consistent brand advertising and the fact that most of their "coffee" has precious little coffee in it.
post. script. I simply couldn't help but notice that you have some very strong, quite persuasive, opinions. Mayhap you have thought of this solution before, but have you ever considered shooting off some e-mails to magazine editors? Certain magazines are quite open and interested in publishing the thoughts of a collective group of people. Maybe that's just what New Orleans needs; a fresh voice to speak out for her and bring mentioned issues back into the public eye. Enjoy your vacation.

LatinTeacher said...

Starbucks is not "A-list." It may be an A-list chain of international coffee houses, but it is not exceptional. The coffee concoction created by Starbucks, however, are absolutely fabulous. No one can compete with a Caramel Macchiato. But there are some things that are consistently done poorly. Like a regular cup of coffee (Where is the variety? Dark? Medium? Light? Flavored and not with that crappy high fructose corn syrup syrup!) Or iced coffee. At both DD and SB. The importance of ice cannot be understated. Also, coffee, while a stimulant, should also be a pleasure that you enjoy. It is simply not another beverage.
If you want good coffee and a good coffee experience, go to PJs coffee in Highland Park. Or visit New Orleans. There are many coffee shops and each has its own special vibe. Not like every single Starbucks.